Jeff Seymour - Author of Fantasy, Literary Fiction, & c.: Cultural Learnings from Agent Meetings for Make Benefit of My Books

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Cultural Learnings from Agent Meetings for Make Benefit of My Books

Yesterday, I met with two agents at the Lighthouse Writer's Workshop's Litfest 2012 in Denver. The meetings were a part of their business weekend pass, which at $220 was a steal (I also get to hit up seminars on marketing, freelancing, the small press/magazine market, and other things I could stand to learn more about).

Anyway, I was reminded of a very interesting thing right off the bat:

There are several different subcategories of fantasy reader, and agents fall into them too.

I met with two agents, both of whom rep fantasy. One of the great things about the meetings (and the reason I signed up for the conference, actually), was that they were 15 minutes long and included a critique of the first 15 pages of a manuscript (For reference, a similar critique I recently donated to the Brenda Novak diabetes auction went for $81). My two agents gave me very different feedback. One of them wanted more worldbuilding in the opening pages. The other told me she just hadn't connected with the characters.

I took good things away from both meetings, but they were also a reminder that some people read fantasy for the world-as-a-character, while others are more interested in the characters themselves. As a writer, I gravitate a little more towards the second group, and it's there that I think I should be concentrating my efforts.

Last night, I revamped Chapter 1 of Soulwoven. I do not know whether the changes will stick. I am very confident that they make the book more marketable, and fairly confident that they make the opening more interesting.

But they also place focus on elements of the story I had not intended to focus upon. How far the ripple effect of that will reach, I'm not yet sure.

...and now it's time to shower, eat, and hop in the car to go find more cultural learnings for make benefit of my books.

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