Free Resource Guide to Agents and Publishers

Free Resource Guide to Agents and Publishers

Free Resource Guide to Agents and Publishers

Finally. All the Writing and Publishers Answers You’ve Been Looking for, All in one Place. Easy and Free. 

Does publishing ever feel impossible? Confusing? Even secretive? 

Have you ever wished you could get inside the head of an agent or publisher and pick their brain? You could see your manuscript through their eyes, ask them all the questions that have ever kept you up in the middle of the night:

  •  Is my work good enough? What do I need to improve?

  • How do I know when my manuscript is done? 

  • Is my idea marketable? 

  • Is my query okay? 

  • What do I need to do differently?

What if you could get in-depth answers and guidance to all these questions, straight from top agents and publishers?

Becoming an Author would be so much easier. You wouldn’t have to wander around in the dark anymore. You’d finally have direction. You’d know what the next steps are, and make real progress toward your publishing dream with 100% confidence you’re on the right track.

Even a 5-minute conversation with an agent or publisher can change a writer’s life. Unfortunately, most writers don’t have access to this kind of opportunity. Let’s face it, that’s why you go to writing conferences. You’re hoping you can steal just two minutes with an agent to ask them for advice. Even if you could do that, it’s  not going to provide you the type of in-depth guidance you need.

But we do.

At Date With the Muse, we’re connected with some of the top agents, publishers and authors in today’s market. We’re determined to get in their heads and ask them all the burning questions we know you have about how to write, revise, publish and sell a bestselling book like a pro–and to deliver that value to writers eager to be in-the-know.


These are more than a 5 minute Q&A at a conference. We spend more than half an hour in intimate conversation each week with high-level industry experts, so you can get an in-depth look into the elusive world of publishing.

Download our free resource guide to get access to four full hours of interviews with leading publishing industry experts including:

  • Jeff Kleinmann – Literary Agent Founding Partner at Folio Literary Management on what literary agents really think about your manuscript
  • Margaret Riley King – Top Agent at William Morris Endeavor on what goes on inside a literary agent’s head
  • Kel Kade – New York Times Bestselling Author on how to score a major (think 6 figures!) publishing deal

This guide includes twelve 30-minute interviews about writing, revision, publishing, and marketing. So wherever you are, you’ll have the expert insight you need to take the next step towards becoming a published author. 


How to Write and Publish a Book | Author Manny Wolfe (22 min)

  •  How to choose a title for your book
  • How to know where to end your book
  • How to figure out your writing process

How to Fall in Love with Your Writing Again | Lauren Barker (17 min)

o   How to appreciate your own writing again

o   How to finish your novel (for real this time)

o   How to get into the writing momentum

How Can I Find the Time to Write? | Allie Powers (20 min)

o   How to find quality feedback for your work

o   How to meet your word count goals

o   The connection between neuroscience and writing

How to Optimize Digital Marketing for Your Book | Chris West (24 min)

o   How to use digital marketing as an author

o   How to increase your following on social media

o   How to use various digital marketing channels to advertise your writing

How to Land Your Ideal Literary Agent | Jeanne Covert (18 min)

o   How to find the right editor for your manuscript

o   How to get your query letter to the front of the line

o   How to write better marketing materials

How to Land Your Ideal Literary Agent | Jeanne Covert (18 min)

o   How to find the right editor for your manuscript

o   How to get your query letter to the front of the line

o   How to write better marketing materials

What Literary Agents Really Think About Your Manuscript | Jeff Kleinmann (21 min)

o   The most important elements of a query letter

o   What makes an agent pass on a query letter

o   How to know if you’re right for traditional publishing

o   What agents are looking for in a manuscript

What Goes on Inside a Literary Agent’s Head | Margaret Riley King (20 min)

o   How to make your query letter stand out

o   What NOT to do when sending queries to agents at different agencies

o   The day-to-day life of a literary agent


How Our Authors Get to the Front of the Submission Line

How Our Authors Get to the Front of the Submission Line

How Our Authors Get To the Front of the Submission Line

Have you ever wondered if there’s a way to get your query to the front of the line and out of the slush pile?

