Pub Rants

Tagged young adult

What’s In Our Full Manuscript Queue

STATUS: This is a first for me. CBS films has a dedicated FB page for LEGEND the Movie. And you get first peek at the just released cover. Sweet.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? MISSIONARY MAN by Eurythmics

This is actually a good question. A quick look shows that we have 8 full manuscripts in the queue to be read. And here’s where they fall:

6 titles are Young Adult (breakdown by genre, 3 fantasies, 2 paranormals, 1 contemporary)

1 title is adult literary fiction

1 title is adult women’s fiction

We just sent responses to an adult fantasy that we passed on as well as a middle grade title that had several agents interested but ended up not being quite right for us.

Of the 3 clients Sara just signed: adult SF novel, adult Historical Romance, and Paranormal YA.

And as a bonus, here is Kristin as a talking head yet again. This time I’m reading a short excerpt from the Philip K Dick nominee SF novel SONG OF SCARABAEUS for the awards ceremony last Friday. The sound is not the best so you’ll probably have to turn up your volume all the way up to remotely hear me. Warning, this scene will probably hook you in!

The author Sara Creasy thought I looked quite spiffy!

Another Children’s Editor Weighs In

STATUS: Is if Friday yet? Dang. Not yet…

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? TAKE MY BREATH AWAY by Berlin

On what she’s looking for. And I’m loving this list. I’d be happy to see queries from writers for anything she mentions. Bring it on.

1. Contemporary YA where the heroine is not a victim.

2. Witches, MG or YA, dark or light

3. SF YA

4. Multicultural SF or fantasy

5. Humor

6. Strong novels with gay protagonists

7. Steampunk

8. Novels with the perfect blend of literary and commercial that will get starred reviews, win awards, and land on the Times list.

Oh that’s not asking for much! I’m getting right on that last one. *grin *

What Editors Are Looking For

STATUS: It’s almost 8 pm and I haven’t left the office yet. That pretty much sums up the day.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? EVERYBODY WANTS TO RULE THE WORLD by Tears For Fears

I have to say that all your comments on my last blog entry about the Best Query Ever made me laugh and laugh. Much needed when 160 emails in my inbox mysteriously disappeared during an email migration to the cloud.

Talk about cleaning up your TO DO list in one fell swoop. Luckily the emails were finally recovered. My tech person was much relieved too!

A children’s editor reconnected with me today. In her email, she outlined what she was dying to see. I LOVE when editors do that. Sometimes as agents, it’s easy to get tunnel vision just based on what we are seeing. So if you are an editor and you’re reading this, don’t hesitate to email me your current wish list. I love hearing from you and since I’ll be heading to NY for BEA and doing my monthly stay, now’s the time to ping me.

But back to what editors might want. From this email, it was nice to see that she was not looking for apocalyptic YA (she might be an exception there) but she’d love to see the following:

Southern-set novels

Novels with authentic characters that transform

Psychological thrillers

Mg horror (oh heck yes is what I say!)

SF (sweet!)

I have to say I’m on board with that. I’d be open to any and all of the above.

And as always, this editor would love a “stunningly-written book with a great hook.”

Rather goes without saying… *grin *

A Manuscript That Stays With You

STATUS: Spent a little time this evening working through some leftover computer conversion kinks. We are almost there.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? Nothing At the Moment

Because I’m not on twitter, I only found out today that YA author LK Madigan had passed away from cancer.

I have to say that the news made Sara and I rather sad.

Several years ago, I had the pleasure of reading her YA novel FLASH BURNOUT while it was on submission. I remember this vividly because Sara wasn’t taking on clients at the time but she really advocated for this author.

And Lisa was lovely and so professional.

I didn’t take her on as a client and she went on to find a wonderful and enthusiastic agent. And this may sound odd, but over the last two years, whenever we heard news about her debut novel, I’d say, “remember that manuscript? And Sara would say, “I told you so” (not really as Sara isn’t the kind of person to say such a thing) but you get the picture.

It was one of those novels that we remembered vividly, even years later, and could now poke fun at ourselves on being wrong about.

Which leads me to a point I made at the San Miguel Writers Conference last week.

When you get a rejection, you just have to remember that ALL writers received them at least at once in their careers and where you are today as a writer is not necessarily where you’ll be a year from now. That you will always be learning, growing, and maturing as a writer.

