Friends of Fizzy Auction (With lots of goodies for readers & writers!)

Every once in a while, auctions with tons of goodies for writers pop up. This is a great chance to get feedback on your work from industry professionals like authors, agents, and editors or even just bid on something fun! One of those auctions is going on right now to help out a dear friend of mine, Summer Heacock, and her wonderful family. (There are critiques, as well as books, Skype visits, and even wands!)

The Heacocks have been through a whole lot the past couple years and the writing community is going all in to support them. Click here to read her most recent (and as always, honest) post about their latest struggles.

Head over to the auction to see what the amazing Jessa Russo and Tamara Mataya have put together from so many incredible donations. All items are up for bid until Monday, November 23.

A few links to the Triada US agent/author contributions (my agency and Summer's!) . . .

Brent Taylor: 100-page Fiction Critique & 30 Minute Phone Consult 

Dr. Uwe Stender: (TWO) Query + First 30 Pages Critiques  

Dee Romito: Query + First 3 Chapters Critique - MG/YA  (Me!)

Laura Lee Anderson: 3-Pass Query Critique  

Happy bidding. :)

Query.Sign.Submit. with Lucy Carson

Lucy represents Literary & Commercial Adult Fiction, Young Adult and Middle Grade, Narrative Non-Fiction, and Suspense fiction.

To connect with and learn more about Lucy . . .

  Now for Lucy’s insight on querying, signing with an agent, and going on submission!


What are some important things for querying writers to consider when researching agents?

It’s a tougher process than it would at first seem, because we agents tend to have healthy variation in terms of our submission requirements, let alone personal taste! And believe it or not, we feel strongly about those requirements, especially when we take the time to post submission guidelines in detail for writers to access easily. Before you even get to submission guidelines though, ask yourself if your book belongs, in theory, on that agent’s list. It’s not a good use of your time or the agent’s time to submit a query for a category that they blatantly do not represent. I would add that another important thing to research, if you can, is not just the number of deals that the agency has reported (many agencies claim to have the most deals on Publisher’s Marketplace, etc) but rather the quality of the deals that the agent is negotiating. In a given year, an agent who does 10 deals that are all with digital publishers and likely don’t have aggressive advances is quite different from an agent who did 3 deals with major print publishers. You’re making a long-term decision (one hopes) so that distinction is key. 

Do you always read a query all the way through? If not, what would make you stop reading?

I wish I could say that I read every query all the way through, but while I certainly give each query my individual attention, I will stop reading if there’s a bad attitude, or if the attempt to “stand out” strays too far. An example of bad attitude could be excessive sarcasm, or a tone that’s meant to be comical but is instead derogatory. If you are asking yourself “is my tone derogatory?” then it probably is close enough to warrant a second look from you. An example of when “standing out” goes too far could be an author who sends their query in the format of something completely different, which confuses agents enough to piss them off. That’s the wrong kind of attention—annoyance! If you insist on submitting the query in the form of a letter from your character or something of that ilk, at least put “query” in the subject line so the agent understands the conceit as soon as they open.  

Do you ever offer a Revise & Resubmit? When would you do so?

Sort of! I don’t like to call them that because each scenario is fairly unique. Basically, there are three responses you might get from me if I request and read your manuscript. Besides a firm (but hopefully polite) pass, the other two possibilities are that I will offer you representation on the project and give you my best possible pitch for why you should accept, or that I will write you a long and detailed letter with my thoughts about what areas concern me editorially, and an invitation to discuss those editorial ideas further, together. There are certain kinds of editorial notes that are fairly straightforward and don’t affect the integrity of the book, but there are others that I might suggest which would require a real re-thinking on the author’s part. I only want a resubmitted manuscript if the author is truly game to tackle these ideas—I don’t ever assume that you will be, because each writer feels differently about editorial feedback. That said, even the authors for whom I am offering concrete representation are most likely getting an editorial letter to guide them through the next draft… but it’s clear in those cases that the work I envision is well within the author’s ability and willingness.


How long do you prefer an author take to get back to you once you’ve offered? 

I’m always happy with an immediate yes! But I do understand that if other agents have requested reading materials, it’s courteous to give them a heads up about my offer. I think one week is sufficient to give an agent time to respond—this is assuming they already HAD the manuscript and simply haven’t gotten to it. Once they know of an offer, it’s their job to move quickly or stand aside if they are too busy to give it priority. There is no obligation (and I would argue that it’s unfair to the agent who has made an offer) to let agents know of the offer if they have not already requested reading materials. That becomes a scramble to request the manuscript only based on another person’s good taste and hard work! It’s not necessary to give all submissions a chance to read in that one week window, or before whatever deadline has been set. A simple withdrawal of the query letter will do, so that those agents can remove the query from any pending files. 

Once a writer has signed with you, what’s the next step?

I can’t remember a book that I’ve taken on without doing editorial work pre-submission, so I’m pretty sure it’s never happened. A writer can expect to be in close touch with me about my editorial concerns and ideas well before representation moves forward—it’s very important to me that we be on the same page. The extent of the editorial work and the number of drafts is completely dependent on the project in question, but it’s essential that we work together to make your book the best it can possibly be before I send it out into the world. When we’ve got a killer manuscript in hand, I put together a strategy and a submission list that I then present to the author and explain at length. If the author has any special relationships I need to know about, or history with another book/editor that I should factor in, this is where that discussion happens and we incorporate that feedback as needed. 