Let me tell you about how Mary Murry, one of the Writing Gym VIP Writers, got her manuscript past the submission pile altogether–and directly into agents’ hands. 

Mary has been working on perfecting her historical fiction manuscript for years. She finished it in our writing bootcamp and while on our England retreat, and was ready to publish it and live the author dream. 

Like many writers I know, the publishing process felt even more daunting to Mary than writing. After so much success in our bootcamp, she decided to take the next step and enroll in our Publishing Mastermind course. 

Step 1 was to send Annalisa–our resident writing coach and editor–her manuscript. Annalisa read the manuscript multiple times and worked with Mary to perfect her craft–and make sure that it’s in alignment with the current industry standards and trends. 

Step 2 was to sit back, relax, and let Annalisa call agents in our network on Mary’s behalf. Annalisa connected Mary with agents who are particularly interested in Mary’s genre (historical fiction), and that have a track record of publishing our authors. 

And that’s it. In just two steps, Mary had gotten her manuscript to the front of the line and in the hands of the right agents. 

That’s the kind of work we do for our writers, so they have more time to focus on what’s really important: writing and living the author dream. 

Want to learn more? 

The Writing Gym is accepting select writers to join our community of successful, published authors.

If you’re serious about publishing in 2020, let’s chat. Drop yourself into our calendar here to talk to a member of our team and learn more about our program. 

How To Overcome Self Doubt and Get Published

How To Overcome Self Doubt and Get Published

How to Overcome Self Doubt and Get Published

Hey there writers and muse daters. Today I want to talk about an extraordinary Writing Gym member, Lauren.

I met Lauren at a writing conference. She had been working on a novel for years, but kept getting caught up in destructive circles of doubt that prevented her from ever finishing. At times, these negative feelings were so overwhelming, just sitting down at the keyboard felt impossible. 

Weeks would go by where Lauren didn’t touch her writing at all. “I was afraid of my own writing at times,” she told me. “I felt like I was walking down a dark hallway without a flashlight. I had this story that I wanted to tell really, really badly, but I didn’t know how to do it. And I was scared of doing it wrong.”

Like many serious writers, Lauren was determined to overcome this fear so she could pursue her writing career. She tried various DIY solutions; she read what felt like a zillion articles and books on writing, and even tried a different writing program, but nothing seemed to be getting to the core of the problem. All she was getting was conflicting feedback which only left her more confused.

As you can imagine, this only led to more negative emotions, which only inhibited her writing even further.

“I was worrying myself to death, I was really getting in my own way and getting really frustrated.”

Lauren and I touched base a few times in the years after that conference. Every time we did, she would tell me about her latest effort–a writing class, a book on writing, another writing conference. Each time, she hoped she had finally found a solution to her writing problems. Yet months later, on our next call, Lauren was still stuck.

All that changed when Lauren decided to enroll in the Writing Gym. She began working her way through our instructive modules, which armed her with a new arsenal of writing techniques. She met weekly with our personal trainer, Gretchen, who helped Lauren to restructure her mental approach towards writing. I met with her weekly, took a close look at her writing and gave her personalized feedback.

But that wasn’t the only support she got. The weekly salons in the Writing Gym “transformed my writing,” Lauren says. Salon is a weekly writing workshop we hold among our Gym Rats, in which we spend an hour writing together in a supportive, fun, productive environment. Using neuroscientific principles, this activity rewires the brain to overcome the inner critic, and fall into creative flow.

Lauren summarized the value of her experience in the Writing Gym:

“The Writing Gym provides authors with knowledgeable, insider industry information, knowledgeable feedback and a true understanding of how the writing process works so that you can be your best writer.”

This robust combination of encouragement and the means to discover HER best writer was the secret to Lauren’s final breakthrough. She quickly transformed from a reluctant, self-doubting writer to a prolific and confident author.

