From literary agent Colleen Linday's (FinePrint Literary Management) blog:
I am thrilled to announce that the good folks at Backspace (an incredible online writers community THAT YOU SHOULD JOIN IMMEDIATELY! GO! NOW!) have once again graciously agreed to donate two scholarships to their upcoming Backspace Writers Conference & Agent-Author Seminar, which will be held in New York City from May 27th through the 29th.
The Backspace Writers Conference (May 28th & 29th) is two days of panel discussions with literary agents, authors, and acquisitions editors, agent workshops, master classes taught by New York Times bestselling authors, and opening pages workshop critiques, PLUS a Friday evening booksigning and cocktail reception. The Backspace Agent-Author Seminar (May 27th) is an extra full day of small-group breakouts with sixteen of my agent colleagues (including Kristin Nelson, Elana Roth, Jason Ashlock, Paul Cirone, Brandi Bowles, Elizabeth Evans, Joanna Stampfel-Volpe and Diana Fox, to name just a few). It's a chance to have your query read and critiqued and to have agents see the first two pages of your novel. The conference itself is held at the Radisson-Martinique in Midtown Manhattan, walking distance from Penn Station and virtually every subway line in NYC. (If you were to pay for the conference & seminar yourself, by the way, it would be $750!)
A special note from Backspace's Chris Graham & Karen Dionne to those wanting to enter the contest:
"Anyone who's interested in the conference - and especially the Agent-Author Seminar - but also wants to take part in the contest can register ahead of time. If you win, we'll promptly refund your money. Because space is limited at the AA Seminar, and it tends to sell-out early, we don't want people to miss out on it, while still being able to enter the contest. And as an added bonus, this year we're giving each of the winners a 1-year subscription to the Backspace Discussion Forums ($40/year), where they'll not only have access to all of the terrific information available, but they can also watch videos from our 2009 Writers Conference and Nov 2009 Agent-Author Seminar!"
So how do you enter? Pay attention:
First, three caveats:
1. You MUST have a finished novel that is ready to query. No exceptions.
2. The scholarship covers admission to the conference only, not travel or hotel expenses. If you're coming from outside the New York-area, bear this in mind.
3. The contest is open only to fiction (any genre, adult, YA or middle grade) and narrative non-fiction manuscripts.
1. One entry per person, please.
2. Print out your query letter plus the first two pages of your finished novel, the same two pages that you want to have critiqued at Backspace. The query letter should be single spaced; the two pages of your manuscript should be standard manuscript format: 12-point type and double-spaced. (Remember, only the first two pages, even if it ends mid-sentence.)
3. Mail your entries (yes, on paper, with a stamp - no email entries for this contest!) to my attention at FinePrint Literary Management, 240 W. 35th Street, Suite 500, New York, NY, 10001.
4. Your envelope MUST have the word BACKSPACE written prominently on the front so that I know it's a contest submission. Otherwise it will be recycled by the ever-efficient interns!
5. Although you are welcome to submit projects that you'd like us to consider for representation, do understand that your contest entries won't get a response. Only the two winners will be hearing back from us.
6. Don't include an SASE; it'll be a waste of a stamp. (See above.)
7. Don't call or email to follow up on your entry. Trust in the U.S. Post Office. They've been doing right by your mail for 150 years.
8. If you do call or email to follow up, your entry will be disqualified and a voudou priestess somewhere in the wilds of the Louisiana bayou will ensure that you get a nasty rash in an unspeakable place for at least a year.
9. Entries must be postmarked by Monday, March 1st. Entries received with a postmark later than March 1st will be disqualified.
10. The two winners will be announced the week of March 15th.
Thanks so much to the wonderful and supportive faculty at Backspace for making these scholarships possible. I'm sure the winners will put them to good use!
(And as if you needed any further incentive to enter the contest, consider this: last year, we had four winners for the Backspace Scholarship Contest; all four found representation through the Agent-Author Seminar!)
Good luck, everyone! And please feel free to repost!
And from a previous contest winner:
The Fall 2009 Backspace Agent-Author Seminar was the most phenomenal conference I have ever attended. I was a winner of the previous scholarship contest, and as Colleen stated, I now have representation. *waves at Colleen*
While I was there, I was impressed with the amount of personal and individual attention every attendee received on both query letters and opening pages. It's one thing to have someone try to explain what should go into queries and opening pages. It's another thing entirely to have professionals break down YOUR query and pages and tell you exactly what's wrong and right about them.
The mixers with agents were wonderfully informal and comfortable, nothing like nerve-wracking pitch sessions. They provided a great opportunity to network with agents and other writers.
I recommend this conference to all my writer friends and suggest they attend if they possibly can, whether they win the scholarship or not.
More information on the conference website, or you can contact me, Karen Dionne, at karendionne @ bksp.org if you have questions.
Hope to see some of you there!