Agents get a lot of queries, way more than we can represent. That means a lot of competition for querying writers. Believe me, I have plenty of experience querying as well and understand the frustration. Sometimes being an agent and knowing how it all works soothes the rejection, but not always. Rejecting queries is my least favorite part of agenting. I know how those rejections feel having been on the other end of them. But when it comes down to it agents might only take a handful of new authors a year but receive hundreds of queries. Currently I’m building my client list with vigor, which means I’m hungrily looking to fill out my list, but even then I still get way more queries than I can represent.
So why do I reject queries? A lot of people assume the majority of rejections are due to bad writing or us hating the queries. Most queries where the writing falls short just need another round or two of edits or are newer authors who will improve with time. Often a project needed one more round of edits before querying, but there is too much editing needed for me to feel comfortable taking on the project. I’m a big fan of Revise and Resubmits because if this is the case but I love the project, I’ll request a R&R to see how the author handles the edits. Being able to edit well is a key to success as an author. Continue reading “Why I Reject Queries”
When I joined D4EO agency it gave me the opportunity to very excitedly switch over to QueryManger (known as QM from now on) instead of using an email inbox for queries. I’ve been with several agencies between interning, assisting, and agenting and I’ve seen many different query inbox systems. QM is by far my favorite. However I get a lot of confused messages from authors about QM, and so I’m going to discuss how I use QM as an agent and clear up some confusion, including the fact that no, you can’t add indents to your query since it uses block formatting. The amount of messages I received about that when I first switched over to QM surprised me.
What I love most about QM is how organized it is. And since it has all my queries and requests, it keeps everything in one place instead of getting requests lost beneath dozens of other emails. QM also hides my email and uses it’s own to send from, which cuts down on submission emails to my agency email and keeps my amount of emails under control. I think it’s important to note QM is not designed to be messaging back and forth with authors, something I learned from experience. It’s set up to make it easy to reject or request and once we know we want to offer it’s assumed we will switch to email, which is what I do. Unfortunately that also makes it hard to respond to questions from authors so please just follow the submission guidelines and if you have questions about representation save it for when/if I offer since we will have a chat when I offer. If I have questions I will shoot you an email. Continue reading “QueryManger and Queries”
After my latest conference taking pitches from authors, I had some thoughts I wanted to share. Most queries to me end up as a rejection, and unfortunately that includes ones received from conferences. However that doesn’t mean pitching an agent can’t be worthwhile. For those who view agents as the scary gatekeepers, this is also your chance to see that we are real people too. And as an agent I enjoy getting the chance to talk to authors and hopefully be of some help. Publishing is a tough industry and I wish I could help more authors out, but my time is limited and my clients come first. Luckily I can give out tips on my blog!
In my experience a lot of people get nervous pitching face to face. The pitches usually aren’t as succinct as queries either. I tend to like to see the queries afterward because I don’t like to judge by a nervous pitch unless I know the overall concept definitely isn’t for me. My advice is don’t see that pitch to an agent as a make-or-break moment for your book and instead view it as an opportunity to practice pitching your work and getting to ask questions. Once you’re a published author you will get people asking what your book is about and if you can give a good pitch you might be able to convert curious people into future readers. You also may wind up in other networking positions where being able to pitch your book will help you. Continue reading “Pitching at Conferences”
I’ve found myself thinking about love triangles in fiction lately. I admit I tend to associate them more with young adult books simply because I see them there more often than in adult. Love triangles can be very popular. Think Twilight, The Hunger Games, and The Selection. Some people can’t get enough of love triangles, others hate them. Personally I love a well done love triangle, but I think they can very difficult to do in a way that feels natural. I’m going to discuss my personal tastes here with complete honesty and I’m going to use a few book examples, but don’t take them as gospel and remember it is my opinion and mine only. If you are considering querying me and your book features a love triangle, this post will help you decide if I’m a good match or not. And if you are a love triangle fan then this post might give you four more books to read.
Warning: Spoilers for the books below in regards to the love triangles. And remember, I’m probably way more critical than the average reader.