She told me after just a few months:

“I didn’t realize the Writing Gym was going to so thoroughly revolutionize the way that I write. I don’t want to say that I didn’t love writing already, but the Writing Gym has made it so much more enjoyable to write. I didn’t expect that. I thought that writing is always scary and it’s always going to be scary. I had no idea that the Writing Gym would help me to get really, truly excited about writing again.” 

Lauren’s new attitude and approach to writing brought quick success. With her true creativity unlocked, she began to produce original, inspired work, and publishers took notice. Here are the results she began to see:

  • Lauren had a short story published in an anthology just months after joining the Writing Gym.
  • Lauren won a writing contest and her story is now featured on Alexa device.

Like many writers, Lauren had always had talent and originality, it was just buried under her own limiting beliefs. Tragically, however, most of these writers don’t take the steps Lauren did to shed these beliefs and unlock their greatest writer. Neither themselves, nor the world ever gets to witness their full creative potential.

Lauren says her only regret is not joining the Writing Gym sooner.

“If there was a way for me to tiptoe back in time, to when I met you two years ago, I would show myself the reel of all the needless trouble I put myself through. That’s what it was–two years of pointless turmoil when what I really needed was already right there. I just didn’t realize it. I wish I could condense the two years between then and now.”

If you resonate with Lauren’s story, if you know that you possess deep creative potential, we can help you bring it to the surface. But a word of caution: this is only for serious writers, writers who are tired of solutions that don’t get them where they want to be, and are ready NOW for change. To go through the Writing Gym process, you need to be ready and determined to publish your work.

If that sounds like you, book a call with our team so we can talk about how to unleash your best writer, and help you to reach–finally– your publishing goals.

Until next time. Happy writing.

Build Your Confidence as a Writer and Push that Fear Away

Build Your Confidence as a Writer and Push that Fear Away

Build Your Confidence as a Writer and Push that Fear Away

Hey there writers and muse daters, Annalisa Parent from the Writing Gym coming at you today. It’s an absolutely gorgeous day here in New England. There’s so much beautiful foliage at the end of foliage season. 

I’ve been out here walking with my dog, Mia and I find that walks are really a great time to think through what you’re writing. I was speaking with one of the writers in the Writing Gym this morning and I talked about shower moments or walk moments.

These are the moments when you’re doing something else and you suddenly solve a problem in your novel.

Often in the group, I talk a lot about the work that we’re doing in the Writing Gym and other people’s novels, but today I wanted to share some thoughts about my own novel, as I’ve been working on some revisions.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with knitting (I’m not a huge knitter), but I have tried to make some scarves before and in knitting, if you drop a stitch, then you have to like take the whole thing apart and go through all the rows. It’s a very scary experience because if you pick up the wrong thing or you drop one stitch, then you have to start all over.

That’s really the analogy for me. It feels like I tore my whole novel apart, but the really cool thing about it though, is that there was a time in my early writing life when that would have terrified me. 

It’s the same way that it terrifies me to do the same thing in knitting because I’m truly a beginner when it comes to knitting. But I’m an expert enough in writing now that I can see where all of my rows are, I can see where all of my stitches are, and it’s still a daunting task, but it’s not a scary, overwhelming task.

I share that because you know, there are a lot of writing classes, programs and workshops but as I was thinking about that experience in the work that I do with the really brave writers over in the Writing Gym.

It occurred to me that the fact that we at the Writing Gym are so open about our fears, we say “it’s scary to pull apart your novel,” “this is how I feel about this,” “I’m not sure if I can do this well.” We talk through these fears and give people strategies to work with. Which is amazing. 

Even my friends who are multiple times New York Times bestselling authors, when they’re starting a new book they’ll often say  “I’m terrified. I don’t know what I’m going to write,” “Maybe my editor’s wrong.”

Fear is just part of the process and in the Writing Gym, we’re helping people through those fears, we’re talking about them, we’re giving strategies. 

