What Writers Must Know About Finding & Working with Representation Today – Monday, April 29

IWOSC’S ANNUAL AGENTS PANEL — Got Rep? Agents Update 2013: What Writers Must Know About Finding & Working with Representation Today

Monday, April 29, 2013
7:30 SHARP to 9 p.m. (Schmoozing follows)
SOLD OUT – Sorry, reservations are closed as the room is full for this panel

In a changing marketplace, it’s more important than ever to have an advocate to fight for you when going the route of traditional publishing. Our April 29th program will present a panel of stellar Southern California agents who will provide a look at their world today. We’ll cover what you need to know to find the right representative, how to get their attention, and the steps you should take to create the strongest relationship. In addition, we’ll look at the ebook factor, transitioning from self-publishing to traditional publishing, book-to-film deals, and more. Come join us!


Charlotte GusayCHARLOTTE GUSAY, THE CHARLOTTE GUSAY LITERARY AGENCY, has a deeply rooted love of the literary. Before opening her agency in 1988, she ran George Sands Books, a prestigious bookstore on Melrose in West Hollywood. Eclectic and choosy, Charlotte has come to be known as the “Diane Keaton” of agents. Her clients include author and venerable cartoonist Jack Mendelsohn (Jacky’s Diary and Stuff I Lern in Skool), authors Michael Fertik and David C. Thompson (The Reputation Economy – forthcoming), novelist Wendy Blackburn (Beachglass), journalist Patt Morrison (Rio L.A.: Tales from the Los Angeles River), and novelist Jane Ranson (Bye Bye). She represents both fiction and nonfiction books, YA books with movie potential, entertainment rights, books to film, selected screenplays and screenwriters. Her agency is particularly interested in innovative, unusual, eclectic, literary, historical, humorous books and those on any issues or topics, timely or socially important. Her website is gusay.
pPAUL S. LEVINE, PAUL S. LEVINE LITERARY AGENCY, is a lawyer and a literary agent. He has practiced entertainment law for over 30 years, representing authors, writers, producers, actors, directors, composers, musicians, artists, photographers, and publishers, in the fields of publishing, motion pictures, television, interactive multimedia, live stage, recorded music, concerts, and the visual arts. Levine has sold over one hundred fiction and nonfiction books and has had many books developed as movies-for-television and feature films. Clients include novelist Sheila Copeland (Saved and Single), author/activist Tad Daley (Apocalypse Never), novelist John DeCure (Bluebird Rising: A Mystery), and therapist/life coach Julie M. Simon (The Emotional Eater’s Repair Manual). Leaning toward socially and politically important literature, he will consider fiction, nonfiction, children’s, and young adult manuscripts and proposals for nonfiction books. His website is paulslevinelit.
Jennifer RofeJENNIFER ROFÉ, ANDREA BROWN LITERARY AGENCY. As a literary agent, Jennifer handles children’s fiction projects, from picture books to young adult. Middle grade is her soft spot; she’s open to all genres in this category, especially the tender or hilarious. For YA, Jennifer is drawn to contemporary works, dramatic or funny romance,sss and urban fantasy/light sci-fi. For picture books, early readers, and chapter books, she’s interested in character-driven projects and smart, exceptional writing. Jennifer’s clients include Kathryn Fitzmaurice, Barry Wolverton, Nick James, Samantha Vamos, Meg Medina, and Crystal Allen. Jennifer is co-author of the picture book Piggies in the Pumpkin Patch.
Her website is andreabrownlit.
Toni LopopoloTONI LOPOPOLO, TONI LOPOPOLO LITERARY MANAGEMENT, has a book publishing resume that began in 1970 in the Publicity Department of Bantam Books. As Executive Editor at both Macmillan and later St. Martins, she published Judy Mazel’s Beverly Hills Diet and popular best-selling women’s fiction by Barbara Raskin and Kate Coscarelli. Her literary agency was founded in 1991. She has made deals for authors such as novelist/nonfiction author Sol Stein (Stein on Writing), novelist/nonfiction author Shelly Lowenkopf (The Fiction Writer’s Handbook), gritty Chicano noir mystery-writer Manuel Ramos (Brown-on-Brown: A Luis Montez Mystery), and romance author Flo Fitzgerald (Ghost of a Chance). She looks for well-written, well-edited fiction: mysteries, thrillers, mainstream fiction with pro-active female protagonists, ethnic writers, including Hispanic. In nonfiction, she is interested in memoir with a message, family-oriented subjects, health, coping with special problems, topical subjects. Toni conducts workshops for novelists, and memoirists, as well as offering coaching on creating irresistible pitches and book proposals. Her website is lopopololiterary.com.
BJ RobbinsBJ ROBBINS, BJ ROBBINS LITERARY AGENCY, began her book publishing career in the Publicity Department at Simon & Schuster and later moved to Harcourt, where she was Director of Marketing and then Senior Editor. In 1992, she started her own Los Angeles-based literary agency. Her client list includes novelists James D. Houston (Bird of Another Heaven), CBS TV Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson (Between the Bridge and the River), and Nafisa Haji (The Sweetness of Tears); memoirists Wendy Werris (An Alphabetical Life: Living It Up in the World of Books) and Carol Ann Harris (Storms: My Life with Lindsey Buckingham and Fleetwood Mac); nonfiction writer Roger Love (Love Your Voice); and travel writer J. Maarten Troost (The Sex Lives of Cannibals). Her agency represents quality fiction and general nonfiction, with a particular interest in literary fiction, mystery, commercial fiction, historical fiction, thrillers, offbeat/quirky memoir, history, sports, medicine, current affairs, business, psychology and health.
You can learn about BJ publishersmarketplace.com/members/bjrobbins/.
, is an award-winning book editor, book coach, and ghostwriter. She specializes in health, nutrition, self-help, spirituality, business, and the media, and she also works with fiction and memoir. Quinn has been in the book publishing business for more than two decades and regularly produces and moderates book panels. Her editorial projects include the small press best-seller The Detox Solution by health coach Patricia Fitzgerald, the award-winning The Food Is My Friend Diet by dietitian Ruth Frechman, the inspirational The Conscious Catwoman Explains Life on Earth by actress Julie Newmar (Catwoman on the TV series Batman), and the metaphysical novel Ultimaya 1.0: The Trouble with the Wishes of Leopold Stokes by spiritual advisor Saniel Bonder. Her website is writingandediting.biz.

