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Pamvhv
08-20-2013, 03:41 AM
Hey guys! I love AW and wanted to start a thread here for you to ask me questions. I'll try to check in every weekday!

General questions are fine, weird questions are fine. My specialties are:
Adult-
Fantasy
Science Fiction
Romance
Erotica

Kid Lit:
MG
YA
NA

MacAllister
08-20-2013, 04:50 AM
HooRAY! and thank you! :)

thothguard51
08-20-2013, 04:57 AM
Thank you Pam...

Hope everyone appreciates the effort...

Mclesh
08-20-2013, 05:00 AM
Cool, Pam! Thanks! (Now following you on Twitter.)

HistorySleuth
08-20-2013, 05:10 AM
That is very generous of you, Pam. Thank you!

Supergirlofnc
08-20-2013, 05:40 AM
It's nice to meet you! I'm going to follow you on twitter like Mclesh. Someone needs to get the questions started! (But not me.)

Pamvhv
08-20-2013, 05:41 AM
Bring on the questions! And the hot guys with drinks and leaves and oh who am I kidding...

Calla Lily
08-20-2013, 05:48 AM
Thank you, Pam!

Jonathan Dalar
08-20-2013, 05:49 AM
Wonderful that you're offering your expertise here, Pam. Thank you.

For those not already following her on Twitter (and the agency account, which she tweets from on occasion) I highly recommend it. Much good advice dispensed.

First question for you: NA is fairly new, and from the (maybe limited) amount I've seen, it seems to be focused on two primary things - sex, and making it on your own in the world for the first time - both things that are key to 20-somethings, and both different from YA. However, from what I've seen, sex (and all things related) seems to be the primary force behind NA, and not just the concept of suddenly being an adult and not knowing how it all works. So, assuming I'm not way off base with my observations here, do you see this changing as the category becomes more firmly rooted in literary norms? Do you see it taking off as a full category, or being relegated to a sub-category of "YA+adult content?"

Pamvhv
08-20-2013, 05:53 AM
Wonderful that you're offering your expertise here, Pam. Thank you.

For those not already following her on Twitter (and the agency account, which she tweets from on occasion) I highly recommend it. Much good advice dispensed.

First question for you: NA is fairly new, and from the (maybe limited) amount I've seen, it seems to be focused on two primary things - sex, and making it on your own in the world for the first time - both things that are key to 20-somethings, and both different from YA. However, from what I've seen, sex (and all things related) seems to be the primary force behind NA, and not just the concept of suddenly being an adult and not knowing how it all works. So, assuming I'm not way off base with my observations here, do you see this changing as the category becomes more firmly rooted in literary norms? Do you see it taking off as a full category, or being relegated to a sub-category of "YA+adult content?"

I'm hoping for NA honestly. Kids enjoy reading up. My daughter is in fourth grade so she's reading books about middle school. There's no fiction for teens to read about the college years.

Right now NA is firmly ensconced in the romance genre. I hope to see it break out and be viable in all genres and become a reading level like YA/MG.

When YA became a thing a shelf was made at the big box stores. Amazon has created a category, Publisher's Marketplace has made it a sale category. Now we need B&N to say, yes this is a viable category, and make some shelving.

When that happens the rest of publishing will take note and it will become more reading level than romance-esque.

Right now, like Bon Jovi, I'm living on a prayer.

You can thank me later for putting that song in your head.

Supergirlofnc
08-20-2013, 06:42 AM
I have a question. This one is sort of brought over from a discussion I saw on another thread. What language do you think is and is not typically acceptable in MG? There's some debate over words like hell, damn, crap, sucks, and screwed. I like them all, but...

Drachen Jager
08-20-2013, 06:55 AM
Since NA isn't a well-established category there are no real rules out yet regarding length and such.

I've written an NA novel, which has had lukewarm response from the agents I've queried so far, one of whom (and a highly placed one at that) said specifically that he'd be interested if it were about 20% longer, but as it stands he feels it would be a tough sell.

Do you think that NA literature can or should be shorter than Adult lit, or should I think about how I can rewrite my manuscript to bring it up to size?

For reference, this is a high-concept, paranormalish/science-fictiony thriller that currently sits a little over 62,000 words. (also part of the problem may be that I'm not sure exactly where it fits genre-wise)

Old Hack
08-20-2013, 10:47 AM
You're a brave woman, Pam. Brace yourself!

Maryn
08-20-2013, 04:44 PM
Bring on the questions! And the hot guys with drinks and leaves and oh who am I kidding...I'm going to lob an easy one in your general direction: what leaves?

Maryn, no figs growing 'round here

Pamvhv
08-20-2013, 07:29 PM
I have a question. This one is sort of brought over from a discussion I saw on another thread. What language do you think is and is not typically acceptable in MG? There's some debate over words like hell, damn, crap, sucks, and screwed. I like them all, but...

For me I like most of those for MG. Hell, damn, and screwed may not work. The problem isn't the agent or the publisher (although I'm sure many of them don't like those words for kids. I'd freak if my 9yo said damn.), it is the fact that kids read up. So it will be 8 and 9 year old kids that read MG books and damn and hell may be too rough for them or the gatekeepers that can reach kids of that age.

I'd say think about the words your mom would let you say at 8 and then spice it up a little from there.

Pamvhv
08-20-2013, 07:34 PM
Since NA isn't a well-established category there are no real rules out yet regarding length and such.

I've written an NA novel, which has had lukewarm response from the agents I've queried so far, one of whom (and a highly placed one at that) said specifically that he'd be interested if it were about 20% longer, but as it stands he feels it would be a tough sell.

Do you think that NA literature can or should be shorter than Adult lit, or should I think about how I can rewrite my manuscript to bring it up to size?

For reference, this is a high-concept, paranormalish/science-fictiony thriller that currently sits a little over 62,000 words. (also part of the problem may be that I'm not sure exactly where it fits genre-wise)

I'm basing my NA word count of YA word counts. 62k is great if it is strictly contemporary/realistic fiction. If it is anything else 75-90k may work better.

I also have tis rule about not listening to one rejection. Because it is so subjective doing that will have you constantly changing your query and your MS.

If three or more agents say the same thing you may have a fundamental problem. Otherwise, take it with a grain of salt.

Also, if you send out 10 queries and get 8 or more rejections at query level, rewrite the query. Then send 10 more and see how that goes.

MandyHubbard
08-20-2013, 09:50 PM
1) Have you always been awesome, or was it a skill you developed?
2) Did you keep the Kitteh?
3) Batman and Chuck Norris in a fist fight. Who wins?

Little Ming
08-20-2013, 10:06 PM
:hi: Pam, thank you for taking your time here.

How important do you think it is for authors to be on social media and/or to self-promote their own books? Would there be any reluctance to signing an author who is not on any social media, but otherwise had a marketable book?

sirensix
08-20-2013, 11:46 PM
Say you request a manuscript on a Tuesday, via email... and receive the requested manuscript the following Monday via email. Is this delay a deal-breaker? How badly will it affect your opinion of the writer in question?

This question in NO way relates to me personally. Of course. Not a bit.

Ton Lew Lepsnaci
08-21-2013, 12:12 AM
Hi Pam,

Many thanks for sharing your insights.

I wonder what your take is on word count for high/epic fantasy submissions? Is word count more flexible at the higher end than for other genres? Are there thresholds above which you won't go (for debuts)? Is there an indicative word count for this genre that is unlikely to lead to a request for cuts? Does it depend on the publisher? I've read on a number of occasions that the genre is treated differently when it comes to word count, but also that this only goes for established authors.

kevinwaynewilliams
08-21-2013, 03:54 AM
I notice that your specialties don't include horror. That's not unusual: it seems like many of the agents that do include horror as a specialty don't actually place a lot of it. So, why is that? Why is it that finding an agent that actively sells horror is so difficult?

Karen Junker
08-21-2013, 04:23 AM
Hi, Pam,

Thanks for coming to AW to take questions!

I have one: Several of the critters I've asked to read my work do not know what the word 'Beltane' means. Do I need to explain in the manuscript or just hope that any future readers will either look it up or know what it means?