And I don’t know how much you’ve been paying attention to what’s going on here in the group, and over in the Writing Gym, but I’ve lost count of how many publishing contracts that we’ve gotten this year. It’s at least a dozen for people over in the Writing Gym and that’s exciting, that’s results.

Those results are really important, right, because people come to us and they say “I want to live the author lifestyle, I want to publish books and that’s awesome.” It’s wonderful and I’m super happy for them. I can tell you that those people are more confident than they were when they started. 

They love what they’re doing.

They’ve found joy in their writing again.

The publication is amazing,

But the skills to live the author lifestyle, to have that confidence, to take apart the novel and say,

“You know, this is a little overwhelming,”

“But I know what I’m doing I can see where my rows are.”

“I’m not going to drop any stitches. I know how to do this.”

“I got it.”

That to me, is the more amazing thing about what happens over in the Writing Gym.

So talk to me. What’s writing like for you these days? What are you afraid of, what’s coming up for you? What fears do you have, what would it be like to have that kind of confidence?

Tell me your story, let’s chat.

Until next time, happy writing.

Don’t Waste Any More Time. Finish That Book Today.

Don’t Waste Any More Time. Finish That Book Today.

Don’t Waste Any More Time. Finish That Book Today.

Hey there writers and muse daters. I am super excited to be here today with Steve Cummins, a member of the Writing Gym. 

He has just completed the VIP Program where writers finish their novels, and I’m really excited to share so many of his amazing celebrations with all of you today.

Steve is working on a fantasy novel that is in a medieval setting that is not plot-driven. It’s more character-driven and touches on themes of sexual inequality and racial inequality, which is very relevant today. 

He began his journey with this book when he was 22, and he’s 48 now. He couldn’t sit long enough to write, and the novel sat neglected for a good decade before he picked it up again in his 30s. 

He got halfway through and set it aside for 5 more years. Until he and I started talking.

Steve is obviously very passionate about his novel, but why did it take him so long to finish his novel?

Time and fear. 

He got frustrated with that kind of experience that he was having. Spending hours trying to reacquaint himself with the characters, and trying to remember what the characters were doing in a particular section but then only getting 45 minutes of writing done.

 Setting aside time is hard, folks. You’ve got a lot more free time in your 20s and then you start to make bigger commitments as you move into your late 20s and 30s. And so, by the time we get to a certain age, we’ve got a lot of commitments.

Despite all his commitments, Steve found the time to write—which is a huge celebration. I want to commend him on that. How did he find the time? 

His personal life got so busy, and his friends he’d talked to about this novel were like, ”Please, you’re never going to finish.” And his parents knew that he had dreams of being an author but, they’re probably thinking, “Okay, we’re going to die without seeing that happen.”


So, he just had to do it. In terms of finding the time to write, he just told himself, “I’m going to do mornings all the time,” especially because his brain is clear in the mornings.



What he found was that he’s not getting that hour every morning like he thought he was, so if he only got a half hour this morning, he found 45 minutes in the evening to work on it later when he had time. He gave himself a weekly goal, and if he missed a day then that hour just carried over to the next day. 

What Steve utilized was the power of decision. We are always going to have moments where this and that’s happening. I mean, we’re in a pandemic. It is a unique time.

Something will always be happening like recessions, natural disasters, and other things in life that are beyond our control. Taking that power back for ourselves and making that decision, and standing with that power is really so important.



I asked Steve, “what are some of your experiences in some of the celebrations that you have, things that you were able to see or face that you hadn’t ever thought of before?”

He said that there is a theme with the mindset and it’s both relinquishing control and, thereby, taking control. There are circumstances and your best-laid plans don’t go quite the way you want it to go, because life gets in the way. 

Instead of letting that be what defeats him, he tries to recognize the parts that can’t be controlled and remember that it’s okay. 

“Instead I focus on, how am I going to respond? What am I going to do? I think about it, and then I move on and begin focusing on what I’m going to do in the present.”  

