Our BWG conference is over. I enjoyed it this year because I wasn’t on the conference committee. I didn’t work the door, the book room or anything. I was able to truly listen and not worry about anyone having a good time. There’s joy in being a spectator.
Agent Anita Mumm–actually a literary assistant–was a delight; very approachable, friendly, encouraging, but at the same time, professional. Anyone looking for an excellent speaker about queries and proposals, I encourage you to consider her. She’s the gatekeeper at Nelson Literary Agency. Bad queries and manuscripts do not get passed her. Anita said her agency receives 100 queries a day (minus holidays), 35,000 queries a year. Only 952 sample page sets went to the next round. 85 full manuscripts were requested and six new clients were signed – these are 2010 numbers. Do you see how important it is to hone our query writing skills? Anita told us we have to sell our book in two or three paragraphs within our one-page query letter. Yes, it can be done. “Even War and Peace has a blurb,” she said. She suggested we read the blurbs from the back of books—not new advice, but are we doing it? I am!