Pub Rants

Q&A continued

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STATUS: You don’t even want to know how many eggnog chais I’ve had this week.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? CAN’T WRAP THIS by MTV video

Richard Curtis says the unmentionable. Where would publishers be if agents split off electronic rights away from the print rights sold to publishers? Amazon did just fly out a bunch of agents to corporate headquarters and no one there is talking on or off the record about that discussion. Now before you get too excited, the likelihood of this possibility for a debut or midlist author is slim—for now. But I know Richard is preaching to my choir…

And even though it’s not Friday, this video cracked me up so much I had to share it ASAP. Enjoy.

And now back to some Q&A so I can get my nose back to the grindstone.

Peggy Asked:
What do you think of sites like from Harper Collins (where authors can upload chapters of their books in hopes of getting discovered)? Do would-be authors take any risks uploading to a site like this? Do you think their books are any more/less likely to get a traditional publishing contract if sections of their works have been posted on a site like this? I know how you feel about vanity publishers, but I’d like to get an agent’s take on forums/sharing spaces like Authonomy or even Deviant Art and other such websites.

I personally don’t have a problem with writers participating in Authonomy (sorry don’t know much about Deviant Art so can’t really comment on that at the moment) but in general, I do think a manuscript that’s good enough to get attention through Authonomy will probably be good enough to get notice from agents.

Authonomy looks a little different from the Penguin sponsored contest via Amazon Breakthrough Novel where the winner of that contest is pretty much stuck with the boilerplate Penguin contract (which trust me, is not in a writer’s favor). It looks like at Authonomy, writers can still negotiate if HarperCollins shows interest and maybe even get an agent on board for that discussion. I don’t see a downside. I wouldn’t post my entire work there but chapters are fine.

It’s actually kind of smart. HarperCollins is using the general readership to read through the slush pile and vote for the works that are worth their looking at as, according to the site, the editors look at the most popular entries.

Anonymous asked:
Hi! My question is this: Do you see spies being a popular trend in YA? Also, should we quit on the vampire stuff for awhile and write more classic fantasy? Which do you think would sell better at the moment?
I’m the agent for the very popular New York Times bestselling Gallagher Girl series. I’m thinking I might have a biased opinion on whether I think spies are a popular trend in YA. Grin.

As for your other questions about whether to quit on the vampire stuff and write classic fantasy, I really can’t answer that without having looked at your work. Perhaps you are a stronger writer in classic fantasy than in urban fantasy. If that’s the case, you have your answer. However, if your vampire take is wholly original, then it can probably still work. As to what will sell better at the moment is wholly dependent on how good the manuscript is.

Anonymous asked:
My question is: can we send our queries to you before the 18th or should we wait until the New Year? Since you guys are in a crunch, I don’t know if that’ll affect how you read the queries…like if you’re rushing to get everything done, would you be a bit more impatient while reading a query sent to you in the next few days? Just wanna know…
We are reading all queries up to 5 pm on Friday. Dec. 18. After that, all incoming queries will get the auto-reply that we are closed until Jan. 4, 2010.

I find that if you really want a certain agent to rep you, this time of year is not the time to be querying (although I know a lot of writers have great stories about landing their agent during this holiday time).

For me, I just need the break. I really do. We are always behind in terms of reading and replying to queries. We live constantly with the thought that there is more work then we can really keep up with. It makes such a difference to believe that we are caught up for 3 weeks—even if it’s an illusion. I know some agents are still reading (Nathan mentioned he would be as he’s afraid to lose out on something good) but I don’t care if I miss out on something great. This is for my mental health and renewal. Smile.

If I were you, I would wait until Jan. 4 and then send away. We’ll be rejuvenated and excited to get back into the game. January is probably THE best time to query us.

