I often see a lot of confusion from authors regarding referrals and I see them used wrong all the time in queries. The query software I use has a box for referrals and I think that makes authors feel pressured to provide one. I often find myself considering getting rid of it because the majority of people who use the referral box do so incorrectly, making it kind of useless to me. My original intent was to use it to bring actual referrals to my attention quicker, but that hasn’t worked. So let’s cover referrals, what they are, how to use them, and what to avoid.
While some agents may hold different opinions, when it comes to referrals I want them to be from someone who actually knows me. Someone whose name I will recognize instead of going “who?” This generally means clients and other agents or editors I’ve worked with or any other publishing professionals I’ve met personally. Sometimes If I meet an author via an event I might ask them to include that even in the referral box to remind myself of where I requested from. Referrals are also different from someone simply suggesting you query me. Referrals are rare, which is what gives them more sway, but they don’t necessarily increase your odds of getting an offer. The writing itself is what I will make my decision on with or without a referral. Plus referrals give me higher expectations going into the query and sample compared to the average query and that can be hard to meet. Continue reading “Referrals”
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”
Batch querying is sending out batches of queries to agents, usually 5 to 10 queries a session. Then an author waits on responses to see if the query and pages are hooking agents or not. If they aren’t, or perhaps if they got feedback, the author revises and sends the next batch. This is the querying method I see recommended all the time, but recently while reading agent interviews I noticed an agent who shall remained unnamed complain about this method. However, I disagree with the agent’s complaints as a writer and as someone trying to break into agenting.
The perks of batch querying means an author has a chance to revise and follow any feedback (which admittedly is rare to get from agents) before querying other agents. Plus let’s face it, querying agents takes a lot of time and authors can query anywhere from a few dozen to over a hundred for any given book. Batch querying helps authors break those large amounts up into a smaller, more manageable amount. For those with busy schedules, it would be impossible to find enough time to query every agent on their list in one setting. Continue reading “Batch Querying”
Once upon a time self-publishing was seen as the option for the uniformed and writers who well, weren’t very good. These days self-publishing has become a much more viable option thanks to the internet, but the bias still lingers and drives writers away from it. Some traditionalists still hold that traditional publishing is the only path that has any merit, while some self-publishers think taking control of your writing is the best way to go. And let’s not forget about the growing numbers of hybrid authors who have published both ways. A lot of people on the traditional side seem to avoid discussing the topic, but I work with clients on both ends of the industry and I’ve personally worked with some great self-published authors.
Self-publishing wasn’t always as easy as it is today. While self-publishing used to be associated with scams in which houses forced authors to pay to be published, these days self-publishing often entails authors handling the publishing of the book themselves. While the publishing landscape has evolved, old biases still linger. With more authors self-publishing than ever before there have been heated debates on the topic of traditional publishing versus self-publishing. Continue reading “The Bias Against Self-publishing”
Breaking into publishing is difficult enough even if you are located in NYC. Unfortunately for those of us not in NYC, open positions are limited and difficult to find. Below you will find a list of places who accept remote interns. If you are looking for a position I recommend checking the job board on Publishers Marketplace, Media Bistro, and bookjobs.com for new positions. Some agents will post on Twitter when they are looking for an intern.
If you know of any house or agency who accepts remote interns and are not already included below, please let me know so they can be added to the list. Continue reading “Remote Publishing Internships”
Let me lay down some knowledge for you from my time spent in the editing trenches. I’ve worked with five plus houses, three literary agencies, and indie clients. That comes with a whole lot of editing experience. Let me tell you a secret: one editor on a book often isn’t enough and especially not if that book needs a lot of work. As an indie author it can be daunting to hire and afford more than one editor, but the end result will be so worth it. Having more than one editor means more fresh eyes to iron out issues. If you’re a a traditional author, this means you will likely work with more than one editor at your house.
Want to know how the Big 5 get their books so polished and shiny? It’s because those books often have a developmental editor and then a copy editor who also proofreads if they don’t also have a separate proofreader. This means they get an editor to focus on all the developmental issues without being sidetracked by copyedits. Then the copy editor gets to focus on copyedits without being sidetracked by developmental edits. Then finally the proofreader gets to ax any remaining issues still hiding. With all those fresh eyes focusing on one type of editing, the manuscript goes through a lot of rounds and gets put through the wringer. And to add to that many of those books were also edited by agents before going to the house. Continue reading “The Benefits of Multiple Editors”
Subjectivity can be so frustrating for querying authors and those on submission to houses. When you are trying to get an agent you will get tired of hearing about how subjective the industry is but it is so true. Subjectivity is real and not some myth created to frustrate or console rejected writers. As frustrating as it can be for those trying to get published, subjectivity is what lands all the varying books out there on shelves for readers.
What is subjectivity? You know how some people prefer chocolate ice cream but those who are wrong prefer vanilla or strawberry? (Guess which flavor is my favorite!) That is subjectivity. What one person might prefer another disagrees with. In publishing subjectivity is why some of us prefer specific genres or third person point of view over first person or vice versa. You know how a friend or family member recommended that one book to you that everyone was raving about? Yet when you read it you didn’t much care for it? That’s subjectivity in the industry. For me the most recent book that happened with was A Darker Shade of Magic. But subjectivity is why we get so many different types of books and writing on shelves. If not for subjectivity our reading options would be narrower. I’ve seen several books written in verse lately, but that sort of writing doesn’t appeal to me but it does appeal to others, so we can thank subjectivity for the variety of books it gives us. As they say variety is the spice of life. Continue reading “Subjectivity in Publishing”