Welcome Guest Blogger: Candi Wall

A great big old Southern welcome to our guest blogger today: Candi Wall of Musetracks, the inventor of Agent Shop, which IMHO is one of the smartest ways to get your stuff before an agent.  I’ve had two partials as a result of Agent Shop, and while neither ended up with a contract, I got great feedback from both. So get yourself over to Musetracks and try Agent Shop!  Wait, no, don’t. I don’t need the competition.  Forget I said anything.  :>)

Without further R’Mama babbling, here is the one and only Candi Wall:

Hello Southern Sizzle!

Thank for having me, and keep posting those pics…they help warm up the nearing winter temps up here in Maine.

So, let’s get the back-story out of the way…

My name is Candi Wall, and I’m an aspiring author of contemporary, historical, and erotic romance. I’m a introverted loner turned extroverted promo psycho due to my want/need to become a published author. It’s a dream I’ve always had simmering on the back burner for when I gained some free time from mother of four duties, being a wife, a scout leader ten years running, and an Animal Control Officer for four towns.

Okay, now that we got that out of the way…


Where did the idea come from?

 When I first started taking the idea of getting published seriously, I found a wonderful group of writers at RWC (Romance Writers Community – Charlotte Dillon’s romance groups). From there I met my current – awesome – writing partners, John Roundtree, Jenn Bray-Weber, and Marie-Claude Bourque.

 We started our blog, MuseTracks, earlier this year and discussed what we wanted to do to BRAND ourselves, or what we wanted to accomplish. Amazingly, beyond getting our names out there, we all had the common want to help others as we were helped at RWC.

 And so, we all took different paths, blog posts and ideas to doing just that. Each of us gives an equal part.

 While reading a post from literary agent Scott Eagan, I stumbled across his idea for an Agent Fest. Same concept as Agent Shop basically, only in person. I contacted Scott, told him I was interested in an online version and after discussing different ideas, I started to compile a list of agents.

 HOURS of research later, I had a huge list. I sent off over fifty personalized e-mails to these agents, explaining what I wanted to do.

 Simple really – 30 pitches, genre specific, to be viewed by the agent online, then contact for any pitches requested.

 Simple, right? Shouldn’t require too much time. Yeah, okay, so all great ideas usually start this way. Just contact the ever-elusive, hard to please, more difficult to trap than a rabbit – agent.

 We are on our fifth month of hosting Agent Shop. And here are the stats as they stand after the October Agent Day.

 Agents attended or attending: Scott Eagan, Kevan Lyon, Michelle Grajkowski, Jill Marsal, Lois Winston, Kimberley Cameron. (We have Lois Winston, Kevan Lyon, and Emmanuelle Alspaugh coming in Nov! More on that below!)

 We’ve received 161 Pitches

Ÿ         77 Accepted

Ÿ         81 Denied

(The oddity in numbers comes from the pitches that came in AFTER the thirty pitch limit was met.)

 Out of those pitches accepted and posted, we’ve had a whopping

21 – Requests (Either full or partials)

 THAT’S an astounding 21 requests for 77 pitches!!!

 Now if you look at the ratio of pitches vs. requests – well, I’m happy to say Agent Shop is a success. Not only for us at MuseTracks, but for any writers who participated.

 Why is that? I can’t say for certain, but here’s my gut reaction. Because the agents are primed to ‘shop’.

 It’s fun, something out of the norm, something that differs from opening e-mail after e-mail, where you are subject to the intricacies and interruptions of the agent’s daily grind. At Agent Shop, they get to move away from the normal routine. It’s a win-win situation! And now we’re offering author spotlights. Attending agents can spotlight an author the day the pitches are coming in. Again – win/win!

 BUT – and you knew there would be a BUT didn’t you?

 I have to tell you – I have a whole new respect for literary agents.

 Did you see the Denied list above. More denied than accepted. Why is that?

 For some reason, some authors inexplicably believe they don’t have to play by the rules. Nothing, and I mean nothing screams “REJECT ME PLEASE” like sending in a query/pitch/ms that doesn’t follow the guidelines set by the agent/editor.

