An Agent Speaks About Her Literary Agency

Wed, October 4th, 2017

 The Tampa Writer’s Alliance generously hosted….

An Agent Speaks About Her Literary Agency… Four Speakers … Three Subjects

            Although the name was a bit misleading, it was a very informative event presented to a packed house. As advertised, Sharon Belcastro did speak about her agency, the Belcastro Agency based in Tampa, FL, but that was just a small (well 25%) part of the very helpful free event.

            Additionally, Dianna Lund, a TWA (Tampa Writer’s Alliance) member and avid conference attendee shared her passion for writing conferences and retreats while providing valuable tips for those considering attendance.

            And two members of TWA, Cassie Newell and Janelle Gabay who have successfully self published spoke at length about the journey from writing to selling. Hoping we might all learn from their mistakes and successes, they identified several pitfalls to avoid and numerous resources for success.

            While Ms Belcastro did not offer any specific advice on finding an agent, other than the importance of a well written query sent to an agency focusing on your specific genre, she did identify the types of manuscripts her agency is currently representing, a well as their wish list for submissions. BelCastro

            Some valuable suggestions for writers conference attendees included making sure your manuscript is complete, or nearly, before attending. Since the conferences are usually expensive, especially those not local to you, requiring the added expense for travel and lodging, you would achieve the highest payback if the work you submit is past second edits. Other suggestions included bringing business cards to hand out to agents containing your city and state, not your full address and your email address, and think twice before including your phone number. Dianna Lund

            One additional suggestion shared by Ms. Lund was that one can (or a group can) create their own writer’s conference. She suggested that if six or more aspiring writers pooled the cost the would have spent on an out-of-town conference, including transportation and hotel, it might be cost effective to hire a writer or college professor to give their seminar privately.

            And for those entering the world of self-publishing, a list of businesses to assist you, from cover design to formatting to marketing was provided. It was stressed that the list was just a sampling and there were dozens of companies waiting to help you with every facet of the process. Research, research, research, but the bottom line, SELF-PUBLISHING DOES NOT EQUAL DOING EVERYTHING YOURSELF! You can farm out as much or as little of the work as you desire.


            A heartfelt thank you to all four speakers, as well as the TWA (no, not the airline J) and of course, Barnes and Nobel for use of the community room.

4 thoughts on “An Agent Speaks About Her Literary Agency

  • I reacted (badly) to the last comment about not doing everything yourself. While you covered it with the ‘farm out’ notation, the implication that you pay through the nose for what you don’t do yourself was missing. Good job, though. Good write up and good thought about hosting our own conference. I’m in.

  • Thank you, Mike. Informative!

  • I did a little internet surfing on Belcastro. The most telling is the AUTHOR PAGES associated with the agency. Only one male author and that one is co-written with a woman! That’s not a diagnosis, but a sign. Second, almost all are romance genre. Again, no big deal. I would love to go just to get the perspective.
    Here’s another clue: The line quoted here
    [The Belcastro Agency represents women’s fiction and all romance genres. We work hand in hand with our authors to develop lasting careers through website, social media, and promotional assistance.]

    is from the PUBLILSHERS MARKETPLACE website

  • http://Amarilys.R

    Very informative!

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