Dreamstate asked:
What to do about those dreaded “Didn’t love it enough” rejections? Should the writer response be persistence, querying with the belief that someone will love it enough. Or after 3 or 4 such responses, should the writer be looking at revising, albeit in the absence of any guidance from said rejections? I would be so grateful for any words of wisdom from you!
Only 3 or 4 responses! Surely you jest. I wouldn’t worry until you’ve gotten at least 20 rejections on your sample pages. When you’ve hit that, then you might want to think about revising, working with your critique group, making it stronger, and following any feedback you might be receiving. Once that is done, go out full bore with it again. If you are still getting 20 to 30 “didn’t love it enough,” then you might revise again or keep trying. I wouldn’t be giving up on those sample pages until you have 200+ rejections.

Anonymous asked:
My question is, since you and Sara both have the same email address to send queries to, should I address my query to both of you? Or just pick one? (both of you rep what I write, YA)

You can address to both us of or if you think it would work specifically better to one of us versus the other, then you can address directly. Hope that helps!

21 Responses

  1. Anonymous said:

    I really like your Q&A posts. They cover a broad range of questions that seem to be on many writers mind and it’s nice for someone to break it down for us and say it like it is so we know what to go on.

  2. Marie Lu said:

    I was drinking water out of a glass when I turned on the video, and I think I snorted some water up my nose. Very bad idea!

  3. NellyNero said:

    Eek! Am I too late to beg the answer to a question, Kristin? I paid to receive a critique from a well-respected editorial consultancy, and their report has been very complimentary. They scout for agencies and have offered to send it to some on my behalf, once I iron out a few issues with the MS. The downside is that if I secure a publishing contract they take 10% of the advance.

    Should I let them see if they can find an agent for me, or should I just take confidence from their offer that it’s good enough to find one without their help? When I factor in 15% to an agent and 25-40% to the tax man, their 10% seems an awful lot. Old versions of this MS have been rejected by 3 agents (although one did work with me extensively, but she then left the agency)… I know 3 agents might not sound like a lot, but I’m in the UK and worried I might run out of agents to try- there aren’t as many here as in the US! Do you think I ought to go it alone and risk not finding an agent at all?

    Thanks so much for reading my panicky waffle! I’ll completely understand if you haven’t time to answer.

    Merry Christmas!

  4. Voidwalker said:

    I also was concerned about the vampire writing thing. I’ve been working on my novel off and on for a few years now, which has a whole new take on the concept of vampire origins, but I’ve been worried that the vamp craze is going to kill my chances of success. I’m worried I’m just a little too late for the vamp-waggon. Your answer to that anonymous question gave me a bit of hope. Thanks!

  5. Gilbert J. Avila said:

    Meghan Daum’s Op-Ed piece in the 12/17/09 ish of the Los Angeles Times has an article on the folding of Kirkus Reviews. Laments the fact that now we’ll have READER’S reviews of books to go on. (Shudder)

  6. Laer Carroll said:

    The day I read the first page of TWILIGHT I had skimmed blurbs and first pages of literally three dozen vamp books in romance, F&SF, and YA. All those books left me cold: “just another vamp story” was my reaction. But Bella’s voice and situation sucked me into the book. After five minutes standing and a half-hour sitting I decided I HAD to have the (expensive hard back) book. And I had not even reached the vampires yet.

    As Kristin said: “if your vampire take is wholly original, then it can probably still work. As to what will sell better at the moment [this] is wholly dependent on how good the manuscript is.”

  7. Madeleine said:

    I have to ask a question (or two)…

    What would be the top two worst times for querying? I know that there tends to be an overload around Christmas time, but what about the end of the summer?

    How does the beginning of the summer sound?

  8. Constance B. said:

    Of all your posts, this may be one of my very favorites–which is saying a lot, because I adore this blog.

    I do have a question, though. How do you know when you can reasonably resend a query to an agent that you’ve already queried? Or, should you not resend said queries unless an agent asks for you to after some rewriting? Or is resending queries a no-no?
    …Alright, so it was more like a three-part question, but this issue has had me wondering for a while. I’ll be waiting not-quite-breathlessy for a possible answer…! 😉

    Have a wonderful Christmas!


