In February, The Quill offered our members a free subscription to a service called AUTHOR SALON, a 24/7 writer’s conference complete with online critique groups AND a slew of big time agents and editors who regulary shop member's work. Michael Neff, the gracious brainchild behind AS told me he was disappointed that there was no response from our membership besides me.
Granted the signup process is hard for folks who hadn’t been to one of his pitch conferences. It forces you to think of your work on a marketing level that often times reveals the flaws in your story. But the good news is, AS also requires that you be in an AS online critique group made up of members who write in your genre, and with four other sets of eyes, the flaws are easy to fix.
Does it require a lot of time? YES. But each month, dozens of projects written by aspiring authors on Author Salon have been requested by New York publishers and literary agents on both coasts--all part of Author Salon's ongoing "Literary Showcase" initiative. Genres represented include mystery, young adult fantasy, upmarket and general fiction, women's fiction, adult fantasy and SF, historical fiction, and more.
Which is where the gift horse comes in. If you looked at AS http://authorsalon.com and found the FREE lifetime membership daunting, but you’re still in this to publish, look again. You may have to pay a few dollars a month for the service, but it’s worth it if for no other reason than you’ll know IF your idea is marketable, and you’ll have a clear understanding of HOW to sell your work at The South Carolina Writers' Workshop Conference in October. And, most importantly, you’ll have a polished first 50 pages and a great pitch, which makes a dandy query letter.