Being a writer is about the journey. Embrace it.

Fun Facts On NLA Clients—Take 5

STATUS: I think my telephone’s handset is permanently glued to my left ear. Way too much phone time over the last few days.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? THE LOVECATS by The Cure

Wrapping up the fun facts tonight!

Mari Mancusi—It took me over two years to convince her publisher to buy the fourth book in the Blood Coven Vampire series. Then they did, repackaged the back list with new covers and now the series is doing great and we are up to having recently sold book eight!

Lisa Shearin—who has well over 100,000 copies in print for her Raine Benares series had a ton of passes while on submission for MAGIC LOST, TROUBLE FOUND because the editors didn’t like the “fun voice.” It wasn’t the “norm” in fantasy.

Shanna Swendson—Gets regular royalty checks for her Enchanted Inc. series even though the first book published more than 5 years ago. Talk about evergreen!

And I have a ton of other facts that will probably never see the light of day but this has been fun to recap.

More The Cure music on iLike

Fun Facts On NLA Clients—Take 3

STATUS: Today was a whirlwind of good news and I actually knocked 2 things off my To Do List. I’m flying high tonight.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? THE WEDGE by Dick Dale

Courtney Milan—next to Chutney, Courtney has the cutest dog on the planet! Seriously, most of you know that Courtney came my way via a recommend from Sherry Thomas but then I met her in person and the Chicago Romance Writers Conference. I was impressed on many fronts.

Paula Reed—is the only client where I found her! I read an article about teachers and Columbine High School in the Denver Post and she was profiled. In the article, she mentioned she was writing a romance so I reached out to her. Now she writes literary historical fiction.

Sarah Rees Brennan—I was the only agent she queried for The Demon’s Lexicon series. Every day I’m thrilled and amazed that it was so!

Kim Reid—I met Kim at the Pikes Peak Writers conference and I think I physically groaned when she said she had a memoir to pitch (she won’t let me live that down!). Her memoir NO PLACE SAFE is one good reason why I’m proud to be a literary agent.

More Dick Dale music on iLike

Fun Facts On NLA Clients—Take 2

STATUS: Hey, winter decided to show up, briefly, in Denver today. It snowed. I already miss out near 60 degree weather already.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? GIVE PEACE A CHANCE by John Lennon

The Gals of Killer Fiction (all former Dorchester authors) are giving away free eBooks because finally, it’s their books to give away. Two of my authors, Jana DeLeon and Leslie Thompson are participating. Nothing wrong with the word “free” in this case so you might want to check it out.

And that leads me to back to some more fun facts to share.

Lucienne Diver—was already publishing under a pseudonym when I convinced her to do the Vamped Series in her own name.

Carolyn Jewel—has never missed a deadline (which has me convinced that she has mastered the art of cloning)

Leslie Langtry—was skeptical of literary agents and gave me the most detailed questions I’ve ever received when offering representation. And if you know Leslie, who is probably the author most likely to buy you a beer and hug you, you’d realize just how strange that is!

Marie Lu—was an attendee I met at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference. She submitted sample pages to her first novel which I passed on (sensing a theme here!). Then I took her on for a novel that I wasn’t able to sell. Now her debut YA, LEGEND, is one of Penguin’s big books for this fall. Talk about paying some dues.

Time for bed but more tidbits tomorrow!

And Since We Are Talking About The BEA YA Buzz Panel

STATUS: I’ve got a holiday party to attend tonight.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? SNOW by Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney and Danny Kaye

Looking at the blog entry from June 2, 2010 was a nice reminder that I might want to check in on the titles editors spotlighted at the YA buzz panel at Book Expo and see how they are doing.

Here’s the original list for reference.

PLAIN KATE by Erin Bow—Fantasy

INFINITE DAYS by Rebecca Maizel—Vampire/Paranormal

MATCHED by Ally Condie—Dystopian

FIRELIGHT by Sophie Jordan—Dragon/Paranormal

THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger—Contemporary YA

Well, I can tell you right now that Matched is doing the best out of the gate. In fact, PW just had an article on what an auspicious debut it is. A quick look at Bookscan shows an excellent sales record for the first full week out.