PS I keep a pencil and paper handy when I'm reading some authors so I can write down any words that I don't know and look them up later, but I may be unusual in this practice. PPS I was in the 98th percentile in verbal ability in the GRE, so I love it when I find a word I don't know and have to look it up.

HistorySleuth
08-21-2013, 05:32 AM
I've been writing on and off for a while an adventure story for NA range before there was such a thing. I put it down for a while as at the time I was told there was no market for that age range. I picked it up again and I toyed with making it YA. Then about a year ago I had an agent tell me treasure adventures are not really a YA thing but more for MG.

So now I'm confused. Adults read (for example) DiVinci Code or Clive Cussler's books. It can't be the only young people these days who like adventures are middle grade, can it?

I intend to go back to my original plan, but I don't know, some of the YA I pick up seems so depressing, I hope there is more to NA. Not all teens have abusive homes, on drugs, been raped or chased by vampires, right? Am I just picking up the wrong books?

Hope that's not too many questions....

Tromboli
08-21-2013, 06:30 AM
Oh! This is actually perfect.

Something I've been thinking about and wanted to hear what an agent had to say about it:

One of the novels I'm currently looking to publish is an "edgy" YA, it deals with a particular, fairly dark, issue )(is this ironic based on the last question?hmm.) But I'm in the revision stages of a MG fantasy. In this case, assuming I publish both, would you suggest a pseudonym for one of them?

I do have another question, but I'll wait my turn for that one.

Thanks so much for this! Love the agent/writer support.

Pamvhv
08-21-2013, 07:03 AM
Oh! This is actually perfect.

Something I've been thinking about and wanted to hear what an agent had to say about it:

One of the novels I'm currently looking to publish is an "edgy" YA, it deals with a particular, fairly dark, issue )(is this ironic based on the last question?hmm.) But I'm in the revision stages of a MG fantasy. In this case, assuming I publish both, would you suggest a pseudonym for one of them?

I do have another question, but I'll wait my turn for that one.

Thanks so much for this! Love the agent/writer support.

I honestly don't think a pen name is needed between MG and YA. :) I love both and know a ton of writers who write in both. Edgy or no.

Pamvhv
08-21-2013, 07:04 AM
1) Have you always been awesome, or was it a skill you developed?
2) Did you keep the Kitteh?
3) Batman and Chuck Norris in a fist fight. Who wins?

1. I became this awesome the day I met you, Mandy.
2. No kitteh has to go.
3. Batman.

Filigree
08-21-2013, 07:05 AM
Thank you for giving your time and expertise, Pam. I notice that you've listed an interest in fantasy, science fiction, romance, and erotica genres. I've seen a lot of crossover SFF books in the erotic romance field, and I wanted to know how you felt about representing such crossovers.

They're gaining a wider following among romance readers. Even so, I've heard that many of my fellow erotic romance writers plan to write mainstream fantasy or science fiction as well, to broaden their readership. I love my ER mms, but I'm also looking to branch out as well. I'm lucky that my agent handles both.

Pamvhv
08-21-2013, 07:06 AM
:hi: Pam, thank you for taking your time here.

How important do you think it is for authors to be on social media and/or to self-promote their own books? Would there be any reluctance to signing an author who is not on any social media, but otherwise had a marketable book?

I actually have two authors (one I've sold) who has zero social media. I do expect that to change closer to release date and I'm sure that me and his publicist will help him adapt. People want access to authors. I don't want you to spend your writing time there but you can make an appearance.

Pamvhv
08-21-2013, 07:07 AM
Say you request a manuscript on a Tuesday, via email... and receive the requested manuscript the following Monday via email. Is this delay a deal-breaker? How badly will it affect your opinion of the writer in question?

This question in NO way relates to me personally. Of course. Not a bit.

I read through them in the order they are received and it has ZERO sway on my opinion at all.

Pamvhv
08-21-2013, 07:08 AM
Hi Pam,

Many thanks for sharing your insights.

I wonder what your take is on word count for high/epic fantasy submissions? Is word count more flexible at the higher end than for other genres? Are there thresholds above which you won't go (for debuts)? Is there an indicative word count for this genre that is unlikely to lead to a request for cuts? Does it depend on the publisher? I've read on a number of occasions that the genre is treated differently when it comes to word count, but also that this only goes for established authors.


For fantasy I've personally been asking for 100-120k for debut. That's me personally and I don't speak for every agent. It makes it easier for me to sell as there are only so many fantasy editors and I personally like to read fantasy in that range so subjectivity plays a role.

Pamvhv
08-21-2013, 07:10 AM
I notice that your specialties don't include horror. That's not unusual: it seems like many of the agents that do include horror as a specialty don't actually place a lot of it. So, why is that? Why is it that finding an agent that actively sells horror is so difficult?


I would love to answer this but as you so astutely pointed out my specialty isn't horror. And that's because I don't read it. I have a few blogger friends that love it and from reading their blogs I assume that the horror has another angle to it as well. Thriller aspects or a mystery. Maybe right now in this market horror works best with cross-genre appeal. But I really don't know anything for sure :).

Pamvhv
08-21-2013, 07:12 AM
Hi, Pam,

Thanks for coming to AW to take questions!

I have one: Several of the critters I've asked to read my work do not know what the word 'Beltane' means. Do I need to explain in the manuscript or just hope that any future readers will either look it up or know what it means?

PS I keep a pencil and paper handy when I'm reading some authors so I can write down any words that I don't know and look them up later, but I may be unusual in this practice. PPS I was in the 98th percentile in verbal ability in the GRE, so I love it when I find a word I don't know and have to look it up.

If I can't ascertain the meaning of the word in the context I ask the author to change it. I like to think I have good reading comprehension and a larger than normal vocabulary. If I don't get it probably no one else will either. So explain it or lose it. Especially if several 'critters' didn't get the meaning immediately.

My rule is if I hear the same thing more than three times I know I need to change something.

Pamvhv
08-21-2013, 07:14 AM
I've been writing on and off for a while an adventure story for NA range before there was such a thing. I put it down for a while as at the time I was told there was no market for that age range. I picked it up again and I toyed with making it YA. Then about a year ago I had an agent tell me treasure adventures are not really a YA thing but more for MG.

So now I'm confused. Adults read (for example) DiVinci Code or Clive Cussler's books. It can't be the only young people these days who like adventures are middle grade, can it?

I intend to go back to my original plan, but I don't know, some of the YA I pick up seems so depressing, I hope there is more to NA. Not all teens have abusive homes, on drugs, been raped or chased by vampires, right? Am I just picking up the wrong books?

Hope that's not too many questions....


I think you're picking up the wrong books! But I do have to agree that right now I don't see much of a market for adventure stories. BUT, your book could be the book that changes that. There wasn't a ton of dystopia before The Hunger Games, Collins changed that. I say do your own thing, baby!

swvaughn
08-21-2013, 05:23 PM
Ask Pam van Hylckama Vlieg

My question: Is all that really your name?

Because that is an amazing name. It calls to mind Vikings and Volbeat. :D

*wanders off singing Sad Man's Tongue*

Pamvhv
08-21-2013, 08:17 PM
My question: Is all that really your name?

Because that is an amazing name. It calls to mind Vikings and Volbeat. :D

*wanders off singing Sad Man's Tongue*

Yes! That is my last name. My husband is from Rotterdam and there are less than 700 families in the Netherlands with this name. It is actually hard for Dutch people to pronounce upon viewing it. So we Americans have no chance.

Phonetically: vaughn heel-COMMA vleeg.

stormie
08-21-2013, 08:46 PM
Well with such a unique name, people wouldn't forget you. :)

Thanks for starting this thread, Pam. Much appreciated!

Okay, question. I am plotting my next novel (and I know this is early in the game), but I'm toying with the idea that it would have spirits (as in ghosts, not my usual Rumpleminz Peppermint Schnapps), time travel, a bit of mystery, and a touch of romance. (Kind of doubtful on the romance, but I never know where my story will take me.) What would be the classification and/or sub-classifications?

Pamvhv
08-21-2013, 08:50 PM
Well with such a unique name, people wouldn't forget you. :)

Thanks for starting this thread, Pam. Much appreciated!

