Write Magazine - January 2020

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What’s Inside 14 SOUL SPELL Life Cycle in the Winter Tale By Michelle Olarte

The Year By Ella Wheeler Wilcox

18 FEATURE STORY Why New Year Is the Best Time to Start Writing By Michael Rey M. Cortes

30 FEATURED INTERVIEW An Interesting Interview with Literary Agent Malaga Baldi As interviewed by Krysmae Casano

10 WRITER’S PICK New Year Traditions That Could Be a Plot Twist

24 SHORT STORY A Genie and a Wish By Chiveer Megalbio

38 BOOK REVIEW Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God Mark Batterson


New Year Traditions That Could be a Plot Twist


Why New Year Is the Best Time to Start Writing


An Interesting Interview with Literary Agent Malaga Baldi


A Genie and a Wish

By Bethel Cataquez


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Editor’s Note

Transition Why You Should Be Receptive to Change

Let’s take Blockbuster as an example. This video rental business was the rage way back in the 2000s, earning as much as $6 billion dollars in revenue back in 2004. However, it fell into bankruptcy in 2010. Their bankruptcy was attributed to their stubborn reliance on


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their “successful” business model, changing competitive landscape, and failure to grasp the timing for change. We are living in an age where social and industrial changes are combining with technological innovation to create a highly volatile environment and where it is difficult - if not impossible - to keep doing things the way we used to. While “change” may bring unspeakable fear, there are positive effects of embracing it wholeheartedly. Leaving your sanctuary behind - that safe yet predictable haven allows you to challenge your assumptions, mindset, opinions, and beliefs. By questioning old ideas, you can reinforce and articulate who you are, why you live your life as you do, and what you believe. You get to find out more about who you are by welcoming change. With every transition,

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hange is extremely challenging. To “change” means to break away from the habits, traditions, or lifestyle that one is wired to do, regardless if those things are right or not. Most people are unable to accept new ways for fear of the unknown that would come once they change, or the possibility that they would never be able to experience the comfort they currently enjoy once they take a step outside of their haven. It is common to be resistant to change and be unable to leave the status quo because “change” comes with risks - and these risks aren’t cheap. Some can afford the risks; most cannot.

you challenge yourself to determine the things that you can handle and the things you can’t. You get to push your boundaries and learn your limitations. It lets you figure out exactly what you are made of since change tests your mettle over and over. No matter what misgivings you have about change, accept it. Change allows you to become more flexible and adaptive to any unfamiliar and uncomfortable situations that arise in your day-to-day life. Being able to handle uncomfortable situations by being adaptable and flexible is a positive aspect that will allow you to grow. The constructive meaning of change is what allows Write Magazine to reach a whole new height this turn of the year. This 2020, we will challenge ourselves to step out of our oasis and carve a niche that is solely for writers and literary creatives. No matter how difficult it may seem like, we hope to inspire writers to pursue what they like, innovate the way they write to pique the readers’ interest, and influence people as they should. Write Magazine offers this issue to celebrate not only the New Year but also a new venture that we hope would become the future home of writers on the international stage.


CEO OF WRITE MAGAZINE Rhonyl John Francis Alicante EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Krysmae Casano DEPUTY EDITOR Donald Onde ASSOCIATE EDITOR Michelle Olarte ART DIRECTOR Lirey Blanco DESIGNER Steve Terrence Sapilan WEB DEVELOPER John Rey Tepacio MARKETING ASSOCIATE Sarah Jane Ponce PUBLICIST Joseph Intong CONTRIBUTOR Chiveer Megalbio Bethel Cataquez Michael Rey M. Cortes

Krysmae Casano Editor-in-Chief

SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE Subscription inquiries can be made at writemagazine.co or call: 1 (844) 819 3389 Email: info@writemagazine.co



Writer’s Pick

New Year Traditions That Could Be a Plot Twist P

lot twists are definitely something every story needs. As vital parts of any story, they are must-haves to keep your readers on their toes and interested from start to finish - whether it be for suspense, drama, action or any genre. Everyone loves a surprise or even a little shock once in a while most especially if it is done well. Plus, plot twists can come in a variety of ways and in multitudes of different settings. A story would be so boring if it weren’t for these parts which sometimes can come off as cliché but hey, they never go out of style in making good pieces of literature.

and even in your short stories, you can use at least one plot twist. For those of you that do not know what a plot twist is, it is an unexpected turn of events that leaves a surprise or a shock for your audience, it can also be foreshadowed in previous events.

Many stories have different settings and can play out in many different ways depending on how you want to write it

If you want to make a good plot twist you need to first establish some background and depth to your story. Secondly, since

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It sometimes can be used to help move the story plot forward or it can be used to reveal something in the story to tie up some loose ends. It can also be used to change the direction of the story, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a big change.

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Tex t by Be the l Ca t a q ue z

Talca broke into a graveyard to see in the New Year with a deceased relative

Peruvian village, people see out the year with a good old-fashioned fistfight to settle their differences and to make things even then they wipe the slate clean for the New Year.



Writer’s Pick

plot twists are meant to be totally under the radar and should catch your readers off guard, try to make it the details as subtle as possible. Foreshadowing is also one of the things that can be used in making plot twists but be sure not to give all the details away, or else the twist won’t come off as a twist anymore. Try your best to make sure that you keep all the details as hidden and as undetected as possible until you really have to make the big reveal.

P ho to by T he Illus trated Lo ndo n News

You can also use them to change a character’s fortune, typically from good to bad, it may be sad but it makes for a relatable impact to your readers. It can also go the other way around but take note to be careful because we do not want to have an unrealistic ending or something like a “deus ex machina” which is a way to solve the conflicts in the plot by means of an outside character or element that hasn’t appeared in the story and has nothing to do with its internal logic.

Hogmanay, “first-footing”

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Your creativity is the only limit to your writing capability since every story is an opportunity for a plot twist. In line with the holidays, here are some reallife plot twists that made itself into New Year traditions. There are some bizarre and strange New Year’s traditions with a bit of imagination that maybe you can turn to some grade-A plot twists.

One that seems so strange is Scotland’s New Year’s Eve celebration of Hogmanay, “firstfooting” is practiced across the country. The first person who crosses a threshold of a home in the New Year should carry a gift for luck. Scots also hold bonfire ceremonies where people parade while swinging giant fireballs on poles, supposedly symbols of the sun, to purify the coming year. Another is that in Chile, which is a recent tradition that started when a family from Talca broke into a graveyard to see in the New Year with a deceased relative and now the mayor of the town opens the graveyard for other people to do the same. This one is something that really came of as a shock, in one Peruvian village, people see out the year with a good old-fashioned fistfight to settle their differences and to make things even then they wipe the slate clean for the New Year. Plot twists are made to shatter the things that your readers or audience thinks they know or have already figured out in the story by revealing something your readers wouldn’t imagine and catching them off guard. You can literally use any scenario for a plot twist, what matters is the preparation and the little hints here and there you add before the big reveal. They can leave your readers dumbfounded, satisfied or even disappointed. WM




Soul Spell

Life Cycle in the Winter Tale By Michelle Olarte

As the dense night falls on white vale Frost and fire awakens the Winter tale But beneath the swift wind of a bitter arctic breath Comes the epilogue of life, the genesis of death The shortest day comes and the year dies Suspended in time, life lies in a blanket of ice But by a mist of rain the last of snow runs dry And off that seasonal joy, December sky bids goodbye So much of frozen trees that passed the flowing time So much of winter leaves that fall off from the pine But beneath the surface of dormancy is an integral survival, A period of suspending animation for a life of revival If winter comes, spring isn’t always far behind When older leaves are shed, new ones are find See, what we often call an end is a beginning And to make a beginning is to make an ending

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The Year By Ella Wheeler Wilcox

What can be said in New Year rhymes, That’s not been said a thousand times? The new years come, the old years go, We know we dream, we dream we know. We rise up laughing with the light, We lie down weeping with the night. We hug the world until it stings, We curse it then and sigh for wings. We live, we love, we woo, we wed, We wreathe our brides, we sheet our dead. We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear, And that’s the burden of the year.




Fighting for G Call me an old fashioned conservative American with conservative beliefs and values. I am not ashamed to say that my family history goes back centuries to emigrants from western Europe. Family always was a good example of hard work and strong beliefs. Yes, I am a believer and my experiences in life leave me no other choice but to believe. Married to a wonderful woman for 32 years, until she passed, was certainly one of the highlights of my life. My life’s passion has been the business world. Though I started in life as a teacher of math and the sciences my passion was always business. I rose through the ranks in the high-tech distribution world to become a president of a Fortune 500 company. The reason I wrote the book was I thought people could beneďŹ t from of my life experiences and I

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God’s Promises wanted my family to know and have a document recording of some crazy things I experienced in life to grow my faith. Family history was always precious to me and I cherished any words from previous generations. My favorite is a 4 times great mother story about being married on horseback in 1803 on the Tennessee/Kentucky border. I’m not talking business experiences but life experiences that many times centered around the super natural. Events like a hitchhiking angel I picked up one day on a business trip. We talked 45 minutes before he disappeared or the 3 times I have been spared from death supernaturally. This is a book of true life experiences.




Feature Story

Why New Year Is the Best Time to Start Writing Tex t by Mi cha e l Rey Co r te s

A common struggle among writers is finding the best time to write. Some writers find themselves staring at a blank piece of paper for hours, while some pile up crumpled drafts. Creatives can’t compose a showpiece in a single sitting. It takes ample time to find the perfect lyrics of a song or think of scenes down to the most intricate details. Like other artists, writers have their

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own schemes to condition themselves into writing; New Year is one perfect time. What could better describe the new year than a fresh start and a smooth transition to a whole new chapter? As the calendar flips to another year, it’s about time for writers to empty their minds to provide space for new ideas. This is the best time to start one’s literary journey or continue what was started. New Year is a time when most people’s motivation is at its highest peak owing to their New Year’s Resolution commitments. In a world full of distractions, we often miss opportunities as we get sidetracked by

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here is a special pleasure in writing that only writers know. Writing short stories, novels, poems and other kinds of literary works is every writer’s way to encapsulate the vastness of their ideas into a great masterpiece.




Feature Story

unhealthy practices. It’s time to lose twenty pounds or write a book; tick-off everything in your bucket list. Just don’t add to your list until you’ve finished everything on it. Unlike news reporters who hustle to beat their deadlines, novelists or literary writers usually write at their most convenient time. But most often than not, this results in procrastination; piling up unfinished drafts. This could be the best time to break off that year-long planning of writing a book and finally be able to scribble down “The End.”

Get Started The year is still long; it is best to take advantage of it. Get that pen working, and start writing on a prologue or the first chapter. Finishing a single page in a day or two is already good enough to get you going.

It would also be good to start the year by reading a book. You can’t just always write “what you know”, you also need to research to expand your knowledge. Pontification is not always the best option. The new year could also be the time to get out of your comfort zone. Maybe it’s time you switch to another genre. If you’re a novelist, try writing a memoir. You may be comfortable in writing a specific genre, but sometimes it could cause what you create to

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stagnate; unless you splash it with novelty. Break through boundaries and exceed your creative limits. Quit stalling and get writing! Set your phone aside and disconnect from the world for a while. Just write. Thinking about writing or talking about it is just simple; the scariest and hardest thing for a writer to do is to actually write. Resolutions aren’t what make a year new. Change your mindset and think of resolving it rather than setting it as a goal. Don’t wait for another year to pass, start writing now! WM

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Whether your experience from the previous year is unpleasant or good, it’s worth your inspiration. Some writers have a hard time finding inspiration for their stories. Regardless of how professional or renowned a writer is, there will always be a time that they feel uninspired. Reminisce significant memories from the past year and infuse it in a scene of a story.




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This is a keepsake coloring book, story and health education (age 3+); it gives simple explanation of the body, organs and food to eat for health; also, instill a curiosity about the body as a valuable asset and value as a human ass being. This is an nteractive Coloring book. A venue for Parents, family members and friends, to interact with their future generations; teaching and learning, while having fun, is value added. “Nurturing relationships is extremely needed in our busy society and coloring is a fun way to learn.�



Short Story

A Genie and A Wish By Chiveer Megalbio


ne lovely, sunny day. Best friends, Lizzy and Millie, agree that a lap of the ocean and sand play can be the perfect way to spend the rest of the day after getting bored of reading books in the cottage. The beach is just a walk away. They grab their plastic pail and pack some sandwiches for the day out. Of course, with Lizzy’s dog, Wobble. This beagle loves the sights, sounds and smells of the ocean so much it could not hide its excitement. Her moltenbrown eyes say it all. Lizzy’s parents and Millie’s Mom allow them to wander off on their own as long as they stay out of the

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deeper part of the water. They had been into the beach on their own many times last summer. There are some sparrows chirping away in the trees as they headed up to the sandy-blown street to the ocean. The fluffy clumps of clouds are slowly fainting into thin air exposing the clear, blue skies. A lovely day, indeed. Soon, the girls reach the white sandy beach which stretches along the horizon; it is a minefield of different, beautiful seashells. “Woof, woof!” When at the beach, Wobble loves to bark and has a lot to say. She is a

clear communicator. And this time, she is seriously pinning for some surf time. “Wanna swim, do you?” says Lizzy. “She wants a moment in the sun, Lizzy,” Millie agrees. “There you go, doggo.” Lizzy unties Wobble’s leash and leaves it sitting on the sand. “A wet dog is a happy dog, they say,” Lizzy thought.

It is getting close to sunset now. “Wobble!” Lizzy yells. A sopping wet, mischievous little dog face turns in their direction with something glistening in her mouth. Wobble’s wet nose nudges Lizzy’s hand after she let go of a shiny beautiful shell in the sand. It looks exactly the same with what Lizzy’s mother used as a horn when she once made a little cloth unicorn ornament, but bigger. When she was younger, Lizzy actually was convinced these shells came from real tiny unicorns. “Look, Millie! It’s so beautiful,” Lizzy said.

The smell of the salty sea tingles Lizzy’s nose as she breathes the ocean air. Going to the beach is a much better idea after all. The feel of the sand squishing slowly through her toes as she gaily walks down the shoreline is refreshing. There aren’t too many people walking along that part of the beach, and this is why they like it there so much. They can enjoy the place like they own it.

“It’s magical, Lizzy.” Millie agrees as she examines the beauty. “It looks like it’s a house of a giant snail, Tamatoa perhaps— you know, that snail in Moanna,” she continues.

“C’mon Lizzy, let’s swim.” Millie calls as she reaches into the water to gently lift and admire a starfish that wanders by, then, carefully returns it to the water. Lizzy joins her, and both watch the wiggly little starfish scampers away. They have so much fun diving in and out of the water, playing with the little waves which roll in to splash them with pearl colored seafoam, and building sandcastles. They laughed and played for hours. They promised to be home before dark, and judging by the sky, that isn’t too far away now. They don’t go to the beach without picking shells. Lizzy picks up one. Then picks up another. And so does Millie. Soon, their pail is filled with shells and Millie is even cradling a pile in her t-shirt.



Short Story

“Don’t be silly, Millie, Tamatoa is a crab who happens to be shiny but this one’s for real,” “Whatever, this is just perfect for our science project.” Millie takes the shell from Lizzy and brushes the sand off to check the inside. And as she does so, the shell glows and rumbles, and puffs a smoke! Out pops a magical creature!

This is how she acts out when afraid. But Lizzy and Millie are more surprised than scared. The creature has slim, metal band affixed into each ear but does not look scary at all. His teeth are white which means he has a good hygiene. He is quite fat and looks like a soft marshmallow. And he is nothing like Aladdin’s genie, he’s pink. “More like Patrick [Spongebob Squarepants],” Millie thought.

“Hola! I am the great and powerful Genie of the Sea! You have freed me from my sleep! I shall grant you one wish. The only wish I cannot grant is the wish for infinite wishes,” he says.

“Ahemm. I must grant you your wish now, masters, so I can return to my humble dwelling,” says the genie with a fruity voice that is deep and strong in a pleasant way.

And as he looks around him, noticing his surroundings for the first time, he looks surprised. “Woof! Woof!” Wobble barks loudly.

“You said you’re a genie, right?” Millie inquires, still pleasantly surprised. “I am the great and powerful Genie of the Sea. And you are?” “Oh, I am Millie, Mister Genie, and this is my friend, Lizzy.” “Hi Mister Genie, it’s nice to meet you,” says Lizzy. Wobble came closer now wagging her tail. She wants to be introduced. “This is Wobble.” “Now, your wish!” the genie demands. “I have been in the solitary confinement in my shell for thousands of years. I am not immune to this new environment. I am at the highest risk at getting sick if I stay longer in an open space,” he explains. A handkerchief magically appears from nowhere. The genie takes it and blows his nose. “May I get your wish now? “Alright, I wish for mini faux leather backpack, please. I’ve been wanting it since last summer but Mom said we can’t afford it yet,” says Millie as she closes her eyes and waits for the surprise. “That’s brilliant!” the genie replies. “But you need to both agree what to wish. I only offer

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one wish of which you need to share.” “But I don’t want a backpack, Millie!” Lizzy exclaims. “So, what is it, then? “Millie asks.

“I made Mister Genie come out, Lizzy,” says Millie. “You did but Wobble found it. And Wobble is my pet!” Lizzy responds.

“A phone! Sandra brought hers to school. It’s so cool. We can play games and even send messages. Books are getting boring. We can just like keep it from Mom and Dad and your Mom. Let’s wish for two. One for you and one for me,” Lizzy suggests.

Millie rolls her eyes, crosses her arms, and turns to face forward with her lip poking out.

“That sounds fair,” Millie agrees.

“It’s okay. I ain’t got a friend now,” Lizzy replies and crosses her arms too.

“It does sound fair, but not for me,” the genie interrupts. “I could only grant you one wish, girls. One wish, one phone.” He waves his index finger like nagging granny. “Why are you so different? Normal genies give three wishes,” Millie complains. “Careful Millie, you might hurt his feelings and will not grant us the wish,” Lizzy whispers. “Don’t worry young lady, genies don’t get hurt,” the genie replies. “Achooo! But we do get sick. Now, the wish!” It is almost dark but the deal’s not done yet. A ticket to a football game, a safari adventure, a mermaid tail blanket…and the list goes on. The negotiation has gotten more complicated. And the disagreement is warming up. “I can’t believe you, Lizzy,” says Millie now visibly upset. “I thought we are friends for life. You have your Mom and Dad to buy you just anything.” “I am your friend, Millie. You are just being selfish. That’s what it is,” Lizzy replies. “How pathetic.”

“Give up now, Lizzy, if you don’t want me to hate you,” she says.

“Achooo! You see, I am not in the mood for this. Achooo!” The poor genie’s nose is getting redder, and his voice sounds like his sinuses are kicking up already. “Your wish, now. Please.” Lizzy and Millie look at each other and send quiet flows of understanding back and forth between them. They too are already tired of arguing. They have been each other’s truest and closest friend as far as each of them can remember. And nothing can ever break their friendship. Not even a wish. They smile at each other and hold hands. They turn to the genie who is now getting chilly. “I wish you get well, Mister Genie,” Lizzy says. “Me too,” Millie happily agrees. “Woof! Woof!” even Wobble couldn’t agree more. The great and powerful genie with terrible sinus problems smiles and says nasally, “I must grant your wish now.” WM



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17 Tips for Writers Wanting to Get Published Interview with Literary Agent Malaga Baldi A s i nte r v i ewe d by K r ys m ae Ca sa no

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A historical and political book aiming to revolutionize the government, Embarassingly Blind teaches black Americans how to make informed voting decisions.





Literary agents are critical teammates for writers who want to go the traditional route when it comes to publishing. Write Magazine knows the importance of this key person, so we reached out to one of the best independent literary agents in the industry Malaga Baldi.

writer or editor, yet I can find contacts. I want to be a literary agent when I grow up. After a series of jobs at other agencies, I struck out on my own in 1986.

What qualities do you think a literary agent should have? The qualities you want in any advocate: persistence, empathy, and idealism balanced with realism.

As a literary agent, what does your day look like? Sometimes there is one major challenge to focus on for most of the day. For example: negotiating a deal.

