Thursday, August 09, 2007

What do you guys want?

Ok, so in the prior post, Adrienne essentially commented that she'd like more agenting content on the blog. I agree; it's been very sparse lately. But part of that problem is that I simply don't know what to write about. So start telling me what you'd like to learn about! If you don't ask questions, I don't know what to answer.

By the way, part of the reason that the agenting content has been sparse is because I still feel like I'm out-conferenced to death. I explain and explain and explain basic stuff at writers' conferences, to the point that when I get back to my computer, I feel like I've talked about everything in the world to do with agenting. This is why I need specific questions, folks. =)

Two things that are off-limits because I feel like I've talked about them to death:
  1. Anything to do with query letters. I've babbled about them and they are most adequately covered over on Miss Snark.
  2. Any personal inquiries about the status of your partial or query letter to me; I've got them all; I'm going through them; my intern is going through them; I'm still backlogged.


Anonymous said...

How about the process on your end, from submission to sale? It would be interesting to hear about what your job is like with a current client (no names needed, just more of a play-by-play of what happens), and how you negotiate contracts.

Angelle Trieste said...

How about...

What should a writer do when he/she actually gets the call? (from an agent offering to rep) What questions should he/she ask?

It seems to me that everyone wants to know about how to pitch / query, but not many people ask what happens when they get the call.

spyscribbler said...

I like cat pictures, but then I'm a cat-lover with four cats. :-) How big is your little one, now?

Seriously, I like all your blog posts. There's lots of agents blogging, and you remind us that agents have as interesting lives as the next person!

Faithful 2 U said...

Cool blog!

Adrienne said...

Hey I get a mention! Awesome! And I am with spyscribbler, I still really enjoy kitty pictures.

I guess with the whole what to write about (and being a blogger myself I know how after a while there just seems like there is nothing more to say - I think that was why Miss Snark closed up shop herself) I really find it interesting to hear about the industry from the inside, what's the gossip, the books that have the buzz, new developments in how publishing works, that kind of stuff.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I'm with Spy and Adrienne. If you think of new stuff that Miss Snark didn't cover, holler.

HOWEVER, you sort of answer your question for me with your next post: you point out a source of neat stuff that's struggling and could use some/our support. By broadening our world like this, you're helping publishing *as a whole,* and that's so sorely needed right now.

We're all so focused on Harry Potter that sometimes, we forget the little, struggling guys who need support in order to make a huge impact on the industry.

I'd like to have my world broadened, and so far, you've done that nicely. (Jewelry, anyone?)

BernardL said...

Anytime you get a tip on what's hot in a specific area of fiction writing, such as a particular plot line or character, that would be great to hear about.

kiwi said...

You're getting married, cut yourself some slack. And if your blog is't fun for you or you feel pressured, then it's likely time for a hiatus.

Just my opinion.

Oh, and since you asked, I'd love to see a very frank blog that explores the bullshit that is publishing today, and not just for newbies, but established authors and their agents. Unfortunately in this kiss arse industry I don't expect that's going to happen any time soon :).

Keep smiling at your book signings folks!

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know more about writer websites. Maybe links to your top 10 examples and what makes them great from an agent's perspective. Does your information need differ from that of an editor who may be checking out an author for the first time? Also, a laundry list of "never nevers" for both the published and unpublished.

urbansherpa said...

The thing I miss most was Miss Snark's weekly critique of her query pile. She would get our her clue gun and fire at will.

If that's not your style, maybe mention things you LIKED or APPRECIATED or things that caught your eye in your queries.

Elaine said...


I actually met you at the Book Expo Writers conference. You were very helpful to me and I want to thank you for that. The question I have is--what exactly is in an outline? I know it's supposed to be longer than a synopsis, but I'm still not sure how to format it or how much of the story to put in it. Any clues you could give me would be helpful Thanks. :)

Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading this becaues it's written by someone who loves books and the industry that produces them. So basically... whatever comes out of your head.

And then one specific question: If you could describe your absolute dream deal, from submission to publication, what would it be like?


--E said...

One of the things that I love on...I forget which agent's blog...was when she would post queries or synopses of queries and then say why she did or didn't ask to read the rest.

I think that sort of practical example lessoning is very useful and entertaining. Also, it's cheap-n-easy content when you can't think of anything new to say.

--E said...

Oh, and hey, if you don't want to have Miss Snark's cluegun style, you could always farm that activity out to me. Give me some Stupid Queries and let me have at it! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I have a question to which I haven't gotten an answer:

People recommend that an author work on a second project while the first is being marketed to agents or editors.

But what if your second book would be a sequel to the first?

Should an author be optimistic enough to plan on that first book being published to work on a sequel?

What if this is the only thing an author has in her repertoire; e.g., one-novel type author.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for opening the blog up to questions! Here's mine: how do you determine which are the better/best agents out there? I've done research on Publishers Marketplace, read countless webpages - both agencies own and places like Absolute Write - but still, at best, it seems agents are listing maybe 2-3 deals so far this year, with maybe 1 in a specific genre. I know not all agents list every deal, but how do you know who will give you the best chance to sell your book? Is there somewhere else I should look? My book is upper YA - is there a list somewhere (other than Agent Query) of the most successful agents by genre? What is the typical number of deals an agent does annually? What percentage of books are likely to find a legit agent, but still not sell? I know there are a lot of questions in this, but any/all advice would be appreciated!

Karen said...

I think most folks who follow your blog are writers looking for an agent, and I think the most useful info you could give would be specific examples of books you accept (and why) and books you reject (and why).

But I don't mind the occasional post about your wedding (how exciting!) or your cat. It's a blog, for crying out loud, not the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Seth said...

What do you see as an up-and-coming hot topic? Obviously, vampires are all the rage - what's the next "vampire" category?

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know what an agent does with a new client who's already published. Is it worth it to query on books in a series, when the first several books are already out there (with a reputable publisher, not self-pubbed)? What do you do with a new client who already has books published, and is looking to publish in a different genre?

Anonymous said...

I'm curious about fees. Is it or is it not okay for an agent to charge fees for copying and mailing? Some articles I've read say "yes" some say "never." Apparently "up front" fees are always questionable, right?

Anonymous said...

Pennyoz said...

I loved Nadia Cornier's old blog. She mixed it all in together. Her personality came through and those that followed her probably got an insight into her character and could make up their mind that she was either somebody they'd get on with or not.

So whether it's the wedding (congratulations - people all get so so emotional leading up to it and cry when they see the bride all white dress and flowers walk up the aisle - and cry as they forget all the angst leading up to it LOL)

or the cat:
(cats do know you know) They plan it. No collar? Leave house now.
Getting married in an hour? Don't come back until you are frantic.

Its part of their Attention Deficit Disorder.

Miss Snark left the blog because she was exceedingly intelligent and just got tired of the same question rephrased time and again. Over and over. Ad nauseum.

So a little bit of everything is good. It helps keep the human side of the agent. And not be some beast growling at the door of the writer's whole future being and sense of self.

I agree with you that discussing the queries you get would be almost tantamount to a neighbour peering through the slat at the back fence.

Angelle Trieste, I think that the answer is probably somewhere between make sure there's a chair nearby and you have a frozen dinner in the frig 'cause you sure ain't gonna feel like cooking dinner that day LOL.

Anonymous said...

I've read on many agency websites that the agents do more than just negotiate contracts with publishers. They write that they help "shape" an author's career. What exactly does that mean? Do you suggest different conferences/booksignings to go to, the type of book the author might want to work on next, a better way to market oneself, etc.?