Today we are talking with Chuck about the Guide to Literary Agents, his journey to becoming a published author and his thoughts for all the rest of us following him down that dusty road. You can also check out the first part of the interview here.
What was the hardest part of completing your first book, Guide to Literary Agents (GLA)?
It took a lot of time to figure out how to update such a big book like that. Plus, when I first took over the book, I quickly discovered that there were many literary agencies in existence that were not in our database. So I aimed to get 50 new ones in my first edition of the book. I ended up adding something insane like 120.
Does it get easier with the second book? Third?
Oh yeah. Writing gets easier every year. You get better and learn quicker. You get more work—get paid better. Relationships you develop pay off later. It gets easier, but you have to be willing to put in at least two tough years.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Focusing on one project and finishing it. I enjoy delving into an article or story and doing the first draft—creating something exciting and new. I do not enjoy the whole process of polishing and revising and rewriting. To me, that is a necessary evil that I just have to forge through.
Where do you get your ideas? And more specifically, I would especially love to hear the story behind your new book, How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack. How on earth did you come up with the idea for that?
It was a rainy weekend afternoon in early 2009 and I was thinking about The Full Monty (the 1997 film). In it, there is a scene with a garden gnome. I started to think how creepy gnomes were, and it occurred to me that if garden gnomes touched a nerve with me like that, surely they would touch a nerve with others. And that was how the proposal came to be. I pitched the idea to a bunch of friends and no one thought it was funny. Thank God, my agent (Sorche Fairbank) saw the potential and helped me.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Geez Louise—how much time do you have? My blog (www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog) is a huge blog on publishing & writing that has more than 1,000 posts on it. It talks about queries, synopses, fiction, agents, submissions, platform, new agents—just about everything. Plus, I talk on writing and agents all the time at writers conferences across the country. Come out and meet me, or at least head to a local one in your area.
Any words to our readers on how to get published?
Educate yourself on how the publishing process and industry works. Write a lot. Read a lot. Attend writers conferences. Join writers groups. (And when you need an agent, consider the 2011 Guide to Literary Agents!)
What surprises you the most about the publishing industry as it stands today?
How slow everything works. Answers take weeks or months. Books take years to come to fruition. That’s the benefit of working on multiple projects at the same time—you are always busy with something, so the “slowness” doesn’t get to you.
What would your ideal career be, if you couldn't be an author? I understand you play guitar in a cover band. Are you still doing that? Where can we see you strut your stuff?
We play all around Cincinnati. You know—just last night—I was at a bar with my wife and friends, and a cover band was playing. So I did exactly what you think I’d do: I told the band it was my birthday (possibly untrue) and asked if I could play a song. They said yes and it was a bunch of fun. To answer your original question, there’s nothing I want to do more than writing and couldn’t imagine a full-time job doing anything else.
What are your current projects (writing or otherwise)?
Working on a proposal for my second humor book. Working on a screenplay with my buddy at work. And I was just named the new editor of Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market for the 2012 edition. So that is an important challenge for me in the coming months, to say the least. (Click here for the 2011 edition.)
Do you have any final thoughts to share?
No, I’ve blabbed enough. A big “thanks” to Fiction Flurry for featuring my book.
Chuck Sambuchino (www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog) is an editor and a writer. He works for Writer's Digest Books and edits two annual resources: GUIDE TO LITERARY AGENTS as well as CHILDREN'S WRITER'S & ILLUSTRATOR'S MARKET. He is also a humor book writer, with his first book, HOW TO SURVIVE A GARDEN GNOME ATTACK, released in Sept. 2010.
Hey people! Did you know that there are only 71 days until Christmas? Yikes! But I've got you covered! You know those relatives on your list that are especially hard to shop for? Chuck's new book, How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack is the perfect answer for everyone this year! I mean, everyone likes to laugh; right? And even better, you don't even have to leave your chair to get it. Just click here.
AND A BIG THANK YOU TO CHUCK FOR SHARING HIS THOUGHTS AND TIME WITH US!!!