Pub Rants


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STATUS: I’m finally caught up. I don’t know what to do with myself.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? MARGARITAVILLE by Jimmy Buffet

I’m having performance anxiety. How can I possibly follow the last two wonderful blog entries?

I need to make a video or something. Speaking of, if you couldn’t get enough of the cover design for BLAMELESS, Orbit Art Director Lauren Panepinto gives an interview here. There is even a glimpse of an earlier version of the cover for SOULLESS. I find that just fascinating and thought my blog readers might think so as well.

Alex, Orbit Publicist, emailed to say that the link was all over twitter including a tweet from Guy Kawasaki. Yes, that Guy from Apple. I think my clients might be too cool for me… Grin.

Let’s hope some of these folks will buy the book….

Also getting amazing feedback from Simone’s book trailer for RULES OF ATTRACTION. I’m hoping that is tweetalicious as well. (Hey, maybe I can get a new word into Urban Dictionary.) It’s gotten a thumbs-up from my 16-year old niece and as all of you might not know, she rules the universe.

If it looks like I’m stalling in writing this entry, you’d be right. I’m floundering around for a good topic today. I haven’t got anything new to relay in terms of contracts and electronic book royalties. For one of my contracts in play, we may be reaching a record on how long it’s taken for a publisher to come to terms with us on language regarding this issue. We are at 6 months. Oi! I so feel for my client. Luckily she realizes how important all this is and so is being really terrific and patient about it. But yuck, 6 months and we’ve been pushing. It’s not like I’m sleeping on the job here….

I’m also getting ready for the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. I’ll be flying out next Thursday to Italy. I’ll be giving you the scoop from the floor while there. So in the meantime, maybe it’s time for a few questions. We did this in December and it was fun. I thought maybe I’d entertain some every couple of months so let’s see if you have some good ones for me.

Please no questions easily answered via our website or have been discussed ad nauseam on this blog.

44 Responses

  1. worstwriterever said:

    1)If you had to choose a different career than literary agent, what would you choose?

    For example, if I had to choose a different career than unpublished author, my choice would be….you see where I’m going here.

    2)I tweeted your post(s) yesterday because they rocked. If you’re not on Twitter, how come?

    Just curious 🙂

  2. MeganRebekah said:

    I don’t know if this outside your power/knowledge, but I’m wondering why Perfect Chemisty isn’t available on Kindle?

    In this case did the publisher decide not to go ebook? Or was that decision made on different level? Any insight onto the reasoning?

    (I mention Perfect Chemistry because it’s one of those books that I love to re-read over and over again, and I wish I could download a copy to my kindle to carry around with me. But the question could apply to any book)

  3. kimysworld said:

    Compared to the first three months of last year, have you received more or less query letters in the first three months of 2010? What are the most common genres? What do you rarely see?

  4. Cheryl said:

    Staying with the cover art theme, could you explain the process. I assume the editor gives the art department direction and the writer’s input is slim to nil (unless your name is Stephen King and your publisher contracts an independent illustrator to do your cover art).

    And have you ever had to battle a publisher on your client’s behalf because the cover art was just all wrong or looked like it had been slopped together?

  5. Anonymous said:

    If a writer has gained success in one genre (over twenty novels that have made money, helped build a large fan base, and five contracts for five more books) and he/she wants to switch genres after the contractual obligations have been met because he/she always wanted to write mainstream, is this writer starting from scratch again?

    But more than that, would this writer be taking a huge chance by walking away from a good thing and trying to pursue another?

  6. Anonymous said:

    How much of your time do you spend reading query letters versus time spent blogging? I’m just wondering because there are several agents who blog every day and I often wonder where they find the time.

  7. Anonymous said:

    How do you know if or when to resend something to an agent? Are you only supposed to resend a query when they ask you, or can you even when they don’t, if you’ve made extensive revisions?

    Just wondering…

    Love the blog!


  8. Alli said:

    Would you consider a published if they work as a writer (non-fiction or fiction) for a book packager? And how would you view that if the writer is seeking representation for their own manuscript?

  9. Alli said:

    Oh, boy, I should triple check before I press send. Here’s the real question:
    Would you consider SOMEONE published if they have worked as a writer for a book packager?
    So sorry about my weird sentence in the previous comment.

  10. Kristi said:

    I don’t have a question but wanted to say how impressive it is that you’re ‘caught up.’ I’ll be happy if I can say that one day about the laundry let alone my writing goals. 🙂

  11. Shelley Watters said:

    1. I love the new cover of Soulless. The earlier version just doesn’t draw me in or set the mood for the story like the new cover does.

