Advertising/Canadian Copywriter
Rejection/Canadian Copywriter

For the professional writer who wishes to showcase his or her book, there are dozens of wonderful venues. Book Fairs are events where all the personnel involved in the production of a book will gather to hob knob with their contemporaries. In the United States, the biggest Fair is Book Expo America (BEA) which usually takes place around February each year. Many domestic and foreign agents also meet at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Frankfurt, Germany, which is the "Grand Daddy" of all the Book Fairs. Here, the agents and distributors will meet and negotiate foreign language rights. For the "casual writer" there are many Fall Fairs or Farmer's Markets which include "Authors' Days" in their schedule. For more information on these events, check out the following web sites:
Frankfurt Book Fair
Foreign Rights Fair

Your Novel Proposal (WD Books, $18.99) by Blythe Camenson and Marshall J. Cook. This is a very comprehensive book, with samples and real-life novel proposals by Robert W. Walker on his book

Darkest Instinct Carson McCullers: A Life (Houghton $30) by Josyane Savigneau. This biography includes portions of McCuller's original synopsis for her classic: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

How To Write A Book Proposal (W.D.Books, $15.99) by Michael Larsen. This book is written from the literary agent's point of view.

Thinking Like Your Editor (Norton, $26.95) by Susan Rabiner and Alfred Fortunato. This book is written from the editor's point of view

The Writer's Market Companion W.D. Books, $19.99) by Joe Feiertag and Mary Carmen Cupito. A very comprehensive guide, featuring everything from fiction to non-fiction.

When you book an appearance at a book store and walk in, you might be shocked to see that there is actually an audience sitting there, waiting for you. So what do you do? Panic? Oh, no, don't panic! You're in control. An actual real-life audience is waiting for you! -- and they are waiting patiently to be entertained and informed -- waiting for you to mesmerizespell-binding brilliance throughout your talk. But you? How are you supposed to mesmerize them? You are just a writer. Up until now, your only job was to put words on a page. Somebody else had to read them. A blank page is a lot less frightening than a gallery of blank faces waiting for you to regale them with gems of wisdom. At least the blank page won't get up and leave.

Okay, so you're nervous. What do you do? The first thing you've got to do is relax. Tell yourself that you wrote a book on your topic. You know your subject better than anybody else in that room. Doesn't that make you the expert? Isn't that why they came? To hear an expert?

Also, tell yourself that you wouldn't be the first brilliant bard to get choked up on your own words. Have you ever heard Margaret Atwood or Michael Ondaatje read from one of their books? While they may be brilliant authors, listening to their prose is like listening to grass grow. Surely, you can do better. The secret to good story reading is the same as the secret to good writing: practice. Rehearse in front of a mirror. Record your performance. When you re-wind the tape, keep track of where the dry spots are and concentrate on making them better. Also, understand that there is no shame in dead air. Stopping every once in a while will give you time to breathe, reflect and allow the audience time to fully digest your words. Avoid "uhs and ahs". If you start humming and hawing your way through your novel, you will sound like a dork. Humming and hawing is definitely not a good idea -- so you can do anything else. Just don't hum and hah.

Once you start, you will realize that you are far more familiar with your topic than anyone else in the room. You will be on a roll, then, once you are on a roll, a nifty way to avoid those flutters in your stomach is by telling a personal story. When you recount a personal story, you will lighten up, realizing that you are just as human as those people in the audience. you will be able to relate to them.

Oh, yes and watch your pacing. The first time you listen to yourself read, you will probably notice that you are reading too fast. Slowing your pace down not only allows people to understand what you are reading, but also brings out the story's natural rhythm. To find a good pace, read until it seems you are going too slow and you will be pretty close. Breathing normally also helps. The key of course to success is preparation. You will want to write down the points you wish to make. You will tell your audience why the point is important, give examples of why your point is important and use references as back ups. A famous quote would be useful at this point. By using a quote, your point will be delivered with extra power -- presenting the premise that somebody very important and/or wise agrees with you.

A few final suggestions: Always have a glass of water on hand; never use accents or funny voices for dialogue; remember to enjoy yourself and just like writing, keep at it. Attend more readings, watch and listen to others read and learn from them, even the really bad ones. Don't be afraid of reading your work in public every chance you get because the more you read, the better you will get.

If you are a new writer and you want to sell your novel to a publisher, YES you need an agent! Most writers are introverts -- which explains why they became writers in the first place. Usually, writers don't make good salespeople. They'd have a tough time selling a life ring to a drowning man. 80% of the books published by major houses are sold by agents -- and many publishers won't even accept material written by authors who aren't represented by an agent. They receive thousands of query letters and unsolicited manuscripts every year -- and don't have the manpower, the resources or, in many cases, the will to read an unpublished author's masterpiece. Remember, this is a business. If you are a fiction writer, you must get an agent. Non-fiction is easier to sell. A "How To" Book, for example, has a built-in benefit. A novel doesn't. It needs the enthusiasm of an agent -- especially when you've exhausted all possible avenues and are discouraged by the road blocks! So, by all means, search for an agent. Check out "The Writer's Market" for a complete list of agents. If you want more information about securing an agent, read these books:

What Agents Want,edited by John Tullius.

Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript by Jack and Glenda Neff and Don Prues (18.99) has everything a writer needs for creating effective query letters, proposals, outlines, synopses and follow-up correspondence.

The Insider's Guide to Getting an Agent by Lori Perkins ($16.99) outlines all the details of the agent/client relationship.

How To Write A Book Proposal by Michael Larson ($15.95) addresses every step of writing a nonfiction book proposal.