Okay, question. I am plotting my next novel (and I know this is early in the game), but I'm toying with the idea that it would have spirits (as in ghosts, not my usual Rumpleminz Peppermint Schnapps), time travel, a bit of mystery, and a touch of romance. (Kind of doubtful on the romance, but I never know where my story will take me.) What would be the classification and/or sub-classifications?

Adult or kid-lit? I would go with speculative and let the agent decide which market to send it out under at the time :).

swvaughn
08-21-2013, 09:00 PM
Yes! That is my last name. My husband is from Rotterdam and there are less than 700 families in the Netherlands with this name. It is actually hard for Dutch people to pronounce upon viewing it. So we Americans have no chance.

Phonetically: vaughn heel-COMMA vleeg.

Aha! That's why it got Volbeat stuck in my head (they're a Danish rock/metal band). Thanks for the explanation -- and the pronunciation!

And thanks for making this thread. It's awesome of you to answer questions. :)

stormie
08-21-2013, 09:04 PM
Adult or kid-lit? I would go with speculative and let the agent decide which market to send it out under at the time :).
Adult. Usually I don't bother until after the first draft of the novel is written, but thought I'd ask now. Thanks!

Corinne Duyvis
08-21-2013, 10:12 PM
Yes! That is my last name. My husband is from Rotterdam and there are less than 700 families in the Netherlands with this name. It is actually hard for Dutch people to pronounce upon viewing it. So we Americans have no chance.

Phonetically: vaughn heel-COMMA vleeg.

Ha--a friend and I were just discussing your name the other day ;) She didn't know how to pronounce it. Van & Vlieg are simple, but the rest tripped her up. I didn't quite get why because it's pretty straightforward?

Anyway. Dutch represent ~

Cranky1
08-21-2013, 10:54 PM
I read through them in the order they are received and it has ZERO sway on my opinion at all.

How long before it does hold sway? If you request a full, but the writer takes two weeks to respond, would that leave a sour taste in your mouth?

Netz
08-22-2013, 01:21 AM
Hey guys! I love AW and wanted to start a thread here for you to ask me questions. I'll try to check in every weekday!


:e2woo:


Cool, Pam! Thanks! (Now following you on Twitter.)

:cool: Ditto to the first part!

<Feels smug about the second part cos I'm already following Pam> :D

FCameron
08-22-2013, 01:36 AM
Your expertise is appreciated.

In one of my thriller projects, the main character is eighteen and out on her own for the first time.

Will the age of my main character automatically put my novel in the NA category?

Thank you.

Little Ming
08-22-2013, 02:28 AM
Hello again Pam, I hope you don't mind if I ask some more questions. :)

How would you handle an Author Behaving Badly? For example, one who has/is having a very public meltdown in response to a negative review.

Do you do a Google/Yahoo/Bing search on an author before offering representation? Is there anything that would make you reconsider offering? For example, the Author is/was Behaving Badly.

Do you have any opinion(s) on query-mills (services that write query letters for authors) or authors who use these services?

And again, thank you. :)

Cranky1
08-22-2013, 02:33 AM
Do you do a Google/Yahoo/Bing search on an author before offering representation? Is there anything that would make you reconsider offering? For example, the Author is/was Behaving Badly.

Great question!

SBibb
08-22-2013, 04:07 AM
Thanks for stopping by. :-)

In regards to the social media questions, do agents want or like to see an author who has created a basic website in regards to their current works in progress, even if they aren't agented yet?

Also, say an author also enjoys drawing their characters or doing other art forms based around their manuscripts and posts their work on a public site (such as Deviant Art, Flickr, etc), does this pose a problem later on down the road to publication?

Thanks again for taking the time to read through and respond to this thread. :-)

gingerwoman
08-22-2013, 10:44 AM
Thank you so much Pam. I hope I am not going to be taking too much of a liberty asking you a bunch of questions, and if it's too much please pick and choose the ones you want to answer.
:-)

I've often read kind of ridiculous claims online, like "it is easier to win the lottery than be accepted by an agent." Personally I haven't tried that path yet, having submitted straight to publishers instead. What would you like to say to people who believe that? Can you say roughly what % of manuscripts you take on?


On Twitter I saw a hashtag where agents tweeted about what they were most interested in seeing. 90% of tweets were for middle grade and YA. Is that representative? (It was supposed to be for all agents.)


If an author has published before without an agent how important would past sales numbers be in your decision to take them on, or would the manuscript submitted be the primary consideration?

What if an author had a social media presence with a pen name in one genre, but sent you a book in a different genre? Would you advise them to create a new identity, or use the one that already had a lot of followers?

Old Hack
08-22-2013, 12:57 PM
I've swept the messy derail posts out into their own thread in TIO (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=276186), and hope that this thread will now carry on without any more such foolishness. Thanks, all.

buz
08-22-2013, 03:17 PM
Reposting this for moth, since it got moved and I'm useless otherwise:




To Pam: On the subject of social media, is it a turn-off if an author doesn't ever want to engage in Facebook, Twitter, etc.?

moth
08-22-2013, 06:38 PM
Aw thanks buz! I was just about to re-post it. :)

kolemcrae
08-22-2013, 06:53 PM
What are your thoughts on short novels? Lets pick a number at random, totally out of the air like.... 51000 words..ish. Is that a major turn off? Is it a positive (cheaper to produce) ?

Tromboli
08-22-2013, 07:29 PM
What are your thoughts on short novels? Lets pick a number at random, totally out of the air like.... 51000 words..ish. Is that a major turn off? Is it a positive (cheaper to produce) ?

Psst. A genre would help her answer this. Just a heads up :)

asroc
08-22-2013, 07:47 PM
To Pam: On the subject of social media, is it a turn-off if an author doesn't ever want to engage in Facebook, Twitter, etc.?I'd be interested in this, too. I read an article about the topic a while ago where an agent stated that he googles every new author that catches his interest, and if he can't find anything about the author on the internet it's an instant pass. That's worrisome. Is that attitude common?

Question 2: I'm in the early stages of a new book that I classify as YA for now. The MC is 18 and about to graduate high school at the beginning, but the story might cover another couple of years. Would this potentially qualify as NA?

Thank you for doing this!

kolemcrae
08-22-2013, 09:56 PM
Psst. A genre would help her answer this. Just a heads up :)

Commercial fiction I guess... I know things like fantasy tend to be long and YA tend to be short (same with romance) But what about modern commercial fiction?

Old Hack
08-22-2013, 10:34 PM
To give Pam a bit of a break I'm going to answer a few questions here which I think I'm qualified to answer. That's not to say that Pam won't also step in and discuss things, but it does mean she can concentrate on the points which only she can answer, if she'd prefer.

(I hope that's ok, Pam, and everyone else.)


I'm often read kind of ridiculous claims online, like "it is easier to win the lottery than be accepted by an agent." Personally I haven't tried that path yet, having submitted straight to publishers instead. What would you like to say to people who believe that?

If you compare the number of submissions with the number of writers offered representation, then yep, it looks almost impossible to win this particular lottery.

But what you're missing there is that the odds are not the same across the board. Some books have an excellent chance of finding an agent and attracting the interests of several publishers; but a lot more books have no chance at all of ever getting published by a good trade publisher. That might be because they're far too short, far too long, or--more usually--because they're just not good enough.

How to judge the odds for our own books? Work with good beta readers, know your own genre inside and out, polish your book until it shines, and be prepared to listen carefully to and understand all criticism you receive.

I make that last point because beginner-writers often argue with the good advice they're given: in fact, I saw a perfect example of this online yesterday (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kJWTbsjbR4) (check out Carole's face at about 10.50: oh dear!).

There's an excellent blog post on Making Light called Slushkiller which is, I think, linked to in our Publishing Resources room, where the various reasons for rejection are discussed: it's worth a read, as are the comments which follow it.


On Twitter I saw a hashtag where agents tweeted about what they were most interested in seeing. 90% of tweets were for middle grade and YA. Is that representative? (It was supposed to be for all agents.)

That's representative of the agents who were tweeting at that time, but not representative of all good agents.

gingerwoman
08-23-2013, 04:01 AM
To give Pam a bit of a break I'm going to answer a few questions here which I think I'm qualified to answer. That's not to say that Pam won't also step in and discuss things, but it does mean she can concentrate on the points which only she can answer, if she'd prefer.

