I may be a professor, but I am forever a student. I am intrigued with the world around me, and love to learn about different facets of it. Whether it’s through books, taking courses to further my education, attending seminars and conferences, or learning by doing, I take great pleasure in the notion that we can always further our minds and our journeys through education.
Perhaps I was missing the rigorous coursework at NU, but last week, as I am nearing readiness with regard to soliciting agents for my novel, I attended my first-ever online webinar hosted by Writer’s Digest and instructed by Sara Megibow of the The Nelson Agency. I am so glad I took the plunge into the world of webinars and can thank my online MFA program for helping me feel comfortable with distance learning of sorts. Sara energetically and thoroughly presented her tips on writing standout query letters, offering suggestions and, as she called them, “deal breakers,” when it comes to getting the attention of an agent through these letters. There’s an art and craft to writing queries, and I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to hear these tips first-hand from a literary agent in today’s market. I will not shy away from informative learning sessions like these in the future—they are wonderful and convenient. Sara was in Colorado and I was in Maryland, listening to her live, via my iMac, as she artfully discussed her thoughts and illustrated her key points. (By the way, I am taking heed to all of them and am working diligently on crafting that stellar query.)
Additionally, with the help of my ever-helpful department chair, Chip Rouse, and one of my former dynamo PR students, Bill Ritson, who is social-media savvy beyond words, I learned how to do what I am doing right now—blogging. I’d never blogged before, and dove right into it with their guidance. I continue to read up on social media daily, and anyone who wants to learn more about it as well may want to check out two of my favorite sites: AdAge.com and Ragan.com; there are always tons of articles about social media and its constant evolution in each issue. I’m now fascinated with online platforms and marketing, especially as technology changes daily. Needless to say, the exchange of information among educators, friends, colleagues, students, and helpful websites has been most constructive. It’s amazing what I’ve learned over the course of the last few months.
So, here’s a toast to learning, to expanding our minds, to the ability to share information, and to social media and blogs. It’s great fun participating and watching it as it continues to unfold and develop.
Oh, and one more thing: here’s to attempting to write a stunningly solid query letter.