Darien Gee’s upcoming one-day intensive workshops, Hybrid Authors: Crafting a Literary Career in the Digital Age and Get a Literary Agent and Get Published, will be on May 10 and 11, 2014, Friday and Saturday from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. Darien is the author of six novels, including three written under the name Mia King. She is represented by three New York literary agents, including William Morris Endeavor.
How do you teach aspiring authors to find an agent?
In a nutshell:
- Discover what literary agents look for in clients
- Understand the pros/cons to having a literary agent
- Effectively determine if getting a literary agent is right for you
- Do your homework–learn the best ways to target the right literary agent for you
- Develop a powerful submission package to help you stand out from the slush pile
I like to compare the literary agent search to applying to college or getting a job–you need to do your homework in order to find the right fit. Not any lit agent will do, and not every book you write will need a literary agent. In these changing times it’s important to understand that. Agents don’t always represent the author–sometimes they just represent the book. And this is both good/bad for authors, depending on your point of view.
Literary agents have access to the top publishing houses, foreign markets, TV/movie deals, and other media or product tie-ins. They have an idea of how to position you, how to sell you as an author. They have the potential to do more for your book–and get it into the hands of more readers–than most authors can do on their own. So understanding how the process works, weighing the pros and the cons, learning to honestly evaluate your work, and developing an effective strategy to get the right agent can make all the difference for a writer who’s hoping to see their books on the shelves one day.
Getting an agent can be a huge, time-consuming endeavor, so you want to be clear, focused and deliberate going into the process. If you’re random and haphazard, your results will be, too.
It can be discouraging and overwhelming to figure out where to start. That’s where I come in. I’ve helped writers find agents by teaching them how to manage all the information that’s out there, align potential agents with their books, develop an effective submission strategy, and evaluate their titles and how they can be best served. I have three New York-based literary agents, and I found them all while writing and living in Hawaii.
New authors like to ask other authors to whom they should query, but that’s like asking a friend for a college recommendation or where they think you should work. There’s nothing wrong with that, but only you know what will be the right fit. Take your career into your own hands. Choosing your agent is a little like choosing a life partner. If they sell your book, even if you move to another agent later, you will always be “married” to that agent for that book. It’s important to make a good choice early on, especially if you aspire to have a long literary career.
Will students receive feedback from you on their work during the workshops?
In a nutshell:
- Bring your questions! I want you to leave with answers.
- We’ll discuss the workshop exercises as a group.
- If you’d like individual feedback, consider signing up for a one-on-one consultation.
I tell people to bring their questions and there’s always a lively discussion and question/answer period throughout the workshop. My goal is to educate you as best I can in the time we have together so you can move forward with new information that can positively impact or add to your career as a writer.
These one-day intensives are great because they give you a lot of valuable information in a short-period of time. We do exercises in class and discuss the results. If you’d like me to look at an old query letter or the first five pages of your manuscript, the best way to do that is in the one-on-one consult sessions that occur immediately after the workshop. It’s an additional fee, but you’ll get very specific feedback. Because I’m covering so much information during the workshop, there’s not always time to look at individual work from outside the class. Plus many writers are private about their queries, so the individual consults usually work best. All of my clients who have included a one-on-one found tremendous value from it, in addition to the workshop intensive.
Why should someone take your class and what can they expect from it?
In a nutshell:
- Tons of information
- Encouragement weighed with the reality of the marketplace
- Tools for developing a successful career as a writer
- Lively discussion, bad jokes, and loads of fun
Why should you take a workshop with me? Because your literary career depends on it.
Just kidding. Well, not really.
Living in Hawaii is one of the farthest points you can be from New York, the hub of book publishing. Many local writers who aspire or are interested in traditional publishing are not in the loop. Plus the publication landscape has changed so much in the past two years. As a national bestselling author, I know about and am involved with these changes. My goal is to educate new writers so they make solid decisions about what they want and how they’re going to get there. They leave armed with information about their future so they make better decisions as a result, dramatically increasing their chances for success.
What you’ll get is the inside scoop. You’ll get short cuts. You’ll get direct access to someone who’s seen people and books succeed and fail, and who isn’t stingy about sharing information. No more “trying” your luck. Commit to your career and your success. Plus we’ll have loads of fun.
I love to teach and I love to share what I’ve learned on my journey to becoming a successfully published author. I have three New York-based literary agents, including William Morris Endeavor, I’ve indie published (I am on fan of hybrid authors, or authors who both traditionally and indie/self publish), and I’ve worked with Hawaiian publisher, Watermark. I’ve helped my husband, author Darrin Gee, with his nonfiction golf titles which have been traditionally and indie published. I’ve revived my career when my numbers were trending down. Every writer’s path is different. The world of publication, be in traditional or indie, is what you make it, and I enjoy helping new authors find their way.
What have you written that you would recommend to aspiring authors and why?
If you’re writing creative nonfiction, my first nonfiction book, Writing the Hawai‘i Memoir: Advice and Exercises to Help You Tell Your Story, will be published by Watermark Publishing on May 27, 2014. It’s an A to Z guide on writing your memoir, from ideas and themes to organizing your time to publication options. Plus, there’s over 25 writing exercises to get you going. It’s great for personal essays to family histories to full-length memoirs.
I also write a column for North Hawaii News on writing and creativity called Writers Corner. Some of my favorites are:
On the writing process:
- June 27, 2013: Fearless Writing
- June 28, 2012: Share Your Writing with Others
- June 21, 2012: Dealing with Writer’s Block
- December 19, 2013: Getting Original
On the publication process:
If a writer really wants to perfect their craft, the best thing they can do is READ. Reading, especially in your genre, will inform your own process. You’ll learn sentence structure, what works, what doesn’t, pacing, story arc, character development. Reading helps you develop a critical eye (which does not mean harsh or belittling, but discerning and, when possible, kind and encouraging) of your work and others.
What’s next for you?
I’m excited about my first nonfiction title, Writing the Hawai‘i Memoir: Advice and Exercises to Help You Tell Your Story. It’s being published by Hawaii publisher, Watermark Publishing
I’m also working on my next Mia King women’s fiction title, Family Room, putting together my Writers Corner columns into a single volume to indie publish, and laying the mental groundwork for my next Darien Gee commercial fiction title to traditionally publish. It sounds demanding, I know, but it’s also tremendous fun. That’s the part writers sometimes forget (including me). Writing is work, but it’s wonderful work. To create something from scratch, to pull words from the air and pin them down on paper, and then to see your book in the hands of readers is incredible.