(I hope that's ok, Pam, and everyone else.)



If you compare the number of submissions with the number of writers offered representation, then yep, it looks almost impossible to win this particular lottery.

But what you're missing there is that the odds are not the same across the board. Some books have an excellent chance of finding an agent and attracting the interests of several publishers; but a lot more books have no chance at all of ever getting published by a good trade publisher.
Well this is kind of what I suspected, I get annoyed with how often I read online that everyone should self publish because agents (AND publishers) are supposedly SUCH a closed shop, so I thought it would be interesting to read an agents response to all that.
I think my publisher ends up contracting something like 4% of slush pile manuscripts. I wondered how that compares to agencies, but perhaps numbers would give an unfair perspective here. Perhaps agents receive even more completely unsuitable submissions.

Old Hack
08-23-2013, 10:48 AM
I hate that "closed shop" thing too: it's just not true. All publishers and agents want is a great book to work on. It helps if the author is professional and thoughtful too, of course!

As far as percentages go, that's a difficult one because much depends on how you play with the numbers. If you use a percentage of all submissions then you get tiny numbers; if you use a percentage of the submissions which are in genres the agent/agency represents then the number will be higher. But it still wouldn't be a big number. Do read Slushkiller, it's very interesting.

Carole is one of the UK's top agents: getting her to represent you is a significant thing. She mentions how many submissions she gets each week in the link I provided in my previous posts: I think she said around fifty each week (I expected it to be more), and she's taken on just two new clients in the last six years.

Both of her new clients were unpublished writers without any real track record when she took them on.

Jonathan Dalar
08-23-2013, 10:09 PM
I hate that "closed shop" thing too: it's just not true. All publishers and agents want is a great book to work on. It helps if the author is professional and thoughtful too, of course!

Yep. More books are being published now than ever before, traditionally or otherwise. The more books that are published, the more nonpunishable manuscripts and proposals they're going to see.

ironmikezero
08-23-2013, 11:12 PM
Reposting this for moth, since it got moved and I'm useless otherwise:

Yeah, I'm curious, too... re: no social media presence - and none anticipated (firm personal choice per author)..?

Old Hack
08-24-2013, 01:25 AM
I don't know how Pam feels about it, but I know of several writers who don't use social media, and still managed to get a good agent and a good publishing deal. Some agents or editors might be put off; others won't be. That doesn't mean it's not a help to have those things, just that if your book is good enough publishers won't care about the other stuff.

Mr Flibble
08-24-2013, 01:49 AM
Yeah, I'm curious, too... re: no social media presence - and none anticipated (firm personal choice per author)..?


Our writers group had a talk from a prominent editor in SFF a while ago, who said he'd just taken on someone with no social media presence

And I was also on a panel a couple of weeks ago where it was posited that social presence is like a +2 bonus roll. It's nice. It helps*. It's not essential. (same with IRL stuff. Frex KJ Parker -- no one except his/her editors even know what gender s/he is! never mind anything else. And her fan base is pretty rabid) That I like to chat on forums and do panels is a bonus for my publisher. It's not why they took the book on.

ETA: They do (a fair few do anyway) google you to make sure you aren't a complete loon, but if you have no presence that won't be an issue...

*And hey, if you got a book deal you'd want to help in any way you can with sales, right? But if you feel you can't do this particular thing....there are ways around it. You can do interviews rather than blog, or tweet, you can do this rather than that. There will probably be something you feel up to. If not, well, if the book is good, they'll take it on anyway. Because my promo = a bonus. Not a given.

That said -- the smaller the press, the more they might want/expect you to do (the small presses I've been with have expected FAR more from their authors than Orbit)

Stylo
08-24-2013, 10:39 PM
I have read before that writers should always send agents exactly what they have specified on their website regarding sample chapters. I've written a MG book and the chapters are in the form of letters so subsequently are quite short... am I right to be worried that I'm not sending in enough material through being a stickler for rules? Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this.

Pamvhv
08-25-2013, 01:17 AM
OH! My email hasn't been sending these lovely questions through. I'll be answering them all tonight!

Pamvhv
08-25-2013, 04:26 AM
How long before it does hold sway? If you request a full, but the writer takes two weeks to respond, would that leave a sour taste in your mouth?

Two weeks wouldn't kill me but it may some.

Pamvhv
08-25-2013, 04:27 AM
Your expertise is appreciated.

In one of my thriller projects, the main character is eighteen and out on her own for the first time.

Will the age of my main character automatically put my novel in the NA category?

Thank you.

Eighteen is really borderline. It will depend on the project.

Pamvhv
08-25-2013, 04:33 AM
Hello again Pam, I hope you don't mind if I ask some more questions. :)

How would you handle an Author Behaving Badly? For example, one who has/is having a very public meltdown in response to a negative review.

Do you do a Google/Yahoo/Bing search on an author before offering representation? Is there anything that would make you reconsider offering? For example, the Author is/was Behaving Badly.

Do you have any opinion(s) on query-mills (services that write query letters for authors) or authors who use these services?

And again, thank you. :)


I should Google but I always forget because I'm so excited about the writing. But most of the authors behaving badly cases I hear about as it happens as I'm friends with a metric ton of bloggers. When I do sign an author I give them a list of acceptable ways to deal with reviews and bloggers :).

I do not answer queries that come from a third party. I really believe in that author/agent relationship and view it as a marriage. So I really want to hear from the author and I want me and the author to connect. I can't connect with the author if I'm hearing from a third party.

Pamvhv
08-25-2013, 04:35 AM
Thanks for stopping by. :-)

In regards to the social media questions, do agents want or like to see an author who has created a basic website in regards to their current works in progress, even if they aren't agented yet?

Also, say an author also enjoys drawing their characters or doing other art forms based around their manuscripts and posts their work on a public site (such as Deviant Art, Flickr, etc), does this pose a problem later on down the road to publication?

Thanks again for taking the time to read through and respond to this thread. :-)

I don't need a website beforehand but I do think that it can't hurt! Posting your works online is frowned upon. Save it for the publisher!

Pamvhv
08-25-2013, 04:39 AM
Thank you so much Pam. I hope I am not going to be taking too much of a liberty asking you a bunch of questions, and if it's too much please pick and choose the ones you want to answer.
:-)

I've often read kind of ridiculous claims online, like "it is easier to win the lottery than be accepted by an agent." Personally I haven't tried that path yet, having submitted straight to publishers instead. What would you like to say to people who believe that? Can you say roughly what % of manuscripts you take on?


On Twitter I saw a hashtag where agents tweeted about what they were most interested in seeing. 90% of tweets were for middle grade and YA. Is that representative? (It was supposed to be for all agents.)


If an author has published before without an agent how important would past sales numbers be in your decision to take them on, or would the manuscript submitted be the primary consideration?

What if an author had a social media presence with a pen name in one genre, but sent you a book in a different genre? Would you advise them to create a new identity, or use the one that already had a lot of followers?


I feel like I take on a lot from the amount of fulls and partials I request. I don't feel like I request even half of what gets submitted though. If you have a good product there IS an agent out there for you. My friend Yasmine Gaelorn racked up hundreds of rejections before finding the perfect agent for her work. Now she's a bestselling author!

The adult agents are out there. Whether they're on Twitter playing with that hashtag is hard to say. I know when I participated in that tag I did three tweets. One for MG, one for YA, and one for the adult books I wanted.

If you were published by a big six with crappy sales numbers I might take a moment and think hard about how much I love the unpublished MS before I took it on. If you're coming from a small press and I love the MS I'm more likely to take it on because the only way to go is up!

That depends. If you're going from erotica to picture books I might advise initials :P. Otherwise I think it is okay, but I'm also very forward thinking on that front.

Pamvhv
08-25-2013, 04:40 AM
Reposting this for moth, since it got moved and I'm useless otherwise:


Never wanting to do social media of any kind ever is a big turnoff.

Pamvhv
08-25-2013, 04:41 AM
What are your thoughts on short novels? Lets pick a number at random, totally out of the air like.... 51000 words..ish. Is that a major turn off? Is it a positive (cheaper to produce) ?

Depends on the genre but that's not so low that I don't think we could expand upon it.

