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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Do You Know Wonderful?

Art found in DeviantArt
Today, I wanted to sing the praises of the uber-awesome Georgia McBride and her fabulous YALitChat.  Have you joined yet?  Because if you haven't, you don't know wonderful!

YALitChat was the most significant starting-point for me on my writer's journey.  Sure, I joined SCBWI and attended conferences.  There, I got good advice and met some folks.  But it was expensive. And I've only kept in touch with one of my contacts.

That's not the case with YALitChat! The group originally started as a Wednesday night twitter chat (#yalitchat) and has grown into its own forum.  Of course, the chats still happen on Wednesday nights (9 pm EST) and you can always count on agents, editors and published authors to drop in an answer questions about the weekly topic.  If you haven't taken advantage of this learning opportunity, you're missing out.

But more than just chats, the forum is simply amazing.  There are a ton of different groups you can join where you get almost instantaneous support from other authors.  It's like having a built-in critique group.  For example, all members can join the First Pages Group (which I'm partial to, since I moderate it).  There, you can post the first five pages of your WIP and get unbiased feedback from multiple points of view on those critical introductory pages.

Once you're ready for Tier II membership (at the low annual cost of $30), you have access to MANY more groups.  Synopsis Repair Shop, Query Kick Around, Agent Insider, Crit Seekers, Craft Masters, and Expert Resources, just to name a few.

And one of the coolest benefits known to man is a group called Agent Mailbox.  Get this -- you post your polished query and first 250 words, and Georgia personally passes on her recommended picks to the agents who've agreed to participate.  So far, there are 10 - yes, TEN -- agents who trust Georgia's judgment enough to give her recommendations preferntial treatment (including Michelle Wolfson, Mark McVeigh, Diedre Knight, Natalie Fisher and lauren MacLeod).  When I submitted Destined, I got partial requests from three agents (only five participated at the time), one of whom still remembers me and has invited me to resubmit to her again.  I'd say you can't buy that can kind of privilege, but you can...

I don't get anything from plugging YALitChat.  None of the $30 membership fees flow to me.  In fact, it's a non-profit organization and the dues go back into maintaining the site and doing other cool things... like offering scholarships to writing workshops for Tier II members.  Really, the purpose of this post is to let everyone know how totally, amazingly COOL this place is.  I know of no other forum that offers so much for so little.

So what are you waiting for?  Check it out & join now.  You won't be sorry!