Because of agreement with Bookscan, I can’t list actual numbers but let’s just say if a debut YA novel comes out of the gate over 3000 copies strong, it’s doing really well. And this title is definitely above that. It also hit the NYT list this week coming in at #5.

Crazy sales always confirm that a title was buzz worthy.

In a quick look at the other four titles, all of which were released in August and September of this year, they have, in general, what I would call normal-to-above-average sales out of the gate for young adult titles. FIRELIGHT and INFINITE DAYS having higher sales than the other two, and I think that attests to the paranormal genre holding strong in the young adult market.

From this Buzz panel, at least right now, it looks like Matched wins hands-down as the “break-out” book.

How Well Did Kristin Predict?

STATUS: I’m heading over to the Tattered Cover to do some holiday shopping. Yay!

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? CHRISTMAS CANON ROCK Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Oh, I think this might be a fun entry. In a press release from Scholastic, the editors created a list of the top trends from 2010 when it came to Children’s books.

And funny enough, in the Nelson Agency newsletter, I’ve been highlighting a lot of what was “hot” in children’s lit throughout the year. I wonder if my predictions in any way line up.

What do you say? Should we analyze it?

To start, here’s the Scholastic List:

1. The expanding Young Adult audience
2. The year of dystopian fiction
3. Mythology-based fantasy (Percy Jackson followed by series like The Kane Chronicles, Lost Heroes of Olympus and Goddess Girls)
4. Multimedia series (The 39 Clues, Skeleton Creek, The Search for WondLa)
5. A focus on popular characters – from all media
6. The shift to 25 to 30 percent fewer new picture books, with characters like Pinkalicious, Splat Cat and Brown Bear, Brown Bear showing up in Beginning Reader books
7. The return to humor
8. The rise of the diary and journal format (The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dear Dumb Diary, Dork Diaries, The Popularity Papers, and Big Nate)
9. Special-needs protagonists
10. Paranormal romance beyond vampires (Linger and Linger, Beautiful Creatures, Immortal, and Prophesy of the Sisters)

In looking at all the newsletters from the past 11 months, here’s what I highlighted was “hot” in our newsletter column:

1. February 2010 newsletter—Dystopian YA fiction as hot.
2. March 2010 newsletter—Paranormal YA US titles hot in translation
3. May 2010 newsletter—I mentioned that I’d be attending the BEA YA buzz panel. I didn’t highlight paranormal romance in the newsletter but I did discuss it on the blog, June 2, 2010 entry.
4. October 2010 newsletter—Dystopian YA mentioned again along with YA SF romance.

Not bad! I actually didn’t talk about children’s fantasy at all but I definitely agree that we have seen a lot of myth-based fantasy stories and just recently I blogged about seeing fairy tale inspired stories—which is kind of in that same vein.

A return to humor is news to me so very interesting. As for special-needs protagonists, I can’t say I’ve seen that many but what I have noticed is stories where the main narrator has a sibling with special needs. Tangential but maybe worth mentioning.

In the October newsletter, I also highlighted that editors would like to see the next John Green. That’s humor and the male voice. That’s not mentioned here but I do think that might trend.

Sounding Too Adult

Status: I already know that tomorrow is going to be a 10 or 12 hour day.

What’s Playing on the XM or iPod right now? SILENT NIGHT By Nat King Cole

As the young adult genre continues to do well, it’s no surprise that a lot of authors who write for the adult market might want to try their hand at a YA novel. This evening I finished up a client manuscript and then read a couple of submissions.

Several of them were from authors looking to do just that. I passed on two of them because the writers hadn’t nailed the YA voice. It’s hard to pinpoint and clearly explain to the writer what exactly is off about the voice but ultimately, the character felt too experienced and capable in the story to be a teen.

In other words, the writer had imposed too much of an adult perspective into the narration. It’s a tough balance and all I can say is that for me as the reader, it just feels off or unconvincing. And it’s tough to correct because even a good critique reader might not be able to explain to the writer about how to fix it. I know that if I had to explain it to these two passes, I’d be hard pressed to give concrete feedback the writer would find helpful.

So if you are a writer looking to make that transition, be sure to read a lot in the YA genre and maybe even have a teen or teens on board as part of your critique group. After all, they would know best.