July/August 2013

Our Literary Agents Issue features an in-depth interview with agent Eric Simonoff; an expert look at the query letter that landed an agent; a Q&A with popular novelist Neil Gaiman; an introduction to the authors of the summer's best debut fiction; tips from the stage on how to give an inspired reading; submission information for more than fifty-five contests with upcoming deadlines; and much more. 


First Fiction 2013

by Staff
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For our thirteenth annual roundup of the summer’s best debut fiction, we asked five established authors—Paul Harding, Karen Russell, Nathan Englander, Curtis Sittenfeld, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie—to introduce this year’s group of talented debut...

Special Section

Agents & Editors: Eric Simonoff

by Michael Szczerban

A heavy-hitting agent who for twenty-two years has represented some of the biggest literary writers in the country, Eric Simonoff discusses recent changes in the publishing industry, the pitfalls of self-publishing, and what he's learned about staying creative.

Not Necessarily New York

by Michael Bourne
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Does it really matter where your agent is based? Contributing editor Michael Bourne talks with a group of agents who do not have offices in the Big Apple and discovers that there are many other more important considerations than whether your agent...

The Good Breakup

by Marie Myung-Ok Lee
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Knowing how to get an agent is undoubtedly important, but as fiction writer Myung-Ok Lee learned, knowing when to get a new agent is sometimes even more important.

The Aha! Moment: Anna Stein of Aitken Alexander Associates

by Michael Bourne
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Agent Anna Stein offers a close reading of a query letter she received from Jeff Jackson, whose first novel Mira Corpora, will be published by Two Dollar Radio in September.

News and Trends

Literary MagNet

by Travis Kurowski

Literary MagNet chronicles the start-ups and closures, successes and failures, anniversaries and accolades, changes of editorship and special issues—in short, the news and trends—of literary magazines in America. This issue's MagNet features MAKE: A Chicago Literary Magazine, Tin House, Bellevue Literary Review, and Harvard Review. 

Small Press Points

by Staff

Small Press Points highlights the innovation and can-do spirit of independent presses. This issue features Off the Grid Press, which publishes books exclusively by poets over the age of sixty.

The Practical Writer

Make Them Glad They Came: How to Give an Inspired Reading

by Kevin Sampsell
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Kevin Sampsell, whose novel, This Is Between Us, will be published by Tin House Books in November, asks his eight favorite readers—Steve Almond, Derrick Brown, Michael Heald, Beth Lisick, Scott McClanahan, Alissa Nutting, and Jenny Zhang—to...

The Literary Life

The Art of Conflict: Why Your Characters Should Struggle

by Dan Barden
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The author most recently of the novel The Next Right Thing (The Dial Press, 2012) explains why conflict is at the heart of every good story. 

Why We Write: Tilted Naked Weirdo

by Nancy Méndez-Booth
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Fiction writer Nancy Méndez-Booth explains how Junot Díaz helped her find both her voice and the ability to tell the most uncomfortable—and most honest—stories.