Veterans Memorial Building
4117 Overland Avenue, Culver City
Parking entrance on Culver
Corner of Culver Boulevard.
Map of location.
Parking is free.

Note: Wear layered clothing.
The room is usually comfortable but the temperature can vary.

IWOSC members – free

Non-members – $15

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Two Publishing Pros to Offer Fiction Writing Bootcamp May 3-5 in Santa Barbara

Two literary insiders team up to help budding authors craft novels that will catch the eye of agents and publishers. Shelly Lowenkopf and Toni Lopopolo began the bootcamps in 2010 in the Santa Barbara/Ventura area. The latest edition is “Bare Knuckles Bootcamp” which brings their accumulated knowledge and street creds as Executive Editors with Macmillan, St. Martins, Bantam and Dell, along with Ms. Lopopolo’s literary agency work, to help writers achieve their dreams of publication.

“We’re looking for a few good writers who have the stamina and imagination to reach the level of marketable authors,” Ms Lopopolo said. “We wanted to hone the skills of more talented area writers.” The camp is a three-day intensive limited to ten writers who must submit up to ten pages and a synopsis in advance to be accepted.

The bootcamp will delve into: your opening page (velocity vs. set up); refining point of view; how to avoid fatal story errors; and an area where many writers never do enough, revision, revision, revision. Other areas covered include: creating charged dialogue; how to create your character’s defining moment; how to make your story win every round; and, much more.

“So many people dive into writing without understanding that novel writing is not like a thesis for an English Lit class,” Shelly Lowenkopf said. “To be published, a writer must meet a high standard, one that is achievable IF you know where the bar is. Toni and I have been raising that bar for years and will now pass on our experience to new writers.”

Shelly Lowenkopf has held major editorial positions with Sherbourne Press (Editor-in-Chief); Dell Publishing (Director, Los Angeles office); Clio Books (Editor-in-Chief); Ross-Erickson (Editor-in-Chief); and, Capra Press (Advisory and Acquisitions Editor). He has seen over seven hundred books and hundreds of short story and essay projects through the publishing process. Currently a freelance consultant and teacher, his clients include novelists, retired and active academics, and the humorist creator of one of the most popular television series of all time. For over 30 years, he was a fixture at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, running his famous nightly Pirate Sessions.