Pamvhv
08-25-2013, 04:42 AM
I'd be interested in this, too. I read an article about the topic a while ago where an agent stated that he googles every new author that catches his interest, and if he can't find anything about the author on the internet it's an instant pass. That's worrisome. Is that attitude common?

Question 2: I'm in the early stages of a new book that I classify as YA for now. The MC is 18 and about to graduate high school at the beginning, but the story might cover another couple of years. Would this potentially qualify as NA?

Thank you for doing this!

Several of my authors do not have any online presence. YET. But they're willing to do the work when the time comes. I think that an instant pass for no online presence for fiction is ridiculous.

Pamvhv
08-25-2013, 04:42 AM
To give Pam a bit of a break I'm going to answer a few questions here which I think I'm qualified to answer. That's not to say that Pam won't also step in and discuss things, but it does mean she can concentrate on the points which only she can answer, if she'd prefer.

(I hope that's ok, Pam, and everyone else.)



If you compare the number of submissions with the number of writers offered representation, then yep, it looks almost impossible to win this particular lottery.

But what you're missing there is that the odds are not the same across the board. Some books have an excellent chance of finding an agent and attracting the interests of several publishers; but a lot more books have no chance at all of ever getting published by a good trade publisher. That might be because they're far too short, far too long, or--more usually--because they're just not good enough.

How to judge the odds for our own books? Work with good beta readers, know your own genre inside and out, polish your book until it shines, and be prepared to listen carefully to and understand all criticism you receive.

I make that last point because beginner-writers often argue with the good advice they're given: in fact, I saw a perfect example of this online yesterday (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kJWTbsjbR4) (check out Carole's face at about 10.50: oh dear!).

There's an excellent blog post on Making Light called Slushkiller which is, I think, linked to in our Publishing Resources room, where the various reasons for rejection are discussed: it's worth a read, as are the comments which follow it.



That's representative of the agents who were tweeting at that time, but not representative of all good agents.

Awesome answers! Jump in anytime!

Pamvhv
08-25-2013, 04:45 AM
Our writers group had a talk from a prominent editor in SFF a while ago, who said he'd just taken on someone with no social media presence

And I was also on a panel a couple of weeks ago where it was posited that social presence is like a +2 bonus roll. It's nice. It helps*. It's not essential. (same with IRL stuff. Frex KJ Parker -- no one except his/her editors even know what gender s/he is! never mind anything else. And her fan base is pretty rabid) That I like to chat on forums and do panels is a bonus for my publisher. It's not why they took the book on.

ETA: They do (a fair few do anyway) google you to make sure you aren't a complete loon, but if you have no presence that won't be an issue...

*And hey, if you got a book deal you'd want to help in any way you can with sales, right? But if you feel you can't do this particular thing....there are ways around it. You can do interviews rather than blog, or tweet, you can do this rather than that. There will probably be something you feel up to. If not, well, if the book is good, they'll take it on anyway. Because my promo = a bonus. Not a given.

That said -- the smaller the press, the more they might want/expect you to do (the small presses I've been with have expected FAR more from their authors than Orbit)


Ditto to the thing about smaller presses wanting more from the author than Orbit or another big pub.

Pamvhv
08-25-2013, 04:46 AM
I have read before that writers should always send agents exactly what they have specified on their website regarding sample chapters. I've written a MG book and the chapters are in the form of letters so subsequently are quite short... am I right to be worried that I'm not sending in enough material through being a stickler for rules? Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this.

Stick to the rules but explain why it is short in the last sentence of the query :).

Cranky1
08-25-2013, 05:29 AM
Two weeks wouldn't kill me but it may some.

I'll be going on vacation soon and won't have access to my manuscript. I can send a note explaining the delay.


Thank you for taking time to answer our questions! Enjoy your weekend!

gingerwoman
08-25-2013, 05:42 AM
I feel like I take on a lot from the amount of fulls and partials I request. I don't feel like I request even half of what gets submitted though. If you have a good product there IS an agent out there for you. My friend Yasmine Gaelorn racked up hundreds of rejections before finding the perfect agent for her work. Now she's a bestselling author!

The adult agents are out there. Whether they're on Twitter playing with that hashtag is hard to say. I know when I participated in that tag I did three tweets. One for MG, one for YA, and one for the adult books I wanted.

If you were published by a big six with crappy sales numbers I might take a moment and think hard about how much I love the unpublished MS before I took it on. If you're coming from a small press and I love the MS I'm more likely to take it on because the only way to go is up!

That depends. If you're going from erotica to picture books I might advise initials :P. Otherwise I think it is okay, but I'm also very forward thinking on that front.
Thank you. :)

SBibb
08-26-2013, 01:08 AM
I don't need a website beforehand but I do think that it can't hurt! Posting your works online is frowned upon. Save it for the publisher!

So even posting drawings and such would be frowned upon? Interesting, thanks for the input.

And thanks for answering all these questions. :-)

Pamvhv
08-26-2013, 01:10 AM
So even posting drawings and such would be frowned upon? Interesting, thanks for the input.

And thanks for answering all these questions. :-)

I don't think the drawings would unless they're top secret illustrations.

Maryn
08-26-2013, 01:21 AM
(Maryn grins, imagining all the "top secret" illustrations for her erotica.)

moth
08-26-2013, 01:29 AM
Never wanting to do social media of any kind ever is a big turnoff.
Ack, that's what I was afraid of, but thank you. For all the questions, not just this one :)

Follow-up: If an author would be okay with social media under a pen name, are there any turn-offs or potential issues with that?

Edit -- I suddenly feel very naive asking that, but I'll leave it up anyway.

gingerwoman
08-26-2013, 01:42 AM
Originally Posted by Pamvhv http://absolutewrite.com/forums/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=8388398#post8388398)
Never wanting to do social media of any kind ever is a big turnoff.
Ack, that's what I was afraid of, but thank you.


Wow I'm amazed how many people THIS is the big question they want to ask an agent. I've been sitting back amazed, and not saying anything, so as not to derail, but I'm getting more and more baffled. lol
I'm pretty sure the social media presence needs to be under the name you are published under. Mine ls. Which is not my real name.

edit...sorry moth :-( I didn't just say that because of you, there have been several questions on this, and I'm just really surprised. It's rare that I find anything easy that other people apparently find difficult. lol

mellymel
08-26-2013, 03:27 AM
^^ I think the social media thing is a very important topic to bring up, discuss, and ask about. Things have changed dramatically in the past decade with how social media plays a role in author's lives and how well a book can do or not do based on the presence of social media or lack thereof.

You also have to realize that there are many people who are not comfortable putting themselves out there in the world of social media, or who have avoided things like FB or other online social networks because of the fears/dangers of harrassment, stalking, and identity theft that are sometimes associated with them. There is a fine line one must walk when it comes to all things online and I think asking questions about it is a very legitimate and smart thing to do.

That is all.

Carry on. :)

SBibb
08-26-2013, 04:16 AM
I don't think the drawings would unless they're top secret illustrations.

Okay, cool. Thanks for clarifying. :-)

GingerGunlock
08-26-2013, 04:22 AM
What is the current convention on "bad words" in a query? I don't mean f-bombs throughout, but rather a judicious use to represent just the kind of person a main character might be.

katci13
08-26-2013, 05:51 AM
How important is it to nail down the genre in a query?
My MCs are 17 and 19 and live on their own. I don't know if it's YA or NA or neither. Can I just leave that off and say it's a contemporary fantasy?

gingerwoman
08-26-2013, 07:54 AM
You also have to realize that there are many people who are not comfortable putting themselves out there in the world of social media, or who have avoided things like FB or other online social networks because of the fears/dangers of harrassment, stalking, and i :)
Ah I see. I never thought there would be so many.I thought people were just being nervous about how to do it. But yes I have dealt with cyber stalking myself. There are many reasons to use a pen name.

RaggedEdge
08-26-2013, 06:54 PM
For fantasy I've personally been asking for 100-120k for debut. That's me personally and I don't speak for every agent. It makes it easier for me to sell as there are only so many fantasy editors and I personally like to read fantasy in that range so subjectivity plays a role.

