Pub Rants

These Little Town Blues

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STATUS: Turning in for the night.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? THAT’S LIFE by Frank Sinatra

Are melting away…

Can you guess it? Your intrepid blog reporter had to pop to New York City today to take care of some business so I’m here all week. I’ll try and dig up the dirt and serve it up. I’m interested to know what questions you readers would be dying to ask if you could meet with editors.

For my first night in town, I headed over to the Egmont USA launch list party they were hosting at their offices. I figured since I was here and I’m rarely here for NYC parties, I’d stop by to say hello to Regina and company.

So what happens at a Publisher party? Well, you write your name on a name tag. You hold a glass of wine. You nibble some cheese. You chat with the editors and you connect with a bunch of agents you happen to know who are also there. In fact, the number of agents present far outweighed the number of employees at Egmont!

For the agents, I chatted with Holly Root, Barbara Poelle, Dan Lazar, Ginger Clark, Scott Hoffman, Emmanuelle Alspaugh, and Eddie Schneider (just to name a few).

As for yesterday’s post, I might as well ‘fess up. I actually think the author is lovely and the project did go to an agent friend of mine so I’m happy to give it a plug. The author knows I was really torn on that project when I passed. I also knew about 3 weeks later when I kept thinking about it that I was going to regret passing on it. Such is life. Every agent I know has at least one story like this.

The project was SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater.


34 Responses

  1. Lisa Dez said:

    Elizabeth tweeted about the party. Sounds like fun.

    I’ve been asked to make some revisions by an editor PRIOR to her taking my mss to her editorial board. My agent says this imprint is doing that more and more. I’d love to know if this is a common thing at all houses.

  2. Stephanie L. McGee said:

    I tried to find that book in my local store, but they didn’t have it. Sigh. I’ve heard good things about it.

    Glad you enjoyed the party. I’d be interested to get a feel for how angels are faring with agents and editors these days. I know Becca Fitzpatrick had Hush, Hush hit shelves a couple months ago. I’ve got an angel project hanging out on the sidelines but I’m not sure I should bother since I couldn’t get it done in time to hit any sort of angel renaissance.

  3. DebraLSchubert said:

    You passed on Shiver? Ouch!

    And what a fantastic group of agents! One question: Did you simply hold the glass of wine or did you get to drink it, too? 😉

  4. Kristi said:

    I’d love to ask an editor if they feel less inclined to take on a debut author due to the current economic climate – if they happen to address that issue, I’d love to hear their thoughts.

    Enjoy New York – it’s freezing here in Denver and we’re supposed to get snow tonight!

  5. Jade said:

    Double ouch…

    I’d be interested to know if angels are the new vampires or are vampires still the new vampires?

    Actually, I’m just generally interested in YA trends as always, especially since whatever is being bought now won’t be in stores for a couple of years.

    Oh. What about merepeople? That’s my call for the next big trend. Everyone seems to be writing about meremaids and meremen…except me.

    Enjoy NYC!

  6. pattyjansen said:

    If meeting with editors I would ask them if they were enjoying the party and if they had anything planned for Christmas. I guess they’re tired of seeing people asking questions with one aim: how to get their book published. A second question I might ask would be what upcoming projects and publishing directions they were excited about.

  7. Sarah Olutola said:

    Oh I’ve heard about that one. Once my exams are over, I’m going to finally give it a read.

    Also one bright side you might like to consider: at least you didn’t pass on Harry Potter. Yeah.

    Have fun in NY 🙂

  8. Anonymous said:

    “In general, is the number of male readers declining? What trends do you see among male readers over the next three to five years?”

  9. Evangeline Holland said:

    What I would love to ask an editor? In the crunched market, would some measure of success in the e-publishing or self-publishing market tip the scales towards acquiring the author? What is expected of an author today that a newly published writer of one year ago, two years ago, or even five years ago, wouldn’t have had to deal with or worry about?

  10. Anonymous said:

    Agent Kristen,

    You are a quality person whom a truly gifted author would be happy to have on her team. A discriminating mind has to make choices, even those that may hit the pocketbook, hence the ego, unfavorably, once in a while. There is more to life than cause and effect; inexplicably, this choice that you now regret may have set in motion a chain of events, that will ultimately bring you that elusive dream of a project, that will not only make you proud, but very profitable, precisely because you did not add something to your roster that you did not believe in. Remember, the next publishing phenomena may be roaming the internet, broke, talented, and marketable — that person may be looking for representation, spanning the next decade(s). Who do you think that author is going to trust, if not the very person who passed on a project that did not sit quite right?
    Keep following your heart and walk proud. It is a rare soul who can say: “I did it my way.” The right author will come along, just make sure you are truly ready for a bestseller. Become the dream agent your dream project would require, and inspire the author of your dreams, clutching that once in a lifetime manuscript, to find you.

  11. Amber Tidd Murphy said:

    Ohh, nibbling on cheese sounds fantastic. Enjoy your time in NYC!

    I would want to ask an editor how they got their start in the industry, and if it could be a two-part question, I would also love to know what a debut author can do to stand out in a query.

    It would be great to get some tips on avoiding the slushpile!

  12. Anonymous said:

    My question would be what are your instant turn-offs? Any genre or just something that you are so tired of you don’t even want to look at anymore…

  13. MeganRebekah said:

    NYC at Christmas time – I hope you have enough room in your schedule to make it down to Rockefeller Center, or another iconic New York Christmas site!

    (and I realized that I read Janet Reid’s blog way too closely, because when you said you met with Barbara Poelle, all I could think was Slithery Barbara Poelle!)

  14. Laurel said:

    LOL! I loved Shiver! And Maggie Stiefvater’s assorted blogs are fascinating and funny.

    Also, it is terrifying to know that anyone turned it down.