“It’s about getting rid of the resentment for the things that happened outside of my control, and just focusing on what I can control for my next steps.” Such an amazing philosophy.

Through joining the Writing Gym, Steve rediscovered the fun of writing, and also realized that his dream of writing a book was not just some dream he gave up on 15 years ago, but a dream he could actually fulfill.

But what else did Steve get out of the Writing Gym? He got a community and personalized help he needed to fully commit to writing his novel.

Writing is a solitary endeavor, but as an extrovert, Steve had a hard time on his writing journey alone. Through the Writing Gym Facebook page, he was able to see all the different celebrations on the page and feel a sense of camaraderie with his fellow writers.

Steve also had a great time with our Writing Gym coaches, Gretchen and Jill, which allowed him to share his thoughts and ideas to other people and get personalized comments on his writing, while also creating room to build his creativity.

Steve loves the Writing Gym and would recommend joining as a solution to any writers out there who feel stuck. 

Why is the Writing Gym so helpful?


  1. Creates commitment to make the time to write, instead of using the excuse of “I don’t have enough time”
  2. The neuroscience used behind the writing process helps writers remove fear from their writing and embrace creativity
  3. Weekly writing sessions that focus on building creativity, and receiving personalized help on whatever he’s working on.
  4. A sense of community


All these reasons help Writing Gym members speed up the writing process, to get you to publishable fast. 

Steve has really grown so much as a writer during his time in the Writing Gym, and I can’t wait to continue working with him and help realize his dreams of becoming a published author. 

Don’t put your writing dreams on hold. Let’s work together to get to publishable. If you’re interested, let’s chat. I’m happy to help. 

Until next time, happy writing.


How Do You Know if Your Pitch is Any Good?

How Do You Know if Your Pitch is Any Good?

How Do You Know if Your Pitch is Any Good? Get Feedback From a Real Literary Agent 

Hey there writers and muse daters. Annalisa Parent from the Writing Gym coming at you.

So, many of you know that I speak to lots and lots of writers all over the world. And one of the things that writers talk about is not knowing why their novel was rejected. ”Why me? Why did this happen to me?”

The problem is that a lot of the feedback that you get when you hear back from an agent is cookie-cutter. It’s the same letter from every single agent. “Not for me. Thanks, but don’t worry. My opinion is subjective.”

Those are pretty frequently-seen terms that you’ll see in a rejection letter from an agent. So, how do you know which part of your submission is the part that’s not working?

Is it the actual manuscript? Is it your query? Is it your synopsis? Is it something else? Well, there’s no real way to know until now.

What we’ve been doing over in the Writing Gym, since our in-person retreats have been postponed due to the Coronavirus, is we’ve been doing these amazing online experiences and we do a three-day retreat.

We got together on Zoom, and the online experience was as intimate, as fun and amazing as our in-person experiences have been (minus the amazing food that we usually have when we’re at manor houses).


There are opportunities for you to meet with agents in person, and to pitch your idea. Not only could you potentially get representation from her, but more importantly you could get feedback on that pitch.

Imagine getting that kind of personalized feedback from someone who’s an actual literary agent in the field. That’s one of the many perks that we’ve got. 


Well, we’ve got writing salons. We’ve got craft intensives. We’ve gotten New York Times Bestselling Author Kel Kade to speak with us about how she got published, how she got a 6-figure advance, and what it’s like to work with a publishing house.

Writing Gym Members and Writing Gym Alumni are prioritized for registration, and if slots are left, we will open it up to the general public. Be on the lookout for our next retreat! If you’re interested in becoming a Writing Gym member, let’s chat.

In the meanwhile, check out our upcoming events here

But  if you can’t wait any longer and you’re itching to write, enrollment is currently open for salon!

What is salon? Salon is a group writing experience that gives feedback based on neuroscience and designed to optimize your creativity. It is a powerful brain-based experience for writers at all levels in all genres. To sign up for the October 20, 2020 salon, click here.

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