2016 SDSU Writers’ Conference: Five Questions with Literary Agent Mary C. Moore

Mary C. Moore

Mary C. Moore

If you’re a writer with a dream, get one step closer to being a writer with an agent. Learn how to hone your craft, your pitch, and your query, at the conference with a long history of launching careers.

The SDSU Writers’ Conference was among the first to pioneer 1:1 appointments with agents and editors, giving you unprecedented access to top-tier publishing professionals — many of whom interact with unpublished authors only through conferences.

The 32nd annual conference is Jan. 22-24, 2016 at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley. Register now for three days that could change your writing life.

Meet Literary Agent Mary C. Moore of Kimberley Cameron & Associates at the 2016 conference:

1. What’s the best advice you can give to writers who are currently polishing their pitches and query letters in preparation for the upcoming SDSU Writers’ Conference?
Remember your pitch is not a synopsis, just a teaser to get us interested in reading more. Try to practice it so it rolls off the tongue and you don’t need to read it. It helps stimulate the pitch a lot if you are able to interact with us, rather than read the whole time. Also it gives a bit of time for us to ask some questions and get to know you better in the short window we have. Those are the memorable authors at conferences.

2. Can you share one of the best/worst opening lines from query letters you’ve received?
Best openings are polite and professional that gives us the genre, word count, and title and the reason you are querying us, e.g. “I think you would be interested in my 75k-word YA Fantasy, entitled Snow Queen, because you expressed interest in YA Fantasy on such and such site.”

Worst are the gimmicks, e.g. “HEY LOOK AT ME, I’M CLEVER,” or “I’m not going to follow the standard format because that would be boring,” or “I’m writing this from the personality of my character,” etc. Gimmicky query letters have the opposite effect intended, they give off an unprofessional impression.

3. What’s the first book that spoke to you as a young reader?
I remember my father reading me Peter Pan when I was around 5 years old, and imagining myself reading it because I wanted to more deeply experience the setting and characters.

4. If you had to choose only one, what’s your favorite book?
No way. This is an impossible question. I guess if I want to sound literary savvy, Don Quixote. But also Dealing With Dragons, Deerskin, Dragonflight … I just can’t answer this question briefly. Can’t choose. Won’t do it.

5. What do you hope to find at the 32nd Annual SDSU Writers’ Conference?
A really smart, cultural magical-realism novel by an author who actually is from the culture they are writing about. A humorous romance novel that captures my interest with a stimulating atmosphere/background and gender-bending characters. A really wild and unique fantasy novel that reimagines magic, with lots of weird magical creatures, and a setting I haven’t imagined yet. And finally a space opera, not too serious or dramatic, with lots of fun aliens and action.