Hi Pam,

I was glad to see your response regarding word count for fantasy, and that's the range I like to read fantasy in, too. My question is in regards to my ms, which is an early YA contemporary fantasy (or low fantasy). It ended up at 103K after several beta readers went through it. I know it has very good pacing and can only think of about 1500 words I can cut, although cutting those will lessen the antagonist's weight in the story. Do you think I'm shooting myself in the foot sending it out at that length? I read how debut YA is reaching the upper end at 90K, so I wonder how flexible that might be for a contemporary fantasy. I understand your answer won't reflect all agents. Thank you for making yourself available!

Pamvhv
08-27-2013, 05:36 AM
Ack, that's what I was afraid of, but thank you. For all the questions, not just this one :)

Follow-up: If an author would be okay with social media under a pen name, are there any turn-offs or potential issues with that?

Edit -- I suddenly feel very naive asking that, but I'll leave it up anyway.


As long as it is the pen name on your books that is perfectly acceptable!

Pamvhv
08-27-2013, 05:37 AM
What is the current convention on "bad words" in a query? I don't mean f-bombs throughout, but rather a judicious use to represent just the kind of person a main character might be.

If your character is doing it and it is in good taste I don't see why not use them ;).

Pamvhv
08-27-2013, 05:38 AM
How important is it to nail down the genre in a query?
My MCs are 17 and 19 and live on their own. I don't know if it's YA or NA or neither. Can I just leave that off and say it's a contemporary fantasy?

If you don't know don't guess so I think contemporary fantasy works great.

Pamvhv
08-27-2013, 05:38 AM
Hi Pam,

I was glad to see your response regarding word count for fantasy, and that's the range I like to read fantasy in, too. My question is in regards to my ms, which is an early YA contemporary fantasy (or low fantasy). It ended up at 103K after several beta readers went through it. I know it has very good pacing and can only think of about 1500 words I can cut, although cutting those will lessen the antagonist's weight in the story. Do you think I'm shooting myself in the foot sending it out at that length? I read how debut YA is reaching the upper end at 90K, so I wonder how flexible that might be for a contemporary fantasy. I understand your answer won't reflect all agents. Thank you for making yourself available!

If I really liked the subject matter I'd take a look at it for sure.

RaggedEdge
08-27-2013, 07:05 AM
Pam, thank you for answering! You're an encouragement to many here, I'm sure.

gingerwoman
08-27-2013, 03:59 PM
Someone on Yahoo Answers who claims they know a lot about publishing just claimed that no editing is done by Big Six publishers any more, but that it is all done by the agent, and that the publishers expect it to arrive "publish ready" and do no editing?
My experience is with an independent publisher who did four rounds of edits, and I thought the Big Five/Six would be the same? Is there any truth to what this person said? Thank you.

buz
08-27-2013, 04:06 PM
Someone on Yahoo Answers who claims they know a lot about publishing just claimed that no editing is done by Big Six publishers any more, but that it is all done by the agent, and that the publishers expect it to arrive "publish ready" and do no editing?
My experience is with an independent publisher who did four rounds of edits, and I thought the Big Five/Six would be the same? Is there any truth to what this person said? Thank you.

When seeking answers, never look to Yahoo Answers.

Tromboli
08-27-2013, 06:05 PM
When seeking answers, never look to Yahoo Answers.

Wise words

thothguard51
08-27-2013, 06:32 PM
Someone on Yahoo Answers who claims they know a lot about publishing just claimed that no editing is done by Big Six publishers any more, but that it is all done by the agent, and that the publishers expect it to arrive "publish ready" and do no editing?

Typical self publish Kool-Aid pitch...

Pamvhv
08-27-2013, 06:45 PM
Someone on Yahoo Answers who claims they know a lot about publishing just claimed that no editing is done by Big Six publishers any more, but that it is all done by the agent, and that the publishers expect it to arrive "publish ready" and do no editing?
My experience is with an independent publisher who did four rounds of edits, and I thought the Big Five/Six would be the same? Is there any truth to what this person said? Thank you.

Not all agents edit and that statement is so broad and so, so, so wrong. Every client I've sold whether it is small press or big six has gone through intensive edits.

ap123
08-27-2013, 08:24 PM
Hi Pam,

Thank you for answering questions here :)

Yet another fuzzy genre question,

Would it be an automatic turn off to you if the genre named/described in a query makes it clear the manuscript rides the border between a couple of genres? (blech, even the question is fuzzy)

I hate not being concise, but don't want to be misleading in the query. I've got a manuscript that has elements of urban fantasy, romance, and magical realism. I don't think Paranormal Romance works because a) you could remove the romance, and b) there are no vampires, witches, weres, etc. The closest I've seen on the bookshelves is labeled MR, but the vast majority of MR novels are "heavier" reading than this.

Thank you!

Pamvhv
08-27-2013, 08:26 PM
Hi Pam,

Thank you for answering questions here :)

Yet another fuzzy genre question,

Would it be an automatic turn off to you if the genre named/described in a query makes it clear the manuscript rides the border between a couple of genres? (blech, even the question is fuzzy)

I hate not being concise, but don't want to be misleading in the query. I've got a manuscript that has elements of urban fantasy, romance, and magical realism. I don't think Paranormal Romance works because a) you could remove the romance, and b) there are no vampires, witches, weres, etc. The closest I've seen on the bookshelves is labeled MR, but the vast majority of MR novels are "heavier" reading than this.

Thank you!

Which is the prevalent theme? If Urban Fantasy I'd go with that.

ap123
08-27-2013, 08:35 PM
Which is the prevalent theme? If Urban Fantasy I'd go with that.

Thanks so much :)

augusto
08-27-2013, 09:07 PM
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer all these questions.

Not long ago, I had an excerpt from a WIP rejected by an anthology. The editor claimed it was for my own good since no agent would touch a novel that had a chapter previously published. I had always thought this was a plus. Any truth to what he says?

Pamvhv
08-27-2013, 09:12 PM
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer all these questions.

Not long ago, I had an excerpt from a WIP rejected by an anthology. The editor claimed it was for my own good since no agent would touch a novel that had a chapter previously published. I had always thought this was a plus. Any truth to what he says?

That depends on a lot of things but that is sound advice.

buz
08-27-2013, 09:16 PM
Hullo, Pam. Thanks again for answering all these questions. :)

I have an obnoxiously general question, to which I do not necessarily expect a specific answer--but I thought it was worth asking, regardless:

How do you determine whether or not there is a market for a given work?

I understand that much of that is probably going to be "I pay attention, know my shit, hear what editors are looking for, and get a sense of what's going on by virtue of being plugged into the business," but I wonder if there are any specific steps you take to evaluate such a thing?

Pamvhv
08-27-2013, 09:19 PM
Hullo, Pam. Thanks again for answering all these questions. :)

I have an obnoxiously general question, to which I do not necessarily expect a specific answer--but I thought it was worth asking, regardless:

How do you determine whether or not there is a market for a given work?

I understand that much of that is probably going to be "I pay attention, know my shit, hear what editors are looking for, and get a sense of what's going on by virtue of being plugged into the business," but I wonder if there are any specific steps you take to evaluate such a thing?

When I'm thinking of signing a book I do a lot of things. Let's say it is a YA book about goblins.

First I go and look at all the YA Goblin books from the past two years. Does it seem like all the big six have a goblin series right now? Is it just beginning or is it almost done? How well have the books sold?

If there are no YA goblin books I look at the other YA paranormal books and see if goblin-love could be a thing! If so I could have the possible start to a trend. But YA paranormal has been over-bought since Twilight, so I have to look at where all the series are and see if I see a slot where I could fit a paranormal if I were an editor.

And then I do the magic dance.

buz
08-27-2013, 09:44 PM
When I'm thinking of signing a book I do a lot of things. Let's say it is a YA book about goblins.

First I go and look at all the YA Goblin books from the past two years. Does it seem like all the big six have a goblin series right now? Is it just beginning or is it almost done? How well have the books sold?

If there are no YA goblin books I look at the other YA paranormal books and see if goblin-love could be a thing! If so I could have the possible start to a trend. But YA paranormal has been over-bought since Twilight, so I have to look at where all the series are and see if I see a slot where I could fit a paranormal if I were an editor.

And then I do the magic dance.