    2. As far as re-querying an agent – if a writer queries and agent for a story and is rejected, how long should they wait before submitting a new project (not the rejected one but an entirely new project) to that agent? It seems that agents differ on their answers to this question.

    3. I understand that a writer/agent relationship is not simply for one book, but hopefully for the entire career of the writer. I write across genres (from children’s picture books to young adult novels to adult novels). I have been submitting my picture books to agents that specialize in picture books. If I manage to get an agent for the picture books but they do not represent YA novels, does that mean I have to start the querying process all over again?

    Thanks for the opportunity to ask these questions. I am addicted to your blog. You give such great information, and it’s obvious that you really care about your authors!

  12. therese said:

    Is there a specific market for YA nonfiction?

    I personally have a memoir (250 pgs) that I would love to target for High School Family Studies.
    It’s sort of like “Tuesday’s with Morrie” & “The Last Lecture” but as if written by Erma Bombeck -and no one dies until 46 years later – and it chronicles a happy family life after the traumatic event that shaped them… and no one did drugs, or got too depressed or… but boy is there conflict and drama. 🙂

    Yes, I’ll be working with an author friend on straightening out what this memoir is all about but she stated she could totally see her preteen daughter reading it.

  13. Anonymous said:

    I’m curious to know how you would handle an author who writes mainstream romance novels and multicultural romance novels under separate pseudonyms.

  14. Heidi Wessman Kneale said:

    We all know it’s a hooky voice that gets an agent/editor’s attention, but it’s a satisfactory story that cinches the deal.

    Say you get pitched by a hopeful writer who has a great voice, but their story plot fizzles. “Not interested in this story, but would like to see other works,” you might way.

    So they send you another pitch, and then another pitch, and then another pitch, but you must turn them down because the stories are dull, lacklustre and very flat.

    At what point would you say, “You’ve got a great voice, but you can’t write a satisfactory story arc?” Or would you not say that at all, hoping that some day they will write a cracking good tale?

  15. Clare said:

    In Hollywood, the time of year a movie is released typically speaks volumes of a studio’s expectations of success, keeping tentpole movies in the May – July bracket and the less ambitious projects in January – March. Is the same true for publishing? Does the month/season a book is released say anything about how the publisher expects a book to perform? And are certain genres more commonly released during certain parts of the year?

  16. Kimber An said:

    The author of SOULLESS is sooo lucky. Seems every author gets at least one crappy cover, except Lisa Shearin. She’s four for four now, isn’t she? I looove good cover art. I have a very visual imagination and it always snags me. Can hardly draw a stick person myself.

  17. Anonymous said:

    1) Who do you decide “gets” a project if you and Sara both want it? If someone queried “Kristin” or “Sara” and got back a partial request “from Kristin and Sara” does that mean you’ll both consider it and whoever likes it best might take it on? Or does that mean only the one it’s addressed to will consider it?

    2) You are known for sending out a book until it sells, whereas some agents only send to ten or twelve and they are done. But do you have a list of favorite editors who you contact first no matter what?

  18. Anonymous said:

    You seem to have a lot going on in the YA market. But as a romance writer, I wondered how many romance writers did you sign last year? And are you looking for more?

  19. Katrina said:

    What are your biggest pet peeves for queries, and do you have a list of things you saw in past queries that rocked your socks off?

  20. Mechelle Fogelsong said:

    Nathan Bransford recently asked us which author’s career we’d like to mimic. I chose Jane Yolen, because her career has longevity.

    So my question is simple: what’s the key to becoming an author with longevity? To stay afloat for the long-haul?

  21. Eika said:

    Going for the long shot here, but I haven’t started querying yet and I’m still feeling optimistic.

    What is the exact etiquette if you’re offered representation and someone else has the full? To the agent on the phone with, what do you say? And to the person with the full, do you phone them? E-mail?

  22. Lance C. said:

    Two questions:
    – How do you advise your clients to promote their books on Amazon (and soon, iBooks), beyond the obligatory link on their blogs? Do you encourage writer pages or other built-in site tools? Does anything really work?
    – Have any of your clients been particularly successful engaging Borders/B&N with author events or in-store publicity? We hear about all the effort authors expend to have readings/events in independent bookstores, but those are thin on the ground and most people in America buy their books from the major chains.

  23. Vanessa Condez said:

    Hi again Kristin,
    portuguese living in Ireland, writing in english.

    I think I just discovered you’re answer to my question in an older post of yours:

    “So basically what I’m saying is that I’m good to go with any foreign author clients from Australia, Ireland, and Canada so query away.

