Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Open Thread #1

I'm tired and still sickish and am going to attempt to get a decent bunch of work done today. So, while I'm off playing the wonderful game of making phone calls and leaving voicemail, I thought it would be nice to open up the blog to you guys.

Do you have publishing questions? Ask away!
Do you want to vent about something? Feel free, just don't start a flame war!
Do you want to share the inner workings of the universe with me? Start commenting!


Heather said...

I'm curious about something.


I'm an active participant (have been for years) and adore the camaraderie. However, occasionally we'll have a "genuine" author or somesuch come through and tell everyone it's a waste of time, effort, etc.

I'm just curious about what the pros think about it. :) In general, it's a big fat fun thing, and most people who write books during the challenge of course don't get published, but a lot of people do, and some published authors participate.

Do you ever see a spike in submissions in December, perhaps NaNo related?

Jeff Strand said...

Important Agenting Questions:

If one of your lesser clients was about to publish a sleazy, smutty chapbook called FUNNY STORIES OF SCARY SEX, would you just shake your head sadly and wonder why you ever got into this business?

What if he shamelessly posted in your blog comments that it was going to be available for pre-order on October 16th and ship on Halloween?

What if the pervo included a URL?

Your feedback on these important questions is most appreciated.

cnladd said...

New reader with a few of publishing questions:

I think the general wisdom goes that if you have some short stories published in magazines, an agent is more likely to take you seriously and more willing to take a look at your book submission. Does it matter what genre the short stories are in? Do the type or character of the magazines matter, or does it just matter that they pay?

Also, about writing in multiple genres: if I publish a book in one genre, will it be difficult to publish in other genres? Finally, if an agent (that's already handling a published book of mine) only handles one or two genres and I write a new book outside of the genres she handles, what's the best way to handle this situation?

Sorry for so many questions packed in at once. There's just so much to learn about this business!

Michele Lee said...

Two Questions:
1) I hear all kinds of writers say they keep their rejections and once they "make it" they'll have a list of people to say "Haha you missed out" to. does this ever actually happen?

2) what can we writers do to make YOUR job easier, seeing as agents are in the business of making our job easier. Turn about is fairplay.


Jeff Strand said...

Hi Michele!

I do know authors who've done the "nyahh nyahh" thing with editors who've previously rejected them. I got a couple of them myself when I rejected stories for the UNTIL SOMEBODY LOSES AN EYE anthology.

These authors look like idiots.

End of story.

Joe said...

Heather - I've written three novels that started out as NanoWrimo efforts. Who cares what anyone else things? Heck, when you sell your stuff, you'll have an instant audience.

Nyah, Nyah - anyone who does that needs to grow up. So you get rejected. It's not the end of the world.

Now come read my blog. I have no comments, and I feel lonely.

December Quinn said...

Last weekend my almost-two-year-old poured her juice in my laptop.

I'd backed up my major WIPs but hadn't backed up a book that's out on submission (the partial, anyway) and I only had a hard copy--I thought I was going to have to retype the whole thing. Plus the numerous bits and pieces: synopses, snippets, deleted scenes, scenes without a book, general detritus.

Thankfully the Recovery people retunred the laptop yesterday, memory intact.

So it's not a rant, but I'm reminding everybody I know to BACK UP YOUR WORK.

Also, if I can ask, how do you view cowriting credits? Are they as--I hesitate to say "impressive" but, well--impressive as regular credits? I'd hate to have an agent look at my query and think, "Yeah, but she needed help to do that one."

JimFreedan said...

I'd like to know what kind of videogames you like :)

Kimber An said...

How does everyone stay sane? I design and sew dresses inspired by historical or movie costumes. Right now, I'm working on a dress inspired by Lady Arwen's brocade gown in LOTR. I found a beautiful gold brocade with tiny dark pink flowers. I butchered three different store-bought patterns, pieced them together and added my own ideas. It excercises a different part of my imagination so the other part can create stories.

Michele Lee said...

Well of course it happens to editors and people within reach of the reply button. But does it ever happen after said author has sold said book?

It's stupid so I'd just like to think successful people have that beat out of them.

S. W. Vaughn said...

Coffee is the secret of the universe. Not 42, as some would have us believe, but coffee.

