FREE until Friday, 15th July only: ‘Meaner Things’ by David Anderson

Get your free copy by clicking here.

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My new thriller ‘Meaner Things’ has been published

Meaner Things by David Anderson

I’m pleased to announce the publication of my new thriller Meaner Things.

It’s available here:

Meaner Things on Amazon.com

Meaner Things on Amazon.ca

Meaner Things on Amazon.co.uk

‘Kept me gripped to the last page’ – Tom Kasey, best-selling author of ‘Cold Kill’.

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How does one find agents to query?

Another question I’ve been asked is: how does one find agents to query?  After all, there are thousands of agents out there and nobody can or should query them all!  Somehow one has to be selective in a more than arbitrary way.

I’m in Canada so can only speak from a Canadian perspective.  One source I’ve used for a long time is Brian Henry’s Quick Brown Fox blog:

http://quick-brown-fox-canada.blogspot.ca/
Often he will post about agencies with new agents looking for authors and what kind of manuscripts they’re interested in seeing.

Some more useful pages:
http://www.writersunion.ca/content/literary-agents
http://canadianauthors.org/national/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Literary_Agents_ListF.pdf
http://www.agentquery.com/

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Getting a literary agent: spreadsheets may help!

A fellow author has asked me how to get an agent.  The answer is: I wish I knew!  At the moment I don’t have an agent, though it is not from want of trying.  Each time I complete a manuscript I query numerous agents whom I think may be interested.  After I began writing seriously I read somewhere that keeping a spreadsheet of agents queried is useful so I did that with my first manuscript and have done it ever since.  I also query directly to (a few) publishers and add these to the bottom of the spreadsheet.

When I completed my second manuscript I created a fresh spreadsheet using some of the agents who had responded somewhat positively to the first one, plus many other agents I’d never previously queried.  This was a different kind of book and one gets better at sourcing agents.  Same with my third novel.

I’m currently working on a Young Adult novel, and am about halfway along with it.  I have a spreadsheet prepared for it and already have several agents listed there for when I’m ready to query them.

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Some Young Adult novels I’ve enjoyed

I’m currently writing a Young Adult novel.  This is a big departure for me, and thus rather scary.  Can I pull it off?  I’m about a third of the way through and so far, so good.

A big reason for my trepidation was that, before beginning my own Young Adult manuscript, I’d read very little in the YA genre.  Ignorance is not bliss in this situation so I had to rectify it.  That meant a blitz of YA reading for a few months before launching into my own YA manuscript.

This turned out to be very enjoyable and I am now a YA fan and intend to keep up my reading in YA novels.  Really, I’ve still only dipped my toe in the genre.

In a nutshell, YA is where it’s at!  It has been so successful because (along with the usual dross found in all genres) it contains a lot of very good books that provide prime reading pleasure to millions.

YA reminds me of a couple of other genres I also enjoy greatly.  It shares the strength of hard-boiled or noir fiction in that the stories move along at pace (which is not to say that characterization is lacking; it’s just not preeminent).  YA also brings to mind the speculative fiction, primarily British and by authors such as John Wyndham and John Christopher, that flourished from the Fifties to the Seventies or thereabouts.  While not always smoothly written, these speculative thrillers often contain good ideas that keep the reader hooked.

Anyway, here are a few contemporary YA novels that I strongly recommend:

The Maze Runner by James Dashner and its sequels and prequels;

Variant by Robison Wells and its sequel Feedback;

Brain Jack by Brian Falkner;

London Eye, the first in the ‘Toxic City’ series by Tim Lebbon;

Double or Die, one of the ‘Young Bond’ series by Charlie Higson;

and a good but underrated novel called Hacking Timbuktu by Stephen Davies.

You can see all the YA novels I’ve read (which is really not very many) here.

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A maxim on writing, for what it’s worth

‘If you’re bored writing it, it’s likely the reader will be bored reading it!’

– David Anderson, author of Earthly Powers

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A gem among the straw

I’ve just this past few minutes finished Six Years, a thriller by the mega-selling Harlan Coben.  I think the novel is so-so, not bad but not great either.  The pages turn so effortlessly that they almost seem to turn by themselves!  On the other hand, the characters are boring, the dialogue cheesy, and in the plot all necessary incidents just fall into place whenever required.  It doesn’t add up to much, has no resonance or depth whatsoever, and will linger in my mind just long enough for me to finish this post.  It’s not a novel that anyone, probably including Harlan Coben, would ever want to revisit.

But there is one neat little piece of writing about three-quarters of the way through:

The woman at the desk had a helmety beehive hairdo last seen on a senator’s wife circa 1964.  She hit me with a smile so wooden I could have knocked on it for luck.

Two sentences worthy of Chandler himself!

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