    If you are a non-US citizen and resident of somewhere else, it’s back to Cara and a whole new memo…and no, that wouldn’t keep me from taking you on but I’d have to especially love your manuscript to take on the trouble. “

    So let me rephrase it:
    I was born in Portugal, I live and do my taxes in Ireland. All European Union as you know. Would that, alone, be a problem for an agent like you?

    Thanks again,

  24. Chris Scena said:

    If a work crosses genres equally (in my case Urban Fantasy and Thriller) and an agent doesn’t represent one of the genres, should I still try to pursue said agent? I understand it depends, but in your case you state you do not represent thrillers (or someone like Janet Reid doesn’t represent Fantasy) so I am trying to see if I will be wasting anyone’s time. Thank you.

  25. Anonymous said:

    I have an unusual, very recognizable name and a shy personality. I would like to use a pseudonym if I was ever lucky enough to be published. What is the protocol? Would I submit a query with Real Name writing as Made Up Name or is that something that would be discussed only if the agent asks to represent my work? I know my real name would be needed for payment and tax reasons – that’s not a problem. I just don’t want to mess up the process (and my chances). *grin* Or should I just stick with First Initial, Middle Initial, Last Name?

  26. Samantha Clark said:

    Hey Kristin,

    Thanks for the opportunity for questions. I don’t have one right now, but I have awarded your blog the One Lovely Blog award today for all the great info you give us writers. Thanks for everything.

  27. niti_newtfinger said:

    If an author who has been writing in one genre (say YA paranormals) comes to you with some ideas for an adult chick lit novel, what would you advise the author to do? I don’t know if it would be a good idea to use a pseudonym or not, or even if it’s advisable to start writing in another genre without firmly establishing yourself in the industry.

    Also, could you post a picture of Chutney? We haven’t seen your dog in a while!

  28. Anonymous said:

    I have a writer friend who has been represented by an agent for several years, during which time the author has written several book. All of the books were shopped to publishers, yet the writer remains unpublished. Is this common?

  29. Anonymous said:

    Kaya @Anon 2:43 — Kristin considers any and all writers who write in English, including those who are living in an Asian country — most agents in the US do.

    Of course, you’d want to see what type of books she specifically represents, to see if that’s what you’ve written. You can do that by going to her home page and poking around. Also, using is a great way to research agents. Good luck.

  30. Gypsy said:

    I was wondering about the synopsis. I have been struggling with mine and so far have managed to prune it down to four pages yet I know it’s still way to much but I also feel that to make any smaller I am losing several elements that might make my story special. Do you have any tips on writing synopsis? Are there any examples I can find somewhere that might give me an idea on how anyone can actually cut their book down to two pages?

  31. Anonymous said:

    Can you give any tips on synopses?
    How can a writer prune a book to two pages without wanting to fling themselves out the window?
    Where can I find examples?

  32. Anonymous said:

    What is the paranormal romance market like at the moment? And what kind of paranormals are editors looking for? (I imagine vampires is off the list for a while). And are “quest” books selling at all?

  33. Ayame said:

    Italy!!! Fun!!! Wow, I actually went back and put a capital letter for fun (be proud of my editing skills 🙂 )
    Now, I know what I want to be when I grow up…
    By the way, I tried Perfect Chemistry–it wasn’t my type of book, but I can definitely see why people love it.
    You have a good eye for finding the best books!

  34. Anonymous said:

    How does it feel to run your own business?

    How do you plan for cash flow issues as an agent – is it tough to predict your income and meet overhead expenses such as office space/your lovely assistants’ salaries, etc?

    How did you know it was time to start your own agency?

    Any tricks for keeping “fresh eyes” while reading through queries?

    You are great! Thanks for spending so much time with us every day. I always look forward to your blog!

  35. Cole Kleinschmit said:

    The “chicklit” question above sparked my curiosity on this: what’s your take on the emerging fratire genre/subgenre(I mean beyond Tucker Max)? Have you ever considered a query for an unabashed fratire novel? Do you have any gut feeling on what it means for male readership?

  36. Sara said:

    Ooo, I have something I’ve been wondering. For all of us who are just starting out in publishing (and who relished your interview tips, btw), how did you start the process of looking for a new assistant?

  37. Anonymous said:

    I’m aware that there is an art department that handles cover art, but can the author suggest a freelance artist to the editor if he/she wants an actual illustration as opposed to a photo manipulation? Or would he/she have to pay this artist from his or her own pocket?

  38. Anonymous said:

    If an author gets his rights to revert back for an out-of-print PB, I assume the rights don’t automatically revert back to the illustrator too. However, if both the author and illustrator get their rights back, is there anything to prevent them from working together to have another publisher to use the original text and illustrations in a new printing of the book?