My regular monthly Writer's Digest summary:
My favorite feature this month: a round-up of literary agents who are actively seeking new material (most of them list YA, so even better!)
Also included in this issue are sample query letters that were successful in landing agents. I do find those helpful, but only to a certain extent. A letter that appeals to one agent will cross another's desk and receive a rejection. Some agents like a certain "hook" or a funky voice, while others don't. Beyond that (a couple agents actually admitted this), luck is part of the process as well.
Rachel Kincaid, assistant to agent Ann Collette, shares her thoughts on what gets a query past the first reader to the agent herself: make sure your query covers the basics with NO errors in grammar or spelling; keep your query short and simple - no long, flowery descriptive passages of your plotline; make sure the pace of your book (especially the sample chapters you send!) is crisp and fast-moving.
An interview with Alice Walker and advice on how to revise from a critique round out my top reads in Writer's Digest this month. If you don't subscribe, you should!