At what point would a client share new story ideas with you?

This depends on whether the new story ideas are intended for (and contractually tied to) their option publisher. If my client is writing something new that is completely different from the work that is under contract and wouldn’t qualify as an option book (i.e. a children’s book when their current contract is with an adult publisher) then we can discuss the new idea at any time, and develop it together if needed. If we are between contracts and there are multiple ideas to consider before presenting to the editor, I love to have the chance to weigh in about what I think is best for my client’s career, prior to editorial presentation. We want your editor to see your best work and hear your best ideas, so I try to provide that early feedback in order to get the new ideas that much cleaner and more appealing before an editor joins the conversation. 


Do you forward editor feedback to writers?

Before I send the book anywhere, I ask my client to let me know what feedback they want to see if any. Some want ALL feedback, every last detail—which is fine! Others want to know if there’s a pass, but they don’t want or need the reasoning, it’s the bottom line that’s important to them. (I follow the same process for reviews, which not every writer wants to see.) Once we establish how the client wants to hear from me along the way, I respect it and keep it consistent unless otherwise requested. 

What do you suggest a writer does while out on submission?

Anything and everything to keep your mind and body occupied while at the same time staying within close reach of a phone so that I can get you at a moment’s notice if I need to. Waiting sucks and I hate it almost as much as my clients do! But while I’m doing my submission work and the follow-up that it often entails, a writer is best served to stay busy as it will help to pass the time. As long as I can reach you easily, let me be the interruption and not the boiling kettle. I do need clients to stay “reachable” (meaning, please don’t keep busy by leaving for a remote island vacation) so that if an editor loves the book and wants to discuss with the author directly, there’s immediate access. In the happy event that we go to auction, I ask clients to be available to me by phone and email throughout the day or two days, whatever it takes to conclude. There are MANY points during an auction when I will need to update a client or get their emotional feedback on a decision—money is only one of many concerns in that scenario.

What is it like to tell a client there’s an offer on the book? :)

It is the absolute best conversation in the world. Closely followed by my phone call to offer them representation, but that’s sometimes tainted with my own nervousness! News of an offer, a real home for their work, is a pure and unadulterated pleasure. I can ride high on that phone call for weeks—it’s one of many reasons why I love my job! And feel privileged to be doing it. 

Thank you, Lucy!

See other Query. Sign. Submit. interviews
Read inspiring stories of writers getting agents
Learn about Tools for Writers- like Scrivener

Posted October 2015– Always check for current info and guidelines.

Now for Michelle’s insight on querying, signing with an agent, and going on submission! - See more at:

My Cover!!

My middle grade debut, THE BFF BUCKET LIST, releases May 2016, and is now available for pre-order!! In case you haven't seen the cover yet, HERE IT IS . . .

Ella and Skylar have been best friends since kindergarten. Although lately, things have been different.

Ella’s determined to fix things with a fun project she’s sure will bring them closer together—The BFF Bucket List. But as new friends, epic opportunities, and super-cute boys enter the picture, the challenges on the list aren’t the only ones they face.

 photo BFF Bucket List 9109319 - high res_zps0uykkn4h.jpg
Coming May 2016 from Aladdin/Simon & Schuster

And soon you’ll be able to join the fun and try out the Bucket List Builder over at!

 photo coming soon_zpshrdemk4c.png

Sign up for my newsletter to be notified when it’s ready.

My Favorite Writing Resources On Sale!

I wanted to share some really good discounts for two of my favorite writing programs/resources. I don't get any affiliate payments with these, they're just great deals I thought I'd pass along! (They're only good for the next few days, so hop on over if you're interested.)

PRO WRITING AID has a plug-in you can buy to use in your word programs and I love it. You can run reports for overused words, grammar, word repeats, etc. No more searching one word at a time! It's 50% off until 10/13 which means the lifetime license is $60 instead of $120 AND they'll donate the other 50% to a great charity. Link is below.

ONE STOP FOR WRITERS just launched and is really awesome. It's from the authors of The Emotion Thesaurus and the creator of Scrivener for Windows. All the info from each writing thesaurus is included, as well as planning templates, an idea generator, and an option to take notes. I had the chance to beta test it and think it's such a useful tool. This one runs on a yearly subscription at $90 or six months for $50, but it's 50% off until 10/14. Link and coupon below.

Cut and paste the code below into the coupon box on the subscription page BEFORE selecting a plan. 


Have fun writing!

A New Library In Town: One Stop For Writers

ONE STOP FOR WRITERS has officially launched!! You might already know that I love everything Angela and Becca have created (the Emotion Thesaurus!) and this is no different. It's an AMAZING resource for writers. Read on to learn more from Lee (who also created Scrivener for Windows), Angela, and Becca. :) *See end of post for an awesome launch week special!!

