Agent Friday: Elaine P. English

In today's rapidly-changing publishing world, authors benefit greatly from literary representation. But how about a literary agent who is also an attorney? Elaine P. English is exactly that.

The Elaine P. English agency is a Washington, D.C. based agency, specializing in women's fiction, romance, YA, mystery, and thrillers. English has more than two decades of experience in law, including publishing law, and opened her agency in 2001.

English, her associates, and her interns have been blogging since 2009. Here is a sampling of some of their interesting and helpful posts.

Some writers query with so much over-confidence, it's a turn-off for the agent. Others write a query that appears they're begging for a reading. Check out Know Your Worth to find the happy medium between the two, and They're Just Not That Into You to prepare for rejection. And for those feeling ready to start querying, read Revise First, Celebrate Later before you hit "send".

What do the agents at English's agency consider a turn-off? One of them is a manuscript with far too many details than necessary. Another is a story with a huge number of characters to keep track of. Readers don't want to make notes to keep characters straight. Another habit that may earn a "no" is dialogue that is full of exposition. Basically, the character is telling by talking. And here's a bonus tip: Never open your query with "What if?"

Here are some tips on specific genres:
Contemporary: How to format the text messages your characters send.
Young Adult: How to write the teenage voice.
Historical: How to choose which historical details to include, without sounding like a history book.
Fantasy: How to make yours stand out from the rest of the (wolf)pack.
Chick-lit: How to write realistic humor.

There are many other posts I'd love to highlight, but I can't share them all. Posts on the pros and cons of prologues, how to craft a dream sequence (or just scrap it), and the ins and outs of point of view changes.

This is definitely a blog to keep up with.

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