Thursday, May 29, 2008


For those looking for a writers conference coming up this summer, you should check out the Backspace Writers Conference, which will take place in the heart of the publishing biz world -- New York City -- and will boast many prominent speakers and panelists, including my wonderful editor at St. Martin's, Hilary Rubin Teeman.

Here's some more info:

The 2008 Backspace Writers Conference (August 7 & 8, Radisson Martinique, New York City) brings together literary agents, acquisitions editors, best-selling authors, and publishing professionals for a two-day, two-track program of workshops, panels, and networking in the heart of the publishing world.

In addition to keynote talks by Mark Tavani, a senior editor at Random House, and New York Times bestselling author Lee Child, program highlights include a conversation with Simon Lipskar and Mark Tavani on agents and editors working together, a marketing discussion by M.J. Rose, a workshop from independent editor Jerry Gross on finding and working with a reputable book doctor, a role-playing workshop from Jeff Kleinman: “Buy This Book!”, agent and editor panel discussions, and panels on the young adult market, short stories, memoir, nonfiction, crime fiction, erotica, children’s picture books, and more.

Attendance is limited to 200. $355 for Backspace members; $395 for non-members. In addition, Mystery Writers of America is offering their members a special discount. Register Now and come meet the people who can make a difference in your career!

Literary Agents: Richard Curtis, Simon Lipskar, Jeff Kleinman, Emmanuelle Alspaugh, Paige Wheeler, Laney Katz Becker, Jenny Bent, Maya Rock, Michael Bourret, Scott Hoffman, Ronnie Gramazio, Elisabeth Weed, Stephany Evans

Authors: M.J. Rose, Harry Hunsicker, Jason Pinter, Jackie Kessler, Heather Brewer, Gail Konop Baker, Laurel Corona, Lisa McMann, Jenny Gardiner, Danielle Younge-Ullman, Claudia Gray, Marlys Pearson, Jessica Keener, Elizabeth Letts, A.S. King, Robin Slick, Susan Henderson, Pam Jenoff, Trish Ryan, Leora Skolkin-Smith, Caroline Leavitt, Reed Farrel Coleman, Chris Grabenstein, William Powers

Editors and Other Publishing Professionals: Hilary Rubin Teeman (editor, St. Martin's), Charis Conn (contributing editor, Harper's Magazine), Kristen Weber (senior editor, New American Library), Bella Stander, Jerry Gross, Lauren Cerand, Eileen Winnick

"Backspace is relatively new but it's the real deal - which is amply proved both by the quality of discourse within and the truly amazing hit-rate its members have already achieved."Lee Child, New York Times best-selling author

"I love being associated with you guys. Such a class act. Backspace is the pre-eminent writers organization because you guys have made it so. Always innovating, thinking outside the box, and just generally doing conferences bigger and better than they have been done before. I'm just honored to have been there from the start." – Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary Agency

"I mention Backspace whenever I teach my writers' workshop around the country. The yearly Backspace conference is an invaluable resource. I've taught there and can’t say enough good things about the information, encouragement, and enthusiasm they provide." – David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author

From Attendees:

"I have never had such an excellent time at a conference! The presenters were uniformly accessible and pleasant. The overall mood was also excellent."

"The workshop was so well organized and run. Bravo to all of you who worked to pull together a truly remarkable event, well worth the price of admission!"

"The superlatives just flow whenever I try to describe my experience at the conference. I can't say enough or thank you enough. Superb. As I keep telling folks, it's impossible to convey what I took away from the experience, because the most valuable things are the intangibles."

"It was the best writing conference I've ever attended on all dimensions - the amount of new information, real contact with other writers and people in the industry, and the level of truth-telling made it stand out."

"I thought the conference was absolutely fantastic. The informal atmosphere and seriousness of intent combined into an exciting, very useful, very enjoyable weekend of talks and panels. I learned so much, met so many wonderful people, and got a far stronger handle on how to market my work. Many, many thanks."

Monday, May 19, 2008


I’m a sucker for books and movies about Hollywood. In fact, I just watched Robert Altman’s “The Player” over the weekend for the third time, one of the best Hollywood satires ever made. So it’s great to have Maggie Marr as my guest today as part of the Girlfriend’s Cyber Circuit blog lit tour. She is the author of the new novel, SECRETS OF THE HOLLYWOOD GIRLS CLUB, the sequel to her successful HOLLYWOOD GIRLS CLUB.

Maggie is well qualified to write about the world of entertainment. She is a writer and producer for Six Mile Ridge Productions and Dahooma Productions. She began her Hollywood career as a motion picture literary agent at ICM Talent Agency in Los Angeles, where she represented writers, directors, and actors. Maggie worked with Owen Wilson, Cameron Diaz, Ashton Kutcher, and Reese Witherspoon, and was involved in big-name projects including The Rule of Four, He's Just Not That Into You, Charlie's Angels, Austin Powers, Meet The Parents, Wedding Crashers, and Something's Gotta Give. Prior to becoming an agent, Maggie was an attorney, having received her JD from Loyola University in Chicago. She recently completed the television pilot Daughters, and is currently developing a pilot with Mandeville Productions as well as producing two films for Dahooma that begin lensing this year.



“Marr’s prose is fast and sharp and she keeps the plots flying”—Publishers Weekly

“Frothy, gossipy fun”—Booklist

Here is an interview with Maggie. I have to say I agree with her wise advice for those who are are trying to get their novel published. She’s also got a great “elevator pitch” for SECRETS OF THE HOLLYWOOD GIRLS CLUB.

What was the inspiration behind the writing of Secrets of The Hollywood Girls Club?

Probably my life. I was a literary agent for ICM before writing full time. And I am still a film producer and screenplay writer. So I’ve gotten to witness so many fun and …uhm…interesting things in Entertainment.

What is one thing you’ve learned about the publishing industry since getting your first book deal?

How much work an author had to do to get the word out about their books! Wow, I love what I write and I want everyone to read the books, but it’s a ton of work to tell people about the books…

What is the elevator pitch for Secrets of The Hollywood Girls Club?

meets Sex And The City.

What is your writing schedule like?

The ideal day is this; get up at 6 am eat breakfast with the family and be in the den at my computer by 7:30 am. I write until noonish. The girls come home and we eat lunch together. Then I put them down for nap and write again from 2 to 4. I might read in the evening, or work on a screenplay, but manuscript writing, pretty much never happens for me after 4 pm.

What is your advice for those who looking to get their novel published?

I blogged about this recently and I have a really Zen approach to getting your first book published. I truly believe that when the manuscript is ready, the agent and publisher will appear. Not that they’ll hop out of your Diet Coke can and offer to represent or publish your novel. Buuuut…if you work and work and write and rewrite and really make the prose shine, then you will find an agent and a publisher. So read a ton, write a ton and persevere. Don’t ever give up.

Good luck with the book, Maggie, and thanks for stopping by.