If there's one thing all writers agree on, it's that writing is TOUGH. The road to publication twists and dips as we learn the craft, hone our abilities, create stories we're passionate about, fight discouragement, educate ourselves about the industry...and then start the process all over again as we realize there's room to improve. But you know what? If you are like me, you wouldn't have it any other way.

Yet, sometimes it's nice to get a helping hand.

Finding a good writing book, a helpful blog, a mentor or critique partner to share the journey with...these things are gems along the writing path. And guess what? Maybe there's another resource waiting just up the road called One Stop For Writers. One Stop For Writers is not writing software, but rather a powerful online library that contains tools, unique description collections, helpful tutorials and much more, brought to you by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, the authors of The Emotion Thesaurus and Lee Powell, the creator of Scrivener for Windows. Could One Stop For Writers be the writing partner you've been searching for? Visit Writers Helping Writers this week and see, where Angela, Lee and Becca are celebrating their venture with prizes and some pay-it-forward fun.    

take advantage of this SWEET launch week deal by using this coupon:


to get 50% off any first-time subscriber plan…1 month, 6 months or 1 full year. 
Simply cut and paste the above code into the coupon box on the subscription page BEFORE selecting a plan.
- See more at:

Get 50% off any first-time subscriber plan…1 month, 6 months or 1 full year by using the coupon code below.


(Simply cut and paste the code into the coupon box on the subscription page BEFORE selecting a plan.)

Scrivener - Favorites

Favorites are an easy way to group chapters or scenes to keep handy as you work or to just use temporarily. You might want to add scenes you need to revise or add chapters that include a specific character as you do a read through. (For more ways to group chapters/scenes see keywords, label & status, and collections.)

You can add whatever you like to Favorites and move the box around.

Plus it's easy. :)

Go to "Documents" "Favorites" "Favorites Manager" (Mac- "Manage Favorites").

Drag and drop from the binder, corkboard, or outliner or right click on the chapter/scene and "Add to Favorites."

Adding a chapter/scene from Favorites will not take it out of the binder. Think of it as an index or a collection of shortcuts to specific locations in the binder. But remember: any text you change within a scene or chapter while working from Favorites WILL change in the main manuscript.

That's it!

Learn more about Scrivener on our Tools for Writers page.

Read interviews with editors, agents, and authors in our Query.Sign.Submit. series.

Check out inspiring stories of writers getting their agents.

Scrivener - Collections

When it comes to grouping and keeping track of things in your manuscript, there are multiple options, including keywords, label, status, icons, favorites and collections. They all do slightly different things, so it depends what you need for your project.


Collections allow you to group chapters and scenes together for easy access whenever you need them. In the example to the left, the story takes place in multiple locations, so the chapters are grouped by location into separate collections. Clicking on one of the collection tabs for a specific location brings up all the chapters in that collection.

Your binder does not change. Collections are like an index or shortcuts that point to specific places within the project. However, any text you change while working in a collection tab will change in the main project as well.

To create a collection:

1. Windows- Click "Project" and "Add Collection."
Mac- Click "Documents" "Add to Collection" "New Collection"

2. Double click title box with "New Collection" to change the title.

To add TO a collection:

Option 1. Click on the "Binder" tab.

* Drag and drop the chapter/scene you want from the binder into the chosen collection tab.


* Right click the chapter/scene then "Add to Collection" and choose the collection you want.

Option 2.  Click on the main Manuscript folder in the binder.

1. Change to either Corkboard or Outline view.
2. Click the collection tab you want to add to.
3. Click each chapter/scene you want to add within the Corkboard or Outline. (Use CTRL or Shift in Word for multiple choices)
4. Drag and drop to the collection area in the binder.

If you already know what you want to go in the collection, you can also do it like this-

1. In the binder, select the chapters/scenes you'd like to go in the collection. 

2. Click the + symbol at the top of the binder next to "Collections." This will automatically add whatever you have highlighted.

3. Double click title box with "New Collection" to change the title.


1. In the binder, highlight the chapters/scenes you'd like to go in the collection.

2. Right click, "Add to Collection," "New Collection."

3. Double click title box with "New Collection" to change the title.

When you're ready to use a collection . . .

Simply click on the chosen collection tab and you'll see a list of the chapters/scenes you've added.

*Remember: Any text you change within the collection will change in the main manuscript. It's like a shortcut, NOT a copy.

To delete a collection, make sure it's selected and use the - symbol on the main "Collection" bar at the top. (This will not delete the chapters from your manuscript, only from the collection. Imagine tearing out a page from the index in the back of a book. The pages remain intact. )

To delete a chapter/scene within a Collection, click the one you want to delete and click the - on that specific collection title bar. (This will not delete the chapter/scene from your manuscript, only from the collection.)

Learn more about Scrivener on our Tools for Writers page.

Read interviews with editors, agents, and authors in our Query.Sign.Submit.. series. 

Check out inspiring stories of writers getting their agents.
See other Query. Sign. Submit. interviews

To learn more about Scrivener, head over to the Tools for Writers page. - See more at:

- See more at:

- See more at:
See other Query. Sign. Submit. interviews
Read inspiring stories of writers getting agents
Learn about Tools for Writers- like Scrivener! - See more at: