Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Eight Days of Agenting (a.k.a. Passover)

There's a definite lack of Passover love in the world. It's one of the more neglected holidays, almost always eclipsed by Easter, and rarely given as much cool popularity as it deserves. Even though I'm not that religious of a Jew, Passover is one of the only holidays in which I keep mostly kosher. I don't separate meat or milk, but literally everything that I eat has to be Kosher for Passover, with the one exception of Hellmann's Light Mayonnaise (there is no decent-tasting Kosher for Passover mayonnaise, and I cannot live through the holiday without egg salad). This is why I don't go to Easter celebrations or attend conventions during the holiday--if you invite me somewhere, you're going to have to feed me, and very few people go to the trouble of doing so.

But I have remembered that I have a blog, you see, and although I can't force all you nice people to keep kosher for Passover with me, I can encourage you to help celebrate the holiday. It is all about joy and freedom, after all! So without further ado, I introduce the Eight Days of Agenting. For each day of Passover, starting with the evening of the first Seder on April 2nd, I'll do a blog post on an agenting topic that one of you suggests. Eight days, eight agenting posts. Also, since I will go mad with boredom just posting about agenting stuff, I'm also going to do a post on a random topic that one of you suggests. Once again, eight days, eight posts.

I'll fully admit that I'm stealing this idea from John Scalzi's blog (see here), but as there's been a lack of agenting content lately, I figure this is a good way to force me to add some in here. I'll be traveling next week for the World Horror Convention in Toronto, which is why I'm timing the event to coincide with Passover. I eat matzo, I write blog posts. All very simple, you see. =)

So now it's up to you, dear readers. Start suggesting topics that you want to know more about, both agenting and random topics. I refuse to answer any questions on query letters, as I've already covered that earlier in the blog this year. But anything else related to agenting, writing, or publishing is fair game to be asked. As for the random topics... those have to be good, right? You're all writers and you're all creative--I'm sure you can think of some nice doozies. I reserve the right, of course, to pick and choose which topics I want to write posts about.


Marissa said...

I know there are people at Minicon who keep kosher, and as a result I distinctly recall some room parties having the kosher and non-kosher snacks marked.

That doesn't mean you have to come to Minicon, of course; I'm just saying.

Kimber An said...

We're not Jewish, but we're always mindful of Passover anyway. Without it, Easter would only be about bunnies and techni-color hen-fruit, which isn't enough substance to contitute a holiday in our family. We always read MRS. KATZ AND TUSH by Patricia Pollaco and watch the Reading Rainbow video of it too. This story is about a childless Jewish widow who is befriended by an African American boy who gives her a kitten. She becomes his family's honorary Bubby. Sometimes, we do the Passover meal too.

As for questions...maybe I'm just not knowledgable enough, but it seems like regular romance novels are a lot more graphic with their sex scenes nowadays. Often, the scenes are not even supported by the story. I've imagined this to be because of the currant popularity of erotica. Does an author who prefers to write sensual romances (or less) stand a chance outside Young Adult or Inspirationals?

Thank you and happy Passover!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I'll be keeping kosher with you, Jenny. Sort of; the Manischevitz mixes for coffee cakes and stuff have leavening in them, so beware of that, if that sort of hypocrisy bothers you (it does us).

As for a question, here's one for you... why is The Carp in the Bathtub out of print? That is THE BEST Passover story book ever written.

(and do you do apple-nut-wine charoses, or the yummy Sephardic stuff, with dates and apricots? Holler if you need the recipe; it's really better)

katiesandwich said...

Ooh, you know what would be awesome for one of your random posts? A recipie for matza ball soup. Do you have one? I've only ever had it once, and it was soooo good.

resurrectedwarrior said...

Yeah--I vote for something passover-ish for a random post. That would be nice.

Or, since I'm thinking about it, you could do a post on the bacterial properties of kitten snot. You could even compare kitten snot with human and dog snot. I wonder what elephant snot is like? Which one is cleaner? Have they been used as medicine at any point in history?

Don't look at me like that. It's a cool idea!!

Ryan Field said...

I've always been curious about whether or not agents ever go after clients that haven't submitted queries. I don't mean recommendations either. If you see something you really like will you ever actually approach a writer about representation?

Kimber An said...

Oh, resurrectedwarrior, don't you get Animal Planet. The show Most Extreme did an episode on that very thing!

Yvonne & Sandy said...

Hope you enjoy your visit to our fair city of Toronto. Meant to weigh in when you asked about bookstores here. ... I love Indigo at the Manulife Centre (Bay/Bloor). The staff in the YA section always keep me up to date on what's hot and what's not. They face out our books and they've even steered me toward some good publicity for our books.

I enjoy your blog and look forward to the Passover series! Sandy Rideout

Rainy Eyes said...

Here are some things I'm curious about: When meeting one's agent or editor in person for the first time, should the author bring gifts? (If so, what would be an appropriate gift?) On a related note, when lunching with one's agent or editor, who pays?

brunoflathead said...

Happy holidays to one and all!

Here's my suggestion: As a writer I stuggle in trying to decide what is too little, and/or too much, description in my stories.

As a successful agent, your ideas would be helpful in getting an overview on this issue.

Kelly Swails said...

A random post could be about your favorite childhood toy or stuffed animal.

An agenting post could be: what made you decide to become an agent?

S. W. Vaughn said...

I have an agenting question... how do you really feel about multiple submissions, and do your feelings get hurt when a writer whose work you like decides to go with another agent (if that's ever happened)?

I also cast my vote for a random Passover post. A joyous forthcoming Passover to you! :-)

resurrectedwarrior said...

Oh, resurrectedwarrior, don't you get Animal Planet. The show Most Extreme did an episode on that very thing!

Really?! My little brother watches Animal Planet ALL the time--and he really likes that show. Usually, he runs in to wherever I'm sitting and tells me all about whatever's on the show. Guess I missed that one. Darn socks.

McKoala said...

Agenting (ish): the things that make you put a manuscript down before you've even got to the end of the first page. Or, your favourite childhood reads and why they wouldn't sell now?

Other: soup! Cats vs dogs. Why you love/hate where you live. Your ideal wedding dress.

Laura K said...

For the 8 Days:

There are a few agents at a large agency who all handle my genre but I'm not sure how the agents in an agency relate to each other (this is a rather large agency). Is it advisable to query one if another has had my query for several months and not responded either positively or negatively? My gut says no, but it's led me astray in the past!

Thanks so much...your blog is always helpful to those of us confused and befuddled by the agent-finding process!

Tracey said...

I'm from Australia and not Jewish so have learnt a few things reading this. I'm also new to reading your fabulously informative blog.

Now for my Question.

If an Agent requests a full and you are delayed in sending because you have had some excelent feedback from an editor and want to incorporate those changes before sending it - should you explain or would it just sound like empty excuses. e.g. along the lines of my dog ate my homework.

Shalanna said...

Okay, let's see. Just thinking some questions up.

* Which conference(s) will you attend this year? Which ones are the most fun for agents? The most profitable for new authors? (RWA national is in Dallas this year. . . .)

* When you have sent queries to an agent . . . wait, start over. You have (for instance) written five books over the years, and you've had cycles of rewriting and revising and so forth, but nothing has sold. You have often heard, "Don't change your voice and style," but your plots have not grabbed people. Let's say you query an agent and get the "I'm not the right one" letter that does NOT have a "I'd like to see something else from you" clause. Can you wait about three days, and then send a query for another of the books that's in a genre the agent handles? Or is there little hope that an agent will like another of your books, if your voice is clear in each of them? Does this just irritate agents?

* Do you think less of people who have been writing for years and years and still haven't been able to sell? Do our chances start to shrink after we've gotten past the "youth" age and no longer think like the mainstream of younger adults? (*Because we will have "old-fashioned" thoughts or themes in the work, on occasion*)

* Does it matter whether an author is pretty/handsome so that the photo can be on the back of the book jacket? Have the Beautiful People finally taken over writing, just like everything else?

The said...

Here's an agenting question: If you're living outside of the US and live in a area that is hard to reach, how do you let an agent contact you? Could you direct them to a friend's house/phone number in the US and then have them direct the agent to you? And would you need to clarify all of this in the query letter or let the agent find out when they call up the friend? Or should you explain the situation and just exclude a phone number/address and only provide an email address? Also, would it affect your chances by being so difficult to contact? Should you just wait until you move back to the US before querying?

Thanks in advance. I hope this made sense...

Cyndi Drolet said...

An agenting question, please. One I've asked on a couple of different blogs, but to which I've yet to receive a definitive answer.

I've heard different opinions on whether or not to mention to a prospective agent that your full is being reviewed by an editor. I've been swayed to not include that information, but am I missing an opportunity by not saying that well-known Editor X at Big-Time Pub House Y is reviewing a requested full?

Jessica Faust said in a recent blog post that mentioning you have editors reviewing requested fulls can help get you to the top of her stack.

Obviously, an agent will need to know all of the editors to whom a ms has been submitted and what the response was before the agent agrees to represent it. That's just good business.

But in your opinion, is it typical for agents to want to know that an editor at one of the big houses has your full on request if it hasn't been rejected yet (which, under Murphy's Law, it will be not two minutes after the query goes out to Agent Z)?

I've heard other agents say they see windows of opportunity closing for every submission made to editors that they didn't make, and that it's best not to mention those submissions up front.

What's your opinion?

Thanks for sharing your insights with us!

Cyndi Drolet said...

Sorry, forgot to clarify: My question refers to mentioning that an editor is reviewing the full in the initial query stage or when a partial has been requested by the agent.