In The Caged Graves by Dianne Salerni, the author took an angle on a love triangle I really liked. One of the men involved isn’t actually in love with the main character (Verity), he is just trying to get close to her to manipulate her and protect his own self-interests. I also enjoyed the way the author used the triangle to explore how Verity isn’t sure how to recognize love. She also struggles with the love triangle and the feelings of being interested in two very different men and actively tries to pull away from the second because she feels it is the right thing to do. What made this romance captivating for me is that the first man is an arranged marriage, and the second isn’t, adding an extra layer of intrigue and character exploration to the triangle. Continue reading “Love Triangles”
One of the questions I often get asked by potential clients is whether or not I’m an editorial agent. With my background in editing the answer is of course. That leads to authors wanting to know how much editing I do, which depends on the amount of work each individual project needs. Editorial agents are becoming more common and I think the increased competitiveness of the industry is going to lead to most if not all agents becoming editorial agents eventually. Honestly I’m glad I started on the editorial side first to work on editing since these days it’s an important skill for agents. While I don’t give specific edit notes until a client has signed with me, on the offer call I try to cover my expectations of what needs edited to clue the author in how many edits we’d be doing together.
When it comes to my clients, as an agent I tend to work with authors who don’t need heavy line edits and I tend to focus on developmental edits instead. By that I mean their overall style is polished and the changes needed are usually not grammatical issues that pop up throughout the whole story like passive versus active voice or too much telling. My clients are authors who have put in a lot of time to studying the craft and aren’t still learning the basics. They are also often experienced with taking critique as well. Continue reading “Being an Editorial Literary Agent”
I’ve been reading a lot more science fiction lately and I find myself gravitating toward YA sci-fi due to the fast pacing. One of my latest reads was Contagion by Erin Bowman. This book was fantastic and I loved the tension and mystery of it. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a creepy science fiction read and I would especially recommend it if you’re a Riddick Pitch Black fan. Overall this book has great tension and exceptional writing.
When a SOS message is sent from a mining site on a distant planet, a search-and-rescue crew is sent. However when they arrive there appears to be no survivors and not enough dead bodies to account for the missing. A note left behind by one of the dead proclaims “It Got In Us.” With no idea of what the note means they search for answers, but once they find the dead, they quickly wish they hadn’t. Continue reading “Book Review: Contagion”
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is a few years old (from 2013) and it was one of my first reads of the year. This contemporary book is a great reminder of why it’s so unfortunate that the New Adult category is all but forgotten by publishers. I wish I would have found this book when I was still in college because this is exactly the sort of book I wanted during those years. I always felt like those years are missing from fiction or purely romance, which is bad news for new adults searching for similar experiences in books. This book was great and I highly recommend it.
This book follows Cath during her first year of college and the struggles that come with the transition. Her twin sister Wren doesn’t want to be roommates, forcing Cath out of her comfort zone. And unlike Wren she isn’t as good at meeting new people or making friends, causing her to feel isolated at her new school as she drifts from her sister. She prefers to delve into the world of Simon Snow fanfiction and her popular fanfiction C. College brings new experiences and all Cath can do is rise to the challenges or fail. Continue reading “Book Review: Fangirl”
Who doesn’t enjoy stories about people dying due to unsavory plots to grab power or wealth? Stories of people being poisoned and dying young are all through history and this book explores the most famous cases as well as the poisons of the day. The full title of the book is The Royal Art of Poison: Filthy Palaces, Fatal Cosmetics, Deadly Medicine, and Murder Most Foul and that title really is the best descriptor of this book. Let me tell you this book was absolutely fascinating! This is definitely one of my favorite recent nonfiction reads and I highly recommend it. Eleanor Herman has all kinds of interesting books on history.
This book is great not just for those interested in poisons of the past, but any authors looking for information for their writing. This covers everything from how dirty the palaces were (men used to just piss everywhere apparently) to how they used mercury for medicine and in makeup along with arsenic. The makeup of the day was more likely to kill you than keep you beautiful. And if you wanted to die your hair red to be like Queen Elizabeth you might lose it all instead. Sometimes mercury could cure you, but only if it didn’t kill you first. Continue reading “Book Review: The Royal Art of Poison”