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”
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”
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”
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)”
During my time reading queries whether for myself or another agent, I’ve seen the same mistakes over and over. Querying is hard and you don’t want to be your own biggest barrier to finding representation. If you’ve done your research these mistakes shouldn’t be a problem. However, many of the authors I see making these mistakes often appear to have not done their research on querying and end up hurting themselves right out of the gate. Remember to always be prepared and well-informed to give yourself the best chance!
Not following submission guidelines. I see this far too often. If an agent says to query them on a specific form or at a specific email, do so. Not following guidelines is an easy way to get your query rejected and possibly not even seen by an agent. Guidelines exist for a reason and going against them will make you stand out, but not for a good reason. Make sure you are pitching agents who represent your genre and age category. Don’t get yourself started off on the wrong foot by not following guidelines. Continue reading “Querying Mistakes to Avoid”
Like many things, character motivations can make or break a story. When motivations fall flat it can be hard to connect to characters or understand their actions. Weak motivations can cause issues with other aspects, like plot and stakes. Let’s discuss issues to avoid and how to make sure your character has strong and clear motivations.
First off, when a character doesn’t know why they are doing something my interest wanes especially if this happens in the first chapter when the stakes are being set up. If a character doesn’t know, it doesn’t tell me about them or why I should care. In fact, it makes their actions feel unimportant. It’s often a big red flag when a character even thinks “I don’t know why” in regards to their actions and motivations. If they don’t understand themselves, the readers can’t understand. This makes their actions feel forced for the sake of plot. Motivations help develop characters and their role in the story. Forcing motivations for the sake of plot causes characterization and as well as motives to suffer in return. Continue reading “Character Motivations”