Hope you're feeling better! I'm sure I have a question or two about publishing to pelt you with... hang on... *digs through dusty mental chaos*

Ah! Here 'tis. Do you participate in writing conferences, and if so, what are you looking for from the writers who attend, and have you ever taken on a client you met at a conference (if indeed, you have participated in them)?

Thank you!

Rachel said...

Several months ago I sent a ton of queries out for my (very fat) fantasy novel. I got a lot of partial requests, but nothing came of it. So I took a good look at the work, cut about 20k words, and rewrote large sections, but the book itself hasn't changed much (same plot, characters, etc, just tighter.) Is it ok to requery some of the agents who requested partials with my newer, spiffier book? Or should I just query entirely new agents?

Heather said...

Well said, Joe. :)

Ruth said...

I've queried an agent I met at a writer's conference, and along with the standard submissions package (e.g. query, SASE, requested pages), I sent a receipt postcard. I got it back with a nice note saying that it had been opened about four weeks after I had sent it out, due to the agency being closed for the last half of August. It has been about three weeks since then-- should I wait another two weeks for a reply or send a check-up note?

Thank you,


McKoala said...

No, no sw! Not coffee! It's a nice cup of tea that heals all ills.

S. W. Vaughn said...

Okay, mckoala -- I'll concede that a lovely cup of green tea does indeed possess the potential to change the world.

But coffee, it's got body. Yeah, that's it, body.

I mean, how could you possibly resist this:

A subtly sweet, delightful coffee with tastes of vanilla, caramel, cashew, and Brazil nuts.

If everyone had a trusty bag of Green Mountain Rain Forest Nut signature coffee, the world would be a better place. :-)

kiwi said...

Rachel, speaking as a writer who did just this when I was starting out quite a few years back, I suggest you try other agents. My experience at the time made it clear that agents—as a rule-- do not like to read material twice. Further, a few typos and inherent flaws aren’t going to stop an agent snapping up your work if they fall in love with it. The point being, if they didn’t ask for a full after reading the material you sent, they’re unlikely to want to see it again, even with it ‘polished.’

I stand by the maxim; don’t send anything out unless it is as good as it can possibly be. If you’re unsure about the quality of you work, seek-out the help of a reputable book doctor or editor or the like. It might cost you money, but it's better to do your 'testing' with them than blow your chances with agents and publishers. The book industry is extremely competitive, and you have to put your best foot forward at all times.

Best of luck.

McKoala said...

Green tea! No. no, you need the real thing. Not strong, no milk, no sugar, just a few seconds of tea bag waving in a mug of freshly boiled water - refreshing and unbitter, oh yum...

You'll never win me over to coffee, never...mostly because it actually makes me throw up.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

I'm used to rejetion letters. I've been rejected by the best of them. (I still love LUNA best) ...

I'm not used to nice emails from publishers, and I don't know what to make of two I received this week.

One was from a Canadian publisher I greatly admire. It asked for patience while they considered my submission. No promises. Just that statement, and a request to tell them if I got an offer from someone else.

The other was from a small press romance publisher, or I should say from the editorial assistant, telling me she'd passed my manuscript on to her editor, giving me a time frame in which to expect to hear back, and thanking me.

Is this just new politeness in the publishing world? Or am I getting a better quality of rejections???

What, dear writers, am I to make of this?

Jenny Rappaport said...

Oh wow, lots and lots of awesome things to respond to! I'm going to go eat some dinner before I do responses for everything, but first, I must reassure Sha'el.

Sha'el, my dear, you are not getting rejected by either of the two publishers you just spoke about... the Canadian one sounds the most promising because they asked to be notified whether you receive another offer on the book. This you can interpret as the fact that they're definitely interested in your material, but they haven't come to a complete decision about it yet. The fact that they want to be kept aware of any other offers pushes the balance over to the slightly positive side. No guarantees that they'll buy it, but you've got their attention now.

As for the small press romance publisher, it can be interpreted one of two ways. Either it is just politeness, or you have actually passed beyond the first level of readers (aka editorial assistants and interns), which says they find something to like about your material.

So don't worry; no rejections yet! =)

Jenny Rappaport said...