 I cannot stress this enough. My time is valuable. So is the agent’s. And reading through a pitch that isn’t within the guidelines, isn’t on the top of our to-do list. Rejection!

 So, if there’s one thing I’ve learned to preach, post, review, and drive home to anyone who will listen, it is to read the rules, where ever you may be submitting to and try not to jump into pitching/submitting to an agent BEFORE you’re prepared.

 Now that I’ve made myself sound like a school teacher rapping her ruler on the desk…

I’d like to tell you about a new venture I‘ve started, (as if I didn’t have enough to juggle) and in the vein of my ‘can’t-pass-up-a-promo-opp’ life, I’m going to give a SHAMELESS PLUG. But it’s a shameless plug with benefits.

My novels ‘STAY’ ‘WHAT SHE WAS MISSING’ and ’PRIMITIVE NIGHTS’ are entered in Dorchester’s Next Best Celler Contest at www.textnovel.com

As if entering and asking for votes isn’t enough, we have to convince our potential readers to register before they can read. ARGH. Registering is free, and there is no spam from text novel. Just a great place to read some really fantastic writing from established and brandy-new writers. You can also post your own work. Great way to network, and grow a fan base. (<<<Subtle hint)

AND – Starting today, MuseTracks will be raffling off the first 5 pitch spots to November’s ‘Agent Shop’ date to five lucky winners.
How do you enter? Go to http://www.textnovel.com


You can also find my name in the sidebar under Dorchester Contest – Most
Popular. If you click my name it will take you to my profile and you can access
the stories from there.

You have until Oct.31, 2009 at 11:59, E.S.T

Vote/subscribe/& comment on one of my stories and you’re name will be entered in
the raffle. If you vote/subscribe/& comment on all three novels, you are entered
three times. Just shoot me an e-mail at candi_agent_shop @ yahoo.com with your Pen name so I can match up with TextNovel and you’re in!

On Nov. 1st we’ll draw the five lucky winners. That’ll give you time to get your
pitch to me before the Nov. 8th Pitch GO day.

Thanks to all the wonderful ladies here at Southern Sizzle Romance for hosting me and I hope to see you all at ‘Agent Shop’!

Candi ~


9 Responses

  1. What a great idea! I’m going to check it out now.

    Great post!

  2. I will be checking out AgentShop on my lunch break and making sure my name gets in that raffle. Great interview. Thanks for sharing. Great info.

  3. Hi Danica,

    Wonderful. The more the merrier. Let me know what you think!

    We’re pretty proud of Agent Shop, so feel free to spread the word.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Hi Darlene,

    What’s for lunch?

    I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you. It’s a stellar line up, so I’m sure many will want a chance to pitch.

    Have a great day and thanks for coming by.

  5. Thank you so much, Candi!

    Not only for the effort you’ve so obviously put into this, but for sharing this fantastic opportunity with everyone! I’m definately taking a much closer look (and advantage of such a wonderful opportunity), and it’s all due to your enthusiastic and professional yet cheerfully realistic presentation! Encouragement is hard to come by and this has been some of the best.

  6. Thanks, Lois!

    We honestly are still surprised at MueTracks by the popularity and kind comments of those who visit.

    We all need encouragment, because there are so many disheartening events in publishing. Why not sticj together I say.

    Thank you so much for commenting today and hope to ‘see’ you on pitch day.

  7. Candi, thanks so much for stopping by and sharing with us. I’ve done Agent shop before and loved it. I recently recieved an email from you and some from others concerning it. I am in total support of you and hope you don’t let the words of a few effect you. Please continue with your endevours and I wish you sucess. Great Job!

  8. Hi Sayde!

    Thanks so much for your kind comment.

    Honestly – nothing gets me down. Opinions are opinions and everyone has one. It’s what makes us all so diverse.

    Agent Shop and the blog and the blog will run as they always do and for the reasons they shouls. My promo will take several spins do doubt, but I’m well above worrying about one or two little set backs.

    The agents are fantastic and looking forward to coming another time.

    Again – I appreciate your suport. And I loved being here.

    • That’s wonderful to hear! I’m glad and I look forward to more great things from you, agent shop, and all the others who participate.

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