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Carly Watters is a literary agent with the P.S. Literary Agency. She is a hands-on agent that develops proposals and manuscripts with attention to detail and the relevant markets. PSLA’s mission is to manage authors’ literary brands for their entire career.
Never without a book on hand she reads across categories which is reflected in the genres she represents and is actively seeking new authors in including women’s fiction, commercial fiction, literary thrillers, upmarket non fiction, and all genres of YA. Carly is drawn to emotional, well-paced narratives, with a great voice and characters that readers can get invested in.
Clients include Taylor Jenkins Reid, Colin Mochrie, Jay Onrait, Julianna Scott, Danny Appleby and more.
Her blog has been named one of 101 Best Websites for Writers by Writer’s Digest magazine.
C. W. Arsenis
on April 12, 2016 :
GETTING PUBLISHED IN THE 21st CENTURY: ADVICE FROM A LITERARY AGENT is without question the best book on getting published traditionally I’ve ever read, and I’ve been reading books on this subject for over two decades now.
Carly Watters is one of those top-of-the-line, no-nonsense agents that serious career authors have on the very top of their wish list. She works with big publishing houses, is the VP and Senior Literary Agent at P.S. Literary Agency, and has signed numerous debut and bestselling authors.
I met her at a conference, and Ms. Watters is as impressive and professional in person as is she is in this book.
Her writing is to the point, easy to read, and a breeze to reference. I read—scratch that—studied this short book in a matter of hours.
Though you can jump to any section you like, and get exactly the information you’re looking for, I suggest committed writers read this book from cover-to-cover.
Carly Watters confirms what I have heard many agents say in conferences, but more important, she corrects several common misconceptions, such as the belief that agents do not like debut authors, or that agents chase trends.
GETTING PUBLISHED IN THE 21st CENTURY starts at the very beginning with how to craft a breakout novel. This includes basic skills, such as writing from the true beginning of a story, how to grab the reader’s attention in the first five pages, how to write great dialogue, crafting characters from inception to conclusion, showing versus telling, writing high-stakes tension, and plenty more.
The book continues with how to repair a broken manuscript, how to deal with writer’s block, and nine ways to write smarter, not harder.
None of this was new to me, but I found it reassuring to see an agent who has her finger on the pulse of the market confirming what I have learned over the years.
And then comes the really juicy part—how to actually get an agent.
Here Carly Watters goes into great depth on query letters. How to write one, the hook, the synopsis, the pitch, and six tips to make a query letter stand out.
She goes into detail with six reasons she would stop reading your manuscript, and she also writes about when to follow-up with agents.
She even delves into non-fiction proposals (which was of special interest to me).
Ms. Watters then discusses the agent-author relationship. Whether you have an agent or not, this gives you a great insight into publishing and prospects for your future.
Finally, she talks about publication and promotion in the digital age. I’ve heard tons of advice on branding and marketing from the self-publishing community, but this is the first I’ve heard regarding this critical—yet too often underemphasized—aspect of being an author from the perspective of the traditional publishing industry.
I view this book as a bible for people who are committed to a long-term career as a traditionally published author.
My take from the book is that success in traditional publishing is a matter of persevering, and offering agents what they want, while at the same time being true to yourself.
GETTING PUBLISHED IN THE 21st CENTURY is an absolute must-read for anyone wanting to publish traditionally, especially with the major presses.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)