I assume the magic dance is one of those things you get taught when they accept you into the fold of the agency and make you drink from the Chalice of Bookflogging? Or is it self-taught? :p

Thank you, Pam. :D

(Do you determine how well a book/series sold with BookScan? Or is there another useful way to figure that?)

AshleyEpidemic
08-27-2013, 09:44 PM
Here's the scenario. Author A queries you with a novel you really like and think could sell like gangbusters, but the author doesn't have another novel in them for quite some time (if ever). Author B queries you with a novel you love, but thinks it would only be a moderate success, but the other has other quality pieces in the pipes.

What matters most to you when you are making your decision: How much you connect with a piece? The novel's sell factor? Or The author's production rate?

This is probably a tough question with no solid answer, but I figured I'd ask.

Pamvhv
08-27-2013, 09:46 PM
Here's the scenario. Author A queries you with a novel you really like and think could sell like gangbusters, but the author doesn't have another novel in them for quite some time (if ever). Author B queries you with a novel you love, but thinks it would only be a moderate success, but the other has other quality pieces in the pipes.

What matters most to you when you are making your decision: How much you connect with a piece? The novel's sell factor? Or The author's production rate?

This is probably a tough question with no solid answer, but I figured I'd ask.


I'll take both!

Pamvhv
08-27-2013, 09:46 PM
I assume the magic dance is one of those things you get taught when they accept you into the fold of the agency and make you drink from the Chalice of Bookflogging? Or is it self-taught? :p

Thank you, Pam. :D

(Do you determine how well a book/series sold with BookScan? Or is there another useful way to figure that?)

I shouldn't even mention the magic dance lest I want to be flogged on the 28th of every month for a year by my peers.

Quickbread
08-27-2013, 11:34 PM
"Not long ago, I had an excerpt from a WIP rejected by an anthology. The editor claimed it was for my own good since no agent would touch a novel that had a chapter previously published. I had always thought this was a plus. Any truth to what he says?"


That depends on a lot of things but that is sound advice.

Hi Pam,

Thanks for being so available to answer questions. Your answer above makes me wonder if I've accidentally committed a faux pas.

My literary novel has been out on submission since May. Several of the chapters stand alone as stories. Back in the spring, I emailed my agent to ask whether or not I should submit short story versions of those chapters to journals while I'm on sub, but he never responded. After waiting some time, I thought maybe my question was stupid or naive, and that I should just do my part toward my career. So I've subbed the short-story versions to a few select journals, including the New Yorker (infinitesimal chance, I know).

I was thinking editors might welcome a top tier publication. But maybe that was wrong? Should I consider withdrawing the stories?

Thanks so much in advance!

Pamvhv
08-27-2013, 11:36 PM
"Not long ago, I had an excerpt from a WIP rejected by an anthology. The editor claimed it was for my own good since no agent would touch a novel that had a chapter previously published. I had always thought this was a plus. Any truth to what he says?"



Hi Pam,

Thanks for being so available to answer questions. Your answer above makes me wonder if I've accidentally committed a faux pas.

My literary novel has been out on submission since May. Several of the chapters stand alone as stories. Back in the spring, I emailed my agent to ask whether or not I should submit short story versions of those chapters to journals while I'm on sub, but he never responded. After waiting some time, I thought maybe my question was stupid or naive, and that I should just do my part toward my career. So I've subbed the short-story versions to a few select journals, including the New Yorker (infinitesimal chance, I know).

I was thinking editors might welcome a top tier publication. But maybe that was wrong? Should I consider withdrawing the stories?

Thanks so much in advance!

I would wait for advice from your agent on that. Maybe email and ask again. He/she should be answering your questions.

Charging Boar
08-28-2013, 07:01 AM
What do you think of prologues? Would seeing one turn you off of a book?

Pamvhv
08-28-2013, 07:05 AM
What do you think of prologues? Would seeing one turn you off of a book?

I'm 99% against prologues. Because sometimes I get so caught up in the language and world and can't get into the meat of the actual book after that.

Charging Boar
08-28-2013, 07:25 AM
This question is strange... but I was wondering what is your policy on sending in potential art with the query? Not a cover or anything, but perhaps a map?

Pamvhv
08-28-2013, 07:55 AM
This question is strange... but I was wondering what is your policy on sending in potential art with the query? Not a cover or anything, but perhaps a map?

I wouldn't be against seeing a map. But that is my personal opinion. Most are no attachments and I'm that way too. So I think that is one of those you and your agent (when you get one) can talk about that later things.

Old Hack
08-28-2013, 12:21 PM
I would wait for advice from your agent on that. Maybe email and ask again. He/she should be answering your questions.

QFT.

I know agents are busy: but they should be there to advise their clients on things like this.

Medievalist
08-28-2013, 08:28 PM
Is there any truth to what this person said? Thank you.

None. Nil. Not an iota. It's total bullshit.

It's also false and untrue and inaccurate and wrong.

thothguard51
08-28-2013, 09:59 PM
Pam,

Here is a tricky question.

How do you feel about writers who come to you to represent them when they have a publisher who is already offering a contract?

The reason I ask is Harper Voyager had a open call for subs and they got like 4500+. Here in the AW Cooler, we still have 31 writers who submitted and are still in the game, so to speak.

I know some of them will more than likely try to find an agent if HV offers them a contract, to get a better deal, but can they?

Thank you for your time...

Pamvhv
08-28-2013, 10:39 PM
Pam,

Here is a tricky question.

How do you feel about writers who come to you to represent them when they have a publisher who is already offering a contract?

The reason I ask is Harper Voyager had a open call for subs and they got like 4500+. Here in the AW Cooler, we still have 31 writers who submitted and are still in the game, so to speak.

I know some of them will more than likely try to find an agent if HV offers them a contract, to get a better deal, but can they?

Thank you for your time...

I love writers who come to me with contracts in their hands.
Unless that contract is from Not Yo Mama's Press.
An agent would look at the deal, look at the time they have, look at the editor and make a decision on whether or not they can find a better deal elsewhere. But what an agent CAN do is make that deal in your hand a better deal in many ways.

thothguard51
08-28-2013, 10:44 PM
Thank you for answering so quickly. You have been very gracious...

WriteStarfish
08-28-2013, 11:10 PM
Hi and thanks for answering the questions!

1. If your novel has been out for 6 months with an agent, should you nudge and what should you say? (You followed up at 3 months and know for sure that the manuscript was received.)

2. In said nudge, should you mention that you have other completed manuscripts- to help persuade the agent?

(The agent was very interested initially in your work.)

Thanks!

Pamvhv
08-28-2013, 11:19 PM
Hi and thanks for answering the questions!

1. If your novel has been out for 6 months with an agent, should you nudge and what should you say? (You followed up at 3 months and know for sure that the manuscript was received.)

2. In said nudge, should you mention that you have other completed manuscripts- to help persuade the agent?

(The agent was very interested initially in your work.)

Thanks!

I'd nudge and if you get an offer or a rejection talk about your new works.

WriteStarfish
08-28-2013, 11:23 PM
Thanks, very much!

Old Hack
08-28-2013, 11:26 PM
Pam, I'm sure everyone's saying this to you in your rep points, but I wanted to thank you for answering so many questions so quickly and so clearly. It's very generous of you, and I know that many of us really appreciate it. Thank you!

Pamvhv
08-28-2013, 11:29 PM
Pam, I'm sure everyone's saying this to you in your rep points, but I wanted to thank you for answering so many questions so quickly and so clearly. It's very generous of you, and I know that many of us really appreciate it. Thank you!

I'm having a LOT of fun!

GingerGunlock
08-29-2013, 12:50 AM
I love writers who come to me with contracts in their hands.
Unless that contract is from Not Yo Mama's Press.
An agent would look at the deal, look at the time they have, look at the editor and make a decision on whether or not they can find a better deal elsewhere. But what an agent CAN do is make that deal in your hand a better deal in many ways.

Very interesting! I did wonder how that sort of a thing would work.

And yes, as Old Hack says, thank you so much for answering our questions like this! I'm glad you're enjoying it :D

Medievalist
08-29-2013, 12:53 AM
Very interesting! I did wonder how that sort of a thing would work.

That's how I got an agent; I had a publisher approach me, with a offer, and I approached an agent.

