2016 SDSU Writers’ Conference: Five Questions with Literary Agent Megan Close

Megan Close

Megan Close

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agents and editors, giving you unprecedented access to top-tier publishing professionals — many of whom interact with unpublished authors only through conferences.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 Megan Close of Keller Media 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 2016 SDSU Writers’ Conference?
Know that you are marketing yourself as well as your book. If you are pitching a nonfiction book, wow agents with your platform and expertise in your subject matter. If it’s a fiction book, make sure your query and first pages really showcase both what to expect from the story but also what to expect from you as a writer. No need to go over the top, but it is important to make your style come alive.  Do lots of research on books in your genre – what works about them? What doesn’t? Use those observations to make your book stand out from the pack.

2. Can you share one of the best/worst opening lines from query letters you’ve received?
I have received query letters addressed to someone else which always make me laugh but also make me far less interested to keep reading. I’ll just say that one of the biggest issues I see is writers who “bury the lead” – they hide the good stuff (platform, storyline, strengths of the book) at the end of the letter (or even fail to mention them!).

3. What’s the first book that spoke to you as a young reader?
The first ones that come to mind are Poinsettia & Her Family by Felicia Bond and Sir Francis Drake & His Daring Crew by Roy Gerard. As I got into more advanced books, the Nancy Drew and Baby-Sitters Club series became major obsessions!

4. If you had to choose only one, what’s your favorite book?
I can’t choose one, I’m sorry! I’ll say the fiction book that affected me the most was either The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy or The Big Nowhere by James Ellroy. The nonfiction books that have affected me most are ones by Joan Didion – The White Album and The Year of Magical Thinking.

5. What do you hope to find at the 32nd Annual SDSU Writers’ Conference?
I hope to find talented writers who are offering something new and exciting and/or fresh takes on pre-existing subject matter. I primarily represent nonfiction and would be thrilled to find new clients with great books on relationships, dating, parenting, entrepreneurship, popular culture, science, personal finance, and pop psychology.