Thursday, April 14, 2011

Calling All Historic Fiction Writers...

I just learned that Irene Goodman of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency is so desperate for historical fiction she is holding a pitch contest. Are you excited as I am? I'm getting that buzzy feeling that I get when I want to do something and I have to do it NOW. However, I/you/we have until July to submit a pitch to her.

All the details can be found here, but the general rules are:

1. Must be a pitch only and be submitted by July 1, 2011. The pitch should include a brief plot description, main characters, time period, and setting. Irene will get back to you by August 15, 2011 if she is interested.
2. It must be historical in nature preferably set in Europe although she will be selectively considering some American and Asian settings. She is not interested in Ancient Egypt, Greece, or Rome. Also historical means the dawn of time to World War I.
3. The novel must be based on either real or fictional historical events. Novels set in both the past and present are ok, as is time travel, but paranormal elements should be limited at best.
4. The book must be completed or in its final stages. If Irene asks to see it, it must be ready.
5. Winners will be offered representation. There may be one or multiple winners (she is hoping for multiples, I believe).
6. The agency is not responsible for representing anything that may be close to what you submit due to the fac that they receive thousands of queries a year.

This is a massive opportunity, so if any of you are unrepresented, I would highly suggest submitting your work. If any of you would like to submit and want to craft pitches together, get in touch with me. I always need motivation and a sounding board!


  1. That is a really good agency. Good luck! I hope you dazzle them.

  2. Me too, Margo. But writing a pitch is a real--you know what. I've been working on it all morning and every single draft really blows. It is seriously hard to condense a sprawling epic into two paragraphs. :-(

  3. You could try my method, though it might not work for your voice and genre. A twelve sentence limit in three paragraphs. First paragraph starts with a character statement (Alice Smith is a...) that covers the situation at the onset of the story, second with a 'but' statement (But when she discovers...) that covers some of the main dangers, and the third with a 'now' statement (Now she must...) that covers her challenges as she tries to solve the problem. With the agency-required stuff worked in. You will probably recognize most of this from Nathan's blog. :)

  4. I'll give it a try. Thanks for the advice!

  5. What about WWII? Too recent?

  6. I guess so, Euclid. :-(
    Maybe it is her personal preference, or maybe an industry standard? In my job, a building becomes eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places at 50 years old. Which means that a building from 1961 could be eligible. Many people think we are crazy when we tell them that!

  7. Agh, no paranormal elements? No mythology for me. Ah well--best to focus on what's already done. Still, good luck Caroline!

  8. For me, it's good AND bad. I'm currently trying to find an agent/publisher for a trilogy about the founding of the California missions in the 1700s and early 1800s.

  9. WWII is considered historical by the Historical Novel Society (their definition is that it must be at least 50 years old or approached entirely by research, not firsthand knowledge of time by the author)...and I've seen it classified as such elsewhere. So I assume it's personal preference. Which is too bad for me--as my current piece is WWII!