Baldi has been an independent literary agent since 1986. She specializes in cultural history, memoir, and literary fiction. We are very fortunate to be given the chance to interview her, so here’s a sneak peek on her life as a literary agent: We’d like to know more about you and your life as a literary agent:

How did you become a literary agent? In 1974, I took a year off from college as I was in the process of coming out as a lesbian. I went to NYC and worked as a mother’s helper for literary agent Lois Wallace. Wallace had just left William Morris to start her own agency. One afternoon, Eric Segal, author of LOVE STORY visited. As he was leaving, his hard contact lens popped out. On our knees, Lois, Eric and I lightly tapped our fingertips on the vestibule floor. I found it. A light bulb went off in my head. I love books. I’m not a talented

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There may be multiple issues to prioritize: delayed payments, a negative editorial review, negotiating aspects of a contract in the final stages, or delayed deliveries. On a good day, I have time to read new submissions, and on a great day, I read a submission that knocks me off my feet.

What are the common publishing houses you’ve done deals with? Harper Collins is on top at the moment. Others I have worked with recently include: the Lyons Press, Counterpoint, St. Martins, Beacon, 7 Stories, Kensington, Knopf, FSG, Norton, the New Press, the Feminist Press. University presses include: Fordham, Mississippi, Nebraska, California, Ohio, Chicago, Wisconsin.

Can you name a few authors you represent? Are you doing a wholerepresentation for them or just book-by-book? Like most literary agents, I represent authors for all of their books for as long as we both agree to work together.

The following authors have been recently published or have books under contract: William Mann, Patty Dann, Tom Santopietro, Blanche Boyd, Robert Marshall, Kate Bornstein, David J. Skal, Barbara Carrellas, Robin Hemley, Colin Hester, Mary Cappello, Joe Strike, Cynthia Barrett, Thomas Kepler, and Judy Gold.

Some authors, because of being disillusioned from the repeated rejections from agents, often opt to self-publish their books. It doesn’t help that self-publishing nowadays is way too easy, especially if you have money. Despite all of these, in your opinion, why should writers still hire an agent? An agent works on a commission. An agent has to believe in the value of the book. A traditional publishing house has systems in place to selectively choose books, evaluate for quality and for commercial viability. It is rare for a self-published book to have

a publishing house’s level of expertise available for editing, copy editing, legal consultation, graphic arts, distribution, and promotion. The sales in self-published books rarely pay for the expense of organizing all of these on one’s own.

What’s the easiest book (genre) to represent? How about the hardest? The easiest and most likely to sell are nonfiction. Literary fiction and collections of essays or stories are hard to sell. The time it takes to submit some works before they find a well deserved good home is daunting.

What do you usually expect from your signed writers? Great writing, patience, humor, and trust.

What do you think your writers should expect from you? Advocacy, honesty, communication, and full dedication to their work.




Is it difficult to pitch a book to editors now compared to how it was back in the late 80s or early 90s? There’s been a lot of editorial turnovers, which is natural. In the 1980s, the pitch was delivered in the form of a boxed manuscript and a phone call. Now the telephone call is often viewed as inefficient, and email is the channel of advocacy and introduction. Happily, we still get to have some personal touches, with a phone call or lunch here and there to reconnect or meet an editor anew. Getting to know editors helps an agent focus the submissions to their taste. We’d like to help aspiring writers get to know the secrets on getting signed:

What should an author send you for you to consider them as your client? That’s an easy one. Great writing I can’t resist. Review the agent’s website to make sure they are interested in your type of work. I receive plenty of material from writers of fantasy fiction, children’s books, poetry, Westerns and romance that proves this step was skipped. Always carefully read over how the agent wants to consider the work.

What do you prefer to see in a covering/query letter? A great query letter often asks questions that will be answered by reading the manuscript. Three paragraphs describing a book I never imagined, that makes me want to find out

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what happens... and I wish I had the guts to write. Every query letter should include your name, address and contact information.

What are the most common mistakes writers make when submitting a query letter? Poor grammar and typos are turn-offs.

What’s the ideal synopsis for you? None. I don’t find synopses helpful.