Heather, as a writer, I think NaNoWriMo is a good thing because it forces people to get off their butts and actually try to write a novel. You never know what you can do until you start trying, and that's a valuable thing to have, all these other people trying at the same time as you are.

That said, I don't really put any professional weight or merit on it. If you put that you've done NaNoWriMo in your cover letter, I'll just kindly roll my eyes and overlook it as the mark of a novice writer. It doesn't count for that much... Now for example, if you're a romance writer, and you tell me that you were a Golden Heart Finalist for something, that carries a whole lot more weight.

Jenny Rappaport said...

jeff strand, I will kindly roll my eyes again, and wonder if it might be interesting to pick up a copy of it to read. =) Your short fiction is all yours, so go ahead and pimp it!

(This reminds me that I must send you e-mail; look for it sometime tomorrow.)

Jenny Rappaport said...

cnladd, I'm going to answer your questions in a post in a bit. They're too good to hide out in the comments thread. =)

Jenny Rappaport said...

michele lee, I agree with what the others have said about the "Nyah nyah" syndrome. It's not only unprofessional, it's moronic.

As for making my job easier... hmmm.... well, let's see. =) I'd like a pony. And a stable to house the pony. And riding lessons so I could ride the pony. And a bigger house, so that I could have my own library... really, the list goes on and on! Seriously, by being polite and kind, that makes my job better by so much. I firmly believe in the theory that "what comes around, goes around", especially in regards to treating people with respect and kindness.

Jenny Rappaport said...

jimfreedan, I love RPGs, although not the hack-and-slash variety, puzzle games, sim games, adventure games (like The Longest Journey, for example; I so need the sequel), and wonderfully quirky bemani games like DDR and Guitar Hero, plus just quirky ones like Katamari Damacy.

This reminds me that I really do need to get DDRMax for my PS2... it has so much better songs than the original US release I have, and I've long lost my Japanese releases, to my dismay.

Jenny Rappaport said...

rachel,I agree with what the others have said about your situation.

ruth, since they just opened the package three weeks ago, give them at least another three weeks before querying again. To err on the safest side of politeness, I'd probably wait four-five weeks, especially since soon the mail system is going to slow down some with holiday packages, etc.

Jenny Rappaport said...

kimber an, I think your hobby is very neat! The dress you're making sounds beautiful. I demand pictures when you are done! =)

And regarding the coffee vs. tea debate, I am firmly on tea's side. I don't like coffee at all... I had an unfortunate incident with a jug of iced coffee when I was five and it has scarred me for life. As for favorite teas, I like green tea. My favorite brand is Twinings because they consistently have good quality stuff in America. One of these days I'm going to get over to England to actually go shopping for it over there! And yes, I'll be utterly truthful, I like my tea sweet and dark; two level teaspoons of sugar and one Splenda packet per cup. =) However, depending on the variety, I may cut one of the teaspoons of sugar out.

JimFreedan said...

"I love RPGs, although not the hack-and-slash variety"

Hmm...if it's not a hack-n-slash rpg videogame (Diablo) then you either like console (Japanese, like Final Fantasy) or MMORPG/MUD (Everquest/ Legend of the Green Dragon)?

I'm not a big fan of hack-n-slashers either. I'm more of a console RPG fan myself. I even wrote an essay about their plot structure in my blog.

Creatively Self-Employed said...

venting: self-publishing is soooo much work!

Michele Lee said...

>>And riding lessons so I could ride the pony.

Well the house and stable and pony I can't do, but I used to teach lessons to kids so the lessons on how to ride I can do! ;)

And Luck Bless folks like Jeff for the self promotion they do. I swear if anyone finally picks my novels up they'll be very happy with my gerilla style self promotion.

JimFreedan said...
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JimFreedan said...
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JimFreedan said...

Er, I know this is a little old now but I have a question about what can be used as credentials and I don't know who else to ask this too...

If you had some of your writing featured on the front page of a publisher's website, would that be a credit similar to winning a contest even if there wasn't a contest...I ask because some of my fiction writing was popular enough on Tokyopop.com for them to dub me a 'Tokyopop Pop Star' and feature me on the front page...

The internet makes some weird things happen.