    And bingol: I’ve seen people argue against this, but unless you consider the chick getting to be the hero and save the guy’s life…a couple of times…plus wrestle a werewolf to be antifeminist then you should have no cause for concern.

  15. Anonymous said:

    Is anyone but me weirded out by Anon 3:55’s pep talk?

    Kristin wasn’t complaining about missing out on a book. She was just saying, hey, everybody in this business misses out on something at some point, be it authors, agents, or editors.

    You know, that’s called LIFE.

  16. Leona said:

    I’m with pattyjansen. I’d ask them about Christmas and what they were doing for the holidays, or if they saw the game. I’d ask them something like I’d ask anyone else. the exception would be if I was meeting them at a writer’s conference or other activity I paid to go to as a writer. Then I would ask a gazillion question of anybody who would listen, jot their answers in my trusty notebook and learn away. 😀

    PS wv – cractr = undeveloped character

  17. anonomee said:

    Note to Anon 11:36 and Anon PLJ @6:50 — Kristin doesn’t answer questions on her blog, you’re confusing her with Nathan Bransford. 🙂

  18. Rebecca Knight said:

    Have fun in New York, and enjoy the free wine & cheeses! 🙂

    Hmmmm. My question for an editor would have to be what direction they think e-book pricing and the royalty structure is going to go in the next few years. I’d love to hear their opinions on this change in the industry! 🙂

  19. Natasha Fondren said:

    I actually picked up Shiver after you mentioned it in Tucson. And Rumble on the Bayou and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. 🙂

    All awesome recommendations. You know how to pick ’em!

  20. Anonymous said:

    In terms of a question, I’ve always been interested in the real story behind the story. Even though it always seems the real story is always pessimistic.

    Editors, cutting through all of the fluff and forgetting about what they’re excited about and who they are watching. Bottom line: is what we see actually true? Do editors just pick up new authors who are somehow demonstrating impressive sales and/or have somehow created a dent in the mainstream? That would be prudent business strategy, but No editor will probably want to admit to it.

    But you seem to have a knack for cutting through it all. And that answer could be of incredible value for us new authors.

  21. Voidwalker said:

    Sounds like fun, except for the nibbling on cheese part. I love cheese too much to simply nibble on it… I’d have to eat it much more enthusiastically! 🙂

    As for the Shiver thing. It’s funny, this title has popped up in some way or another with me this week like 3 or 4 times. I am definitely going to have to get it.

  22. Kristin said:

    Ooh. I’m sorry about Shiver. (I loved that book! :D) Although obviously both you and her are doing well. 🙂

    Sounds like a fantastic trip in NYC!

  23. Anonymous said:

    Ask them – are mid-list authors dead in the water? What do you expect from mid-list to say yes to future projects?

    Have fun in NY!!!

  24. Allison Brennan said:

    My daughter loved LAMENT and just finished BALLAD. (Also loved it.) She wasn’t interested in the werewolf story, but I might have to get it for her for Christmas, though she keeps telling me she has too many books.

    Enjoy NYC. I go once a year and always miss it!

  25. Jean Reidy said:

    Hi Kristin,
    Thanks for always being so generous with the information you glean from your NYC trips. And thanks for sharing about SHIVER. Maggie is such a hard-working author and great person in general, I understand your regrets. But goodness, you certainly have your own goldmine of shimmering – if not SHIVERing – clients.

    Hey, on another note. Do you think if we held some kind of Denver author/agent party, editors and publishers would travel west? Ha. I didn’t think so. Good thing I love NYC.

    All the best.

  26. Maggie Stiefvater said:

    *grin* I have to weigh in here because I completely think Kristin did the right thing (especially since she was looking at a 50 page unfinished manuscript at the time and didn’t know where I would go with it) — especially now, passion for a project is so, so important, and if you aren’t 100% behind a novel that you’re trying to sell . . . well, you aren’t doing anyone any favors, least of all the author. Kristin was amazing – debated for a long time and let me know what she was thinking, and then she passed because she said it wasn’t fair to me to take me on not loving what she saw. I thanked her, and I meant it (and got four other agent offers). I ended up going with the one most passionate about it, and I’ve never regretted it.

    A lot of agents would’ve just said “yeah, I can sell this to somebody” and signed me, not being totally in love.

    Thank you again, Kristin, because your honesty definitely made my career what it is! 😀

  27. Jade said:

    I’m really interested by what Maggie said about querying you with a 50 page unfinished ms. I thought that was a big no-no but is it like most things in publishing and there are exceptions?
    Don’t worry, I’m not trying to find an angle so I can do it too, but I’m just interested.

  28. Maggie Stiefvater said:

    Hey Jade — I’m going to jump in and explain my partial query. I would’ve never queried with a partial if I was unpublished. But when I queried Kristin with that 50 pages of SHIVER, I had a contract for my debut, LAMENT, and my publisher had just asked if I would be willing to do a sequel to LAMENT. I didn’t have a single word written on the sequel. So, really, I was querying agents saying: “I really want an agent for this sequel deal, and also, I have this one that I’m working on that happens to be about werewolves and kissing. Want to see pages of that one since I don’t have any of the sequel to LAMENT?”

    Anyway, I would never, never query with a partial before being published with another book — not only did I get some agents even at my stage that wouldn’t even look at SHIVER or consider repping me (“query me again when it’s done!”) but it’s also not your best foot forward if you are an unpublished author seeking rep. Even if by some miracle your fantastico prose hooked an agent, you’d have gotten a lot more choices in agents if you’d queried with a full.

    (Kristin, I hope you don’t mind me clarifying).

  29. Jade said:

    Thanks for that Maggie. I assumed that it had something to do with being published already.
    I appreciate the clarifcation. I find the process that people went through to get an agent/published way too interesting!