Reading

Book Review: This Is Our Story

This Is Our Story is a YA contemporary about a hunting trip gone wrong. Basically when it comes to YA contemporary this is the sort of story I’m searching for in my slush. I enjoyed the mix of mystery and romance. I grew up in a small town and found the small town setting of this to be pretty on the nose. Like any book there were a few spots that could be improved, but overall I really enjoyed the mystery ride this book took me on.

This Is Our Story is about five boys who go on a hunting trip only for one of them to end up dead from a gunshot. No one is willing to confess and the boys band together to protect each other. Kate ends up interning with the district attorney and gets caught up in the investigation and finds herself getting a little too close to one of the boys. With the case heading to trial it’s up to her to help prove who is guilty and who is innocent. Continue reading “Book Review: This Is Our Story”

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agenting · querying · Writing

2018 Query Round Up

Sometimes authors have no idea how many queries agents or how we choose projects. I wanted to do a compilation of some 2018 stats and what I saw that I liked and didn’t like in queries along with a few things to keep an eye out for when you query literary agents in 2019 to improve your chances. These stats focus on fiction since fiction dominated my slush. Going into 2019 I plan to hunt down some great nonfiction projects.

First of all, I got hundreds of queries this year even with only opening to queries in September. November was my busiest query month with 252 queries. Things slowed down in December to about 190 queries. This was likely due to many other agents closing for the month and people taking a break for the holidays. This is what makes it hard to stand out in the slush, the sheer number of subs agents receive. Make sure your query is on point before sending it out. I saw a lot of queries that left out stakes or got too convoluted or even focused on themes instead of plot or left out the plot altogether. Avoid these mistakes because they make a project easy to pass on. Continue reading “2018 Query Round Up”

agenting

Keep Your Submission List

By submission list, I mean the submissions your agent sent to editors. A big trend in my query box lately is previously published and previously represented authors. Many books were already out on one or two submission rounds. I personally like to ask about all this and know as much as possible if I’m interested in a full. I’m seeing so much of this lately that I wanted to post a little reminder here about keeping submission info.

I’ve started a habit of asking if the last agent sent the MS to any editors when I request a full from a previously represented author. I take my submissions game plan into heavy consideration when I’m reading a full and if a book has already been sent to just about every editor, I wouldn’t expect to be able to sell it and might ask to see the next book instead. The more editors to have seen a book, the harder it could be for me to sell.

Why keep the list? Past submissions on books can help target submissions on your next book. Maybe an editor asked to see future books or recommended a different editor. Maybe one made it clear they weren’t fond of the author’s writing style, in which case it would be a waste to send the next book to them instead of a different editor at that house or imprint. If editors have already seen one book your next agent won’t want to send the same book to those editors a second time.

If you decide to split with your agent make sure you keep your submission list since it will come in handy to your next agent. And if your current MS has already been given to editors, your agent will need to know who.

 

agenting · querying · Writing

Query One Project at a Time

If you are in the query trenches you have my sympathy for how difficult the going can be. You should also make sure you only query an agent one project at a time. I get a lot of queries for a whole series (fantasy is the big offender for this) or an author pitching multiple books in the same query letter. Pitch one project at a time to an agent. I’m going to explain exactly why that is.

First off, I will more than likely only pitch one project of yours at a time. That means I need to know which project you are currently focusing on and want to sell. If you throw several at me, I don’t know which one you want to go up to bat with the most. It’s also more reading time not only to decide if I like your writing, but which project to sign. My time is limited when it comes to reading projects to sign clients, so I need to choose carefully. Having a whole series or several books to get through is a much larger time investment than looking at one project and unless I’m in love with a concept the time investment makes it easy to pass. Continue reading “Query One Project at a Time”

Reading · Uncategorized

My Favorite Adult Reads of 2018

If I had to pick my favorite overall book of 2018, the award would definitely go to Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant. That book gripped me in a way no other book could compete with this year. The tension was magnificent and I loved the unique take on mermaids. Overall my adult reading was more varied than young adult this year. My top picks are in historical, horror, and science fiction.

My other Adult picks for 2018 include The Song of Achilles, The Lost Season of Love and Snow, Baby Teeth, and Adrift. A shout out goes to Semiosis and Circe. All of these books released in 2018. Continue reading “My Favorite Adult Reads of 2018”

Editing · querying · Writing

All About Revise and Resubmits (R&Rs)

I’ve noticed a few authors on Twitter wondering if agents actually have any interest in a submission if they send an R&R. The short answer to that? YES. Now lets get into the long answer and all the information about R&Rs. I’ve been known to give a few out, but they are usually rare. I’m going to explain why I personally give an R&R, what it means for the author, and what it means for the agent, including why some agents don’t bother with them.

Why do I give an R&R? Usually because I love a concept, can see what the book could potentially be, but feel in it’s current form it still needs too much work. If the writing is good on a technical level and the story itself needs some work, I’ll consider an R&R, but only if I’m in love with the concept. The R&R lets me test the author’s ability to revise. If they just haven’t gotten the right feedback yet, getting some guidance might be all they need. But if they can’t quite make the revisions work, I know the project isn’t for me. Taking on a project that needs a lot of work can be a bit too much of a risk, especially if its a debut author and I have no idea about their ability to edit and revise. The R&R gets rid of that risk. Continue reading “All About Revise and Resubmits (R&Rs)”

Reading

My Favorite YA Reads of 2018

I read a lot of books this year, more so than in recent past years. According to Goodreads as I write this I’m heading toward 80 books. I’m always on the hunt for possible comp titles for clients and to keep up to date in the genres I work in and to know what’s been done. Here’s a look at some of my favorite books from my reading this year, starting with young adult. A note: not all of these book were published in 2018, some are older.

The books are Strange the Dreamer, An Enchantment of Ravens, Spinning Silver, Ivory and Bone, Vessel. A shout out goes to the charming contemporary YA romance Christmas book I’m currently reading Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. A few other books that were close calls for the list include Sorrow’s Knot by Erin Bow and My Plain Jane. I admit I read a lot of fantasy this year in YA. Continue reading “My Favorite YA Reads of 2018”