Lowenkopf taught courses in short story, novel, dramatic writing, editing, genre fiction, and revision at the graduate level in one of the most prestigious writing programs in America at University of Southern California, where he was given a Lifetime Teaching Award. He is a past regional president of the Mystery Writers of America. His most recent book, The Fiction Writer’s Companion, is a guide to terms, concepts, and forms related to storytelling.

Literary Agent, Toni Lopopolo, brings a book publishing resume that began in 1970 in the publicity dept of Bantam Books, where she helped publicize authors such as Philip Roth, Barbara Cartland, Isaac Asimov, and Louis L’Amour.

She next served as Library Promotion Director at Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, until Houghton Mifflin offered her a position in Boston as Marketing Manager, Paperback Books. Her big campaigns included Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins.  When Macmillan offered Toni the title of Executive Editor, she moved back to New York City and published Judy Mazel’s Beverly Hills Diet, Elvis 56 by Al Wertheimer, among other hits. Next St. Martin’s Press made an offer she couldn’t refuse and Toni became Executive Editor from 1981 to 1990. She published Hot Flashes by Barbara Raskin and Rich and Famous by Kate Coscarelli plus Elsa Lanchester, Herself, by Elsa Lanchester, On The Other Hand by Fay Wray as well biographies of Lillian Hellman, Mary McCarthy, and many other titles. She has taught fiction and narrative non-fiction writing at Temple University in Philadelphia.

In l991, Toni opened Literary Management and has sold books for authors Sol Stein, Lee Silber, Lillian Glass, Steve Duno, Nancy Baer, Flo Fitzgerald, Judith Smith-Levin, Howard Olgin, Jeanette Baker, Larry Seeley, Shelly Lowenkopf, and many others.

To learn more about the bootcamp curriculum or how to submit pages for acceptance, visit: email Toni Lopopolo at lopopolobooks@aol.com.

The bootcamp is presented by the Pacific Institute for Professional Writing, a California 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit,

WHAT:  Bare Knuckles Bootcamp
WHEN:  May 3-4-5
TIME:  Friday: 5:30 to 8:30 pm – Saturday and Sunday: 9:30 am to 4:30 pm
PLACE:  Private home in Santa Barbara

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Toni Lopopolo speaks to the Independent Writers of Southern California on Monday, April 1, 7:30 pm, Veterans Memorial Bldg., 4117 Overland Ave. at Culver Blvd., Culver City.

According to Andre Schiffrin, former head of Pantheon Books, “The publishing world has been through more changes in the past 10 to 15 years than it had in the 100 years before that.” And that’s putting it mildly.

Today, E-books, Kindle, and iPad literature apps are poised to “take over” hardcover book publishing as we know it. What new opportunities – and pitfalls – does this present? How has the change from emphasizing professional career authors (e.g., Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates) to “overnight superstar” reality-TV and celebrity authors changed what – and WHO – editors and agents are looking for? How have the new electronic platforms affected self- and small-press publishing – and how will authors and writers make their living in this brave new world?

With the demise of Borders and Blockbuster, the continued downsizing and “rebootings” of iconic magazines like Newsweek, Variety, and US News & World Report, and turmoil at the remaining major publishing houses – even as the four-year-old Great Recession finally shows signs of beginning to lift – it is more important than ever to find out how to advocate for yourself, how writers will be able to make a living, and how to navigate these game-changers in the 24-hour spin cycle that is today’s publishing world.

IWOSC’s stellar March/early April panel includes top names from every aspect of the industry, from literary agents and booksellers to publicists and social-media coaches and self-publishing gurus (and we’ll be following up on April 29th, of course, with our annual AGENTS PANEL!). They include:

E-MAIL RESERVATIONS REQUIRED — Reservations by email only. Email info@iwosc.org to make your reservation to this event. Please write “IWOSC Reservation” in the subject line. You will receive a confirming email from IWOSC, and your name will be on a list at check-in. For proof of your reservation, bring a printout of your email or show a smartphone version of your “sent” email or confirmation. Please arrive by 7:15 pm to be seated. Doors open to everyone at 7:15 and people will be admitted as space permits. Reservations close at 5 pm Saturday, March 30.  Walk-ins permitted, if there is space. Information: (310) 773-8075. If you reserve and can’t attend, please notify the office, info@iwosc.org .