  9. C.K. Matthews said:

    Sent a partial for Billy’s Balloons earlier this week. Hope Sara takes her time and doesn’t hold it against me.

    At least I’m out of the bitter Colorado weather. Hawaii is so nice.

  10. Kaitlyne said:

    I’ve got a question myself, if you don’t mind. Ages ago (eight or nine years?) when I was in college, I entered a contest as part of a creative writing assignment. The contest was run by the National Writers Association, and everything seemed on the up-and-up. My professors had no problem with it. Well, I won said contest and received a free trip to Denver for a conference.

    Recently I was reading about including contests as a writing credit. As this is about the only one I have, I had planned to include it, but the advice said to only do so if a contest was 100% legit.

    I decided to check online and make sure. The thing is, I can’t find anything about the group. They have a very poorly maintained website, most of which appears not to have been updated in years. The contest link pages don’t work, and I can’t even find information about conferences they were putting on, or whether or not they still give out scholarships. The really weird thing is that I have found nothing whatsoever about them online. Nothing in Predators and Editors or any of the sort. Google even comes up short.

    What I can’t figure out is whether or not this was a once legitimate organization that is now defunct, or if it was always a shady one and it would be a really bad idea to include it. I actually did receive my prize, and as mentioned before my professors also saw nothing wrong with it at the time I entered.

    I was just thinking that because you live in Denver, certainly you would have heard of this group if they were legit (or maybe even if they weren’t). Any advice on what to do?

  11. Christine H said:

    I have a question that makes me feel really stupid, because I think I should know this, but I don’t.

    I see mentions on various blogs that “referrals” are a good way to find an agent. What does that mean, exactly? Does that mean that you get someone to refer YOU to the agent, meaning that your friend Susie is represented by him/her, and you ask Susie to tell Agent “Hey, look at my buddy Christine’s work, it’s really good.”

    Or, does that mean that you get someone to refer the AGENT to you, as in friend Susie saying, “Hey, Agent is really great for [insert genre.] I think you should query him/her.”

    Or, does it mean something else entirely?

  12. Jolene G. said:

    I enjoy your blogs and your Q & As have been super informative; thanks for the great information!

    I’m going to be lucky enough to be at the Rocky Mtn. SCBWI agent event in January and am excited to meet you there.

    Have a wonderful break and thanks for the sharing the video–I loved it! 🙂

  13. nkrell said:

    Thank you so much for this post! It was great advice and exactly what I needed to hear. Have a wonderful break! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays etc., etc.

  14. Sara said:

    I have a question… Earlier this year I submitted queries to ten agents. Five of those agents sent requests for partials, and four of THOSE agents sent requests for the full.

    I was not feeling confident about my full and felt I needed to make a few revisions to the manuscript before forking it over. (I realize I should’ve done this before ever querying – I’ve given myself five hundred lashes, I promise) I ended up taking a horribly long time to complete the revisions. A HORRIBLY, HORRIBLY long time. I’m embarrassed to tell you how long. I rewrote and rewrote and rewrote. And then changed a lot of it back.

    I didn’t contact the agents back in the meantime – I guess I was hoping to slip under their radar – hoping they were so busy that they wouldn’t notice my late, late, late submission. And then I got pregnant, and my house caught on fire, and blah blah blah blah excuse blah blah.

    So now, many months later, my manuscript is ready (I think).

    Should I still send it to those agents? Should I just bite the bullet and tell the truth? If you were one of those agents, would you be angry and automatically toss my full manuscript in the circular file for having wasted your time initially?

  15. Madeleine said:

    I know I already asked a question, but I was reading Nathan Bransford’s blog, and I thought of something I had to ask you.

    In your opinion, when should you tell an agent “X”?

    If you have no idea what I’m talking about, Nathan has a post titled “When Should I Tell an Agent X?” I’d give you a link if I could.