Monday, February 22, 2010

Boost Your Credentials

If your dream literary agent is Lisa Grubka of Foundry Literary, you can't just send her a cold query and expect results.

No, it takes credentials. You have to have a platform from which to launch your debut novel.

Samuel Park is represented by Ms. Grubka, and she's sold his manuscript to Simon & Schuster. Not a bad start to a writing career.

But it isn't Mr. Park's start, exactly. You see, he teaches literature at Columbia College in Chicago. That's where noted author Audrey Niffenegger was teaching when she found fame and fortune as a novelist.

Mr. Park is a bit of an expert on Asian American literature, so when he writes a story about a Korean woman, literary agents figure that he knows what he's talking about. Like most college professors, he's published so that he wouldn't perish, although such scholarly works aren't the stuff that short story collections are made of, but his writings do add to his luster as an expert in ethnic literature.

So there you have it. You want Lisa Grubka to seriously consider your query? Get your Master's degree in Fine Arts and land a teaching position at a major university with an outstanding writing program.Write a good book that dovetails with your area of expertise.

It's one of the best ways to stand out in a crowded field.

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