IWOSC, the Independent Writers of Southern California, is a nonprofit association, now celebrating its 30th anniversary, providing support, tools, and resources to help self-employed professional writers in Southern California since 1982.   Please visit us at www.IWOSC.org.

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Carl Sagan Quote About Books

carl sagan quote about books

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Ventura County Writers Weekend – Nov 3 & 4

Two Days of Education for Writers of All Genres

Seven information-packed seminars over two full days will feature leading Southern California publishing professionals discussing today’s hot topics. Speakers include: literary agents, publishers, book publicists, published authors, social media experts, book shepherds, editors, writing instructors, and more.

Literary Agents Panel – important changes in publishing that every writer needs to know. Saturday, November 3, 3:30 pm to 5 pm: Listen to three top west coast literary agents discuss the rapidly changing world of book publication. Learn what New York is looking for and about new, small niche houses that offer an alternative to the legacy publishers on the east coast. Literary agents scheduled to speak: Toni Lopopolo, Dana Newman, and one more to be confirmed. PIPW executive directorKate Sexton Kaiserwill moderate the panel.
Memoir – the hot genre publishers are looking to buy Sunday, November 4, 10 to 11:30 am: New York publishers are looking for memoirs; personal narratives that touch the hearts of readers, and tell a unique story with a strong voice. Two successful memoirists will discuss the process, how to define the real story, and focus on the strengths of the characters. Speakers: Author and instructor, Diana Raab and author, Reyna Grande Literary agent and writing instructor, Toni Lopopolo will moderate.
Women Writing about Women for Women Sunday, November 4, Noon to 1:30 pm: Women buy 80% of all books sold in America. Female authors are taking over the bestseller lists. Publishers are looking for more books to attract this vibrant market. Listen to an agent discuss what she hears from acquiring editors in New York publishing houses, and two authors whose new books clearly targets this market. SPEAKERS: Literary agent and writing instructor, Toni Lopopolo, Robin Winter, author of the just published novel, Night Must Wait, and author Roberta Raye, who is a co-founder of Ojai WordFestAuthor Promote Thyself creator, Kate Sexton Kaiserwill moderate the panel.
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Coming Soon–The Hollyweird Series by Toni’s client E.Van Lowe

The official publication date of the first in the Hollyweird book series is set.  August 30th is the release date for The Zombie Always Knocks Twice by E.Van Lowe.

Author, Amanda Ashby says “I love everything about this fabulous, funny, snarky book.”

If youd like to read a sneak peek, the Bookish Brunette has included one as part of last May’s Zombie Craze (http://www.bookish-brunette.com/evan-lowe-zombie-craze-post/).

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Susan Setteducato’s Reflections on Editing

By Susan Setteducato

“The best writing is re-writing.”- E.B White, Elements of Style

After I finished the first draft of my first novel (now Book Three in the McCool Saga) I began sending out queries. I had 600 pages, I announced with pride, which I had copied word for word from ten spiral notebooks. Within about two weeks the responses started rolling in. After a half-dozen of these, I began looking up rejection-statistics on published writers to make myself feel better. Then the tide turned. I got four requests for pages.

Susan SetteducatoI sent out my pages and received back two unceremonious ‘no’s’, plus one positive response which had been sent to me by mistake (an intern confused me with another writer). Then I got the bomb. An agent telling me in emphatic language to call off my blitz campaign. “You need an editor,” she said. “And you need to revise.”

Editor? Revise? Hmmfff. But I stopped. Then a friend told me about a Novelist’s Boot-Camp being offered at a place not far from where I lived. “You have to have written a whole novel,” she said. “And you have to apply to get in.”

Well, apply I did. Within hours I received a response from Toni Lopopolo, former Editor at St. Martin’s Press turned Literary Agent. She cut to the chase, too. “Take out all the ‘ly’ adverbs and ‘ings’, then send it back.” I thought she was nuts but I did it. An agent was giving me a chance. Continue reading

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