In your opinion, is it okay to send a manuscript to multiple literary agents? Yes, it is okay to send queries describing your manuscript to multiple agents. Some agents want an exclusive read. If the manuscript/ proposal is requested by several agents after reviewing your query letter, always state your submission is a simultaneous submission, unless it isn’t!

Are you editorially hands-on when working with your authors? Some agents also help with editing, but I’m mostly hands off. I work to find editors who have the time, interest and skill that I do not for this part of the publishing process.

What does the process of an agent submitting to publishers/ editors look like? After a careful reading or two, I review my plan with the author. The strategies vary. Most non-







fiction is presented as a partial manuscript or proposal. (See www.baldibooks for details on formats). Fiction and memoir submissions are usually submitted as the entire manuscript. I draw from the author’s description of the book for my pitch letter. We consider editors first. Some editors are working in a narrow area, and others are more adventurous and creative in their choices. The publishing house choice is another consideration. A sense of the market and vision is what we seek in an ideal publisher. This is where a good agent can make a difference. We know the editors and the publishing houses better than most writers would, and can help the author make the best decision.

How long does it usually take for a book to get published? Typically around nine months after contractual acceptance. Occasionally, a book related to current events can be pushed out more quickly, and often a work that needs a lot of editorial work or legal permissions could take longer, even several years. Much depends on what books are positioned ahead of yours.

Do you stay away from representing selfpublished books? If yes, why? Usually, I stay away, as it’s just not fresh. It’s likely that it didn’t sell well, and most editors will thus not have an interest.

Will a traditional publisher pick up a book if it sells well after being selfpublished? Very rarely. The numbers sold have to be huge.

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What’s your opinion on the idea that most authors choose to self-publish their books because it allows them to earn more royalties compared to traditionally published books? Go for it! It’s uncommon for self-published authors to make much money, but there’s no harm in trying if you choose. You would miss the expertise of a traditional publishing house, but at least your book will be out there. Keep your day job.

What is your advice to aspiring writers, especially to those who are still looking forward to having their book published? Try not to linger on rejections, even writers who are successful have had more rejections in their lives than acceptances. Consider joining a writers group for feedback and support. Read a lot. Practice resilience. Tell the truth. WM



Book Review

Whisper How to Hear the Voice of God Mark Batterson 38 JA N / F E B 2 0 2 0 | Wr i t e M a g a z i n e


od spoke with Adam in the garden of Eden. He told Noah to build an ark and spoke to Moses through a burning bush. God spoke to His people in ancient times and in mysterious ways, but is He still speaking to them now? If He does, what does He have to say to them? Many find it difficult to believe that the voice that spoke the cosmos into existence, still longs to speak to his people above the noise of their everyday busy lives. But New York Times bestselling author, Mark Batterson, who made his debut in Christian publishing with In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day and followed that up with several other titles, including The Circle Maker, believes that God still speaks to His people today. He believes that God often speaks in a whisper which is not to make it difficult for them to hear Him, but to draw them close.

The claims of this book will surely raise many eyebrows. Others might say he is wildly exaggerating his expertise. However, Batterson’s literary reputation which is based on his experiences as the lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C., a church regarded as one of the most innovative and influential in the country, hkas helped him create a powerful amount of credibility for his claims. Thus, for Christian readers, it would be impossible for them to walk away from reading the book empty handed. Packed full of practical steps and godly wisdom, this book helps believers no matter where they’ are at in their walk with the Lord to be more sensitive to God’s voice in this accelerating world. WM

With a pastor’s heart and a poet’s tongue, Mark Batterson has communicated the significance of his personal stories and biblical convictions in a way other people can understand and get inspiration from in Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God. In this book, the author continues to challenge believers to pursue the highest and best calling God has for them by providing clear and practical thoughts for them to consider. He also recommends that they decipher the seven languages of love by which God can speak to them through studying the scripture, paying attention to desires, watching for open doors, understanding dreams, studying people, being sensitive to prompting of the Holy Spirit, and recognizing the redemptive value of pain. “If you want to hear the heart of God, silence is the key. If you want the Spirit of God to fill you, be still,” he writes.




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