Saturday, October 30, 2010

Writer's Conference: Agents - Part 4 - Who Is Daniel Lazar?

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

In just one week, I'll be attending my first writer's conference.  Today I'm going to further research the agent I'll be meeting: Daniel Lazar.  This will help me plan my approach and help me get to know the person I'll be talking with.

First off, here's his picture.

He looks like a good agent.  His picture emanates confidence, personality, competence, energy, etc.  These are good traits in an agent.  Without these, how could an agent get my books noticed?

Daniel has been with Writers House for 8 years.  His preferred genres are listed as: Literary and commercial fiction, Women's fiction, Historical fiction, Thrillers, Mysteries, Gay and Lesbian, Young adult, Middle grade, Graphic Novels or Memoirs, Judaica, Memoir, Narrative Non-fiction, Fitness, Pop-Culture, Humor.  This is a wide range of topics.  I'm still a little unclear as to whether this includes sci-fi.  It could fall under "Literary fiction."

Let's take a look at some books he's helped push through.  I'll go to Amazon and see what's said over there.  (We'll see if these links work months from now.)

The Bells by Richard Harvell (4.5 stars) - This is a book about bells, singing, and Vienna - all interesting topics to me.  I'd most likely enjoy this book (being a musician myself), but I wouldn't write this kind of book.  Richard has a couple of books under his belt.

Water Ghosts by Shawna Yang Ryan (4 stars) - About 1920 immigration and something about Chinese workers.  A first published novel by this author.  Not my kind of book.

Nothing Left to Burn by Jay Varner (3.5 stars) - A story about firemen, family secrets, etc.  Sounds interesting.  Author's first published book.  I'd read it.

You Say More Than You Think by Janine Driver (4.5 stars) - nonfiction how-to book on mastering body language.  I'd probably scan through it.  Janine Driver seems to have a few how-to books published.

Eve by Elissa Elliot (4 stars) - a retelling of the Adam/Eve story from Eve's point of view.  Looks interesting.  This is something I might write from a Mormon perspective.  Another author with just one book.

Scared of Santa by Denise Joyce and Nancy Watkins (3.5 stars) - contains pictures and stories about children being scared of sitting on Santa's lap.  Looks pretty funny.  I would probably make up a funny children's book on this subject (I'd write the words and let someone else draw the pictures).  Another first book by Denise Joyce.  Nancy Watkins seems to have a couple of credits.

What Would Keith Richards Do? by Jessica Pallington West (4.5 stars) - a book inspired by Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.  Looks interesting.  Another new author.

Okay - so far I see that Daniel has helped to sell a different variety of books.  These are mostly new authors.  There seem to be no sci-fi books in his list of accomplishments.  Daniel is not one of those agents who deal with only established authors (that is - easy to sell).  Rather, he seems to do a very good job at getting the new author noticed.

If he finds my stuff interesting next week, there's a good chance that he may consider to take on my book himself.

Still - there's that sci-fi thing.  I keep reading that sci-fi is a different creature when it comes to getting published.  Yet, it can't be that different.  As far as I know, sci-fi book contracts look the same as other book contracts.  Do sci-fi publishers only deal with established sci-fi agents?  This is stuff I don't know.  Perhaps I can ask Daniel in my session.

Whatever the case, it appears that Writers House does do some sci-fi.  They've helped with Stephanie Myers' books: the "Twilight Series" and "The Host".  She's a fellow Mormon writer - once an aspiring writer like me and now an established best-selling author.

Writers House also helped with the Fablehaven series - another Mormon author.

If Daniel doesn't do sci-fi, it would do me well if I could get a referral from him to someone else at Writers House.  The referral may be a dead end, but then again it could give me the edge I need to get someone's attention.

Either way, I'll keep this in mind if everything falls through - I haven't lost anything.  That is, if I get no leads next week, I'll just continue on with my plans.  Once I'm past NaNoWriMo, and past my December/January short story writing session I'll launch my agent initiative.  That is, around January/February, I'll send tons of letters to unsuspecting agents and see what happens.

Till next time...

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