If you are a new writer, your best bet is to write a "non-fiction" novel. Agents know that writers who write a "non-fiction" novel are deeply interested in the topic before s/he begins (and probably quite knowledgeable about the field).Chances are good the author will actually finish the novel -- and make it readable.

Your second best bet -- if you are a new writer -- is a complete manuscript for a non-fiction novel. Too many writers have a great idea for a novel, but can't follow through. So if you are writing "fiction", make sure you have a finished manuscript (with the t's crossed and the i's dotted) before submitting your query letter.

Unfortunately, if you are a new writer who has penned a collection of short stories or poetry, get ready for a rough ride. Agents are business people --- and they know that profit margins on poetry and short stories are low. (Then again, Margaret Atwood's first book was a book on poetry, which she self-published, introducing her to the market).

To get an agent interested in your novel, send a well-polished, grammatically correct, query letter. Make sure your letter sizzles with ideas that sell. Most importantly, tell the agent that there is a need for your novel on today's market. Quote statistics, social trends, markets, etcetera.

We've compiled a list of agents based on their willingness and track record of working with writers. You can tell they're bonafied agents because they do not charge for reading or evaluating your manuscript (although they may charge you a small amount for administrative costs).

IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to a few legal snags, we have been forced to remove the list. However, we will deal with the countless lawyers and the issues will be sorted out in due time. The Canadian Copywriter will get the list back online as soon as possible -- because we realize that with every breath you take throughout every second of your living day, you depend on the Canadian Copywriter for fast, accurate and timely information whenever and wherever you need it! (We hope that didn't sound too self-important).

The Pulitzer Prize

Of course, as you write your novel, remember that all the blood, sweat and tears that you lost will be a forgotten memory as soon as you step up to the podium in Stockholm to accept your Pulitzer Prize. Nothing would please us more at the Canadian Copywriter to add your name to the list. Let us know how your novel is progressing and we'll press our suits in preparation for the occasion. Until then, keep writing and have a look at your predecessors:

1918: Ernest Poole: His Family 1919: Booth Tarkington: The Magnificent Ambersons 1920: No award
1921: Edith Wharton: The Age of Innocence 1922: Booth Tarkington Alice Adams 1923: Willa Cather: One of Ours
1924: Margaret Wilson: The Able McLaughlins 1926: Sinclair Lewis: Arrowsmith
1925: Edna Ferber: So Big 1927: Louis Bromfield: Early Autumn1928: Thornton Wilder: The Bridge of San Luis Rey
1930: Oliver La Farge: Laughing Boy 1931: Margaret Ayer Barnes: Years of Grace1932: Pearl S. Buck: The Good Earth
1933: T.S. Stribling: The Store 1934: Caroline Miller: Lamb in his Bosom1935: Josephine Winslow Johnson: Now in November
1936: Harold Davis Honey in the Horn 1937: Margaret Mitchell: Gone with the Wind 1938: John Phillips Marquand: The Late George Apley
1939: Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings: The Yearling 1940: John Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath1941: No award
1942: Ellen Glasgow: In this Our Life 1943: Upton Sinclair: Dragon's Teeth1944: Martin Flavin: Journey in the Dark
1945: John Hersey: A Bell for Adano 1946: No award1947: Robert Penn Warren: All the King's Men
1948: James A. Michener: Tales of the South Pacific 1949: James Gould Cozzens: Guard of Honor 1950: A.B. Guthrie: The Way West
1951: Conrad Richter: The Town 1952: Herman Wouk: The Caine Mutiny 1953: Ernest Hemingway: The Old Man and the Sea
1954: No award 1955: William Faulkner: A Fable1956: Mackinlay Kantor: Andersonville
1957: No award 1958: James Agee: A Death in the Family1959: Robert Lewis Taylor: The Travels of Jamie McPheeters
1960: Allen Drury: Advise and Consent 1961: Harper Lee: To Kill a Mockingbird1962: Edwin O'Connor: The Edge of Sadness
1963: William Faulkner: The Reivers 1964: No award1965: Shirley Anne Grau: The Keepers of the House
1966: Katherine Anne Porter: Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter 1967: Bernard Malamud: The Fixer1968: William Styron: The Confessions of Nat Turner
1969: N. Scott Momaday: House Made of Dawn 1970: Jean Stafford:Collected Stories 1971: No award
1972: Wallace Stegner: The Angle of Repose 1973: Eudora Welty: The Optimist's Daughter 1974: No award
1975: Michael ShaaraL The Killer Angels 1976: Saul Bellow: Humboldt's Gift1977: No award
1978: James Alan McPherson: Elbow Room 1979: John Cheever: The Stories of John Cheever1980: Norman Mailer: The Executioner's Song
1981: John Kennedy Toole: A Confederacy of Dunces 1982: John Updike: Rabbit is Rich 1983: Alice Walker: The Color Purple
1984: William Kennedy: Ironweed 1985: Alison Lurie: Foreign Affairs1986: Larry McMurtry Lonesome Dove
1987: Peter Taylor: A Summons to Memphis 1988: Toni Morrison: Beloved 1989: Anne Tyler: Breathing Lessons
1990: Oscar Hijuelos: The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love 1991: John Updike: Rabbit at Rest 1992: Jane Smiley: Thousand Acres
1993: Robert Olen Butler A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain 1994: E. Annie Proulx: The Shipping News 1995: Carol Shields: Stone Diaries
1996: Richard Ford: Independence Day 1997: Steven Millhauser Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer 1998: Philip Roth: American Pastoral
1999: Michael Cunningham: The Hours 2000: Jhumpa Lahiri: Interpreter of Maladies2001: Michael Chabon: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
2002: Richard Russo: Empire Falls2003: Jeffrey Eugenides Middlesex 2004: Edward P. Jones: The Known World
2005: Marilynne Robinson: Gilead