Corinne Duyvis
08-29-2013, 01:51 AM
I was in the same situation. All agents I approached were cool with it and got back to me very quickly. The agent I went with managed to increase my advance by 50%, and improved on the rights bought & royalty percentages as well. So yes, even without competition from other publishers, agents can do a lot for you!

Marika
08-29-2013, 02:08 AM
Thanks, Pam!

BMajor
08-29-2013, 04:57 AM
Pam - you are truly a godsend. :Hail: Thank you for your precious time in answering all of our questions!

I've only begun on ideas for a trilogy but I'm already having trouble navigating NA hell (since I can't find as much support for it as I'd hoped.) Basically, I'm dealing with a Dystopian setting that has my MC arrested, sent to a prison city, dealing with gangs, and a huge society secret. *Nutshell* She also gets married, deals with bullying, love, yadda yadda. I'm finding this is quite a mix, but it encompasses much of the growing up aspect that I'm hoping to get across.

I had her pegged as early 20s, but knowing that NA isn't as defined a genre as I'd hoped it would be, would this constitute as YA? My hope is NA.. just to clarify. I really don't want her dropping to 17.. THANKS!

Tromboli
08-29-2013, 05:36 PM
I'm working on a post for my MG blog about jumping from YA to MG. It's a compilation of advice from different sources (mostly authors). I'd love your input. What do you think is the biggest difference between YA and MG? Any advice for authors who want to make the switch?

Pamvhv
08-29-2013, 07:18 PM
I'm working on a post for my MG blog about jumping from YA to MG. It's a compilation of advice from different sources (mostly authors). I'd love your input. What do you think is the biggest difference between YA and MG? Any advice for authors who want to make the switch?

I think YA and MG go together naturally. The biggest difference for me is the coming of age. In YA you come of age and no longer need your parents/parental figures. For MG you come of age in a different way, still needing that support system for a few more years.

Aggy B.
08-29-2013, 10:27 PM
What's the protocol for sending a query more than once?

FREX: I've seen folks who have made big revisions to the MS so they write a new query and send it off to all the agents they tried previously.

But I see agents saying "I remember every query so don't send me another query on a project I already turned down."

And what if the MS is heavily revised but the query letter is the same? (So sample pages would be different/better, but the query is pretty much unchanged.)

Pamvhv
09-01-2013, 03:57 AM
Pam - you are truly a godsend. :Hail: Thank you for your precious time in answering all of our questions!

I've only begun on ideas for a trilogy but I'm already having trouble navigating NA hell (since I can't find as much support for it as I'd hoped.) Basically, I'm dealing with a Dystopian setting that has my MC arrested, sent to a prison city, dealing with gangs, and a huge society secret. *Nutshell* She also gets married, deals with bullying, love, yadda yadda. I'm finding this is quite a mix, but it encompasses much of the growing up aspect that I'm hoping to get across.

I had her pegged as early 20s, but knowing that NA isn't as defined a genre as I'd hoped it would be, would this constitute as YA? My hope is NA.. just to clarify. I really don't want her dropping to 17.. THANKS!

I don't think NA is viable for other genres yet. So I'd sub it as adult dystopian since she isn't YA age.

Pamvhv
09-01-2013, 03:58 AM
What's the protocol for sending a query more than once?

FREX: I've seen folks who have made big revisions to the MS so they write a new query and send it off to all the agents they tried previously.

But I see agents saying "I remember every query so don't send me another query on a project I already turned down."

And what if the MS is heavily revised but the query letter is the same? (So sample pages would be different/better, but the query is pretty much unchanged.)

I say that and I do remember every query. Photographic memory ;). The protocol is to say it has been revised significantly so this is a requery.

kkbe
09-01-2013, 06:10 AM
Hi, Pam. This is really generous of you, thank you.

I'm writing a novel right now, 12 y/o kid is the narrator but the novel is adult suspense. That's what I'd call it because it's suspenseful and it ain't for kids. . . is there a better description, though? I don't want to sound like a doofus. (Granted, my concern might be moot at this point. :))

Q2, relative to the same novel: The novel's written in first person, present tense for the most part. The kid's voice is unique, I'm taking liberties with sentence construction, grammar, blah blah. When I write my query I'd planned to inject some of that voice to reflect the kid's character and tone of the novel but now I'm second-guessing myself, thinking the thing might come across as gimicky or contrived. The alternative is to present the query from the POV of the antagonist, a horrible man but hey, he speaks well. Any thoughts?

Which brings me to a more general question relative to POVs in queries: Do you expect the query to reflect the mc's POV? Would you be put off at all if a writer presented her query via a secondary character's POV? Or would the *story* trump any concerns you might have? God willing, an agent would ask for pages and see relatively quickly who the mc is. But I don't want to mislead an agent in any way.

Thank you very much, Pam.

-kk

Pamvhv
09-01-2013, 06:14 AM
Hi, Pam. This is really generous of you, thank you.

I'm writing a novel right now, 12 y/o kid is the narrator but the novel is adult suspense. That's what I'd call it because it's suspenseful and it ain't for kids. . . is there a better description, though? I don't want to sound like a doofus. (Granted, my concern might be moot at this point. :))

Q2, relative to the same novel: The novel's written in first person, present tense for the most part. The kid's voice is unique, I'm taking liberties with sentence construction, grammar, blah blah. When I write my query I'd planned to inject some of that voice to reflect the kid's character and tone of the novel but now I'm second-guessing myself, thinking the thing might come across as gimicky or contrived. The alternative is to present the query from the POV of the antagonist, a horrible man but hey, he speaks well. Any thoughts?

Which brings me to a more general question relative to POVs in queries: Do you expect the query to reflect the mc's POV? Would you be put off at all if a writer presented her query via a secondary character's POV? Or would the *story* trump any concerns you might have? God willing, an agent would ask for pages and see relatively quickly who the mc is. But I don't want to mislead an agent in any way.

Thank you very much, Pam.

-kk

I liked ROOM, and DAMNED they both had young narrators and are adult novels.

I also want to hear from you not your characters. We're going to be the one working together.

kkbe
09-01-2013, 07:01 AM
Thank you for your prompt response, Pam.

I read ROOM. So, calling my novel Adult Fiction/Suspense might work?

As for voice in one's query, I understand completely that an agent wants to hear from the writer. But I always thought that the best queries multitask. Not only do they present the gist of a novel, but they showcase the writer's skill at putting words and sentences together in an interesting and compelling way and yeah, reflect the tone of the novel and give a real sense of the mc. In QLH, there seems to be a general consensus that "voice" is really important in a query. I have a query out right now that I struggled with, based entirely on those assumptions.

Specifics plucked from the novel, the character's voice, stuff like that are what make one novel unique amidst the hundred others wallowing in the slush. So I'm confused a bit because it sounds like you are advocating straight, to the point queries without . . . I don't know how to put it. Without regard to characterization, maybe? Nuance? Am I totally missing the boat here?

Again, thank you very much, Pam.

-kk

Pamvhv
09-01-2013, 07:20 AM
Thank you for your prompt response, Pam.

I read ROOM. So, calling my novel Adult Fiction/Suspense might work?

As for voice in one's query, I understand completely that an agent wants to hear from the writer. But I always thought that the best queries multitask. Not only do they present the gist of a novel, but they showcase the writer's skill at putting words and sentences together in an interesting and compelling way and yeah, reflect the tone of the novel and give a real sense of the mc. In QLH, there seems to be a general consensus that "voice" is really important in a query. I have a query out right now that I struggled with, based entirely on those assumptions.

Specifics plucked from the novel, the character's voice, stuff like that are what make one novel unique amidst the hundred others wallowing in the slush. So I'm confused a bit because it sounds like you are advocating straight, to the point queries without . . . I don't know how to put it. Without regard to characterization, maybe? Nuance? Am I totally missing the boat here?

Again, thank you very much, Pam.

-kk

The Hook - logline
The Book - A paragraph or two about your book
The Cook - a bit about you

That's it. One page, try not to make the agent scroll ;)

BMajor
09-01-2013, 07:58 AM
Thanks Pam! Awesome insight!

kkbe
09-01-2013, 08:14 AM
Okay. Thank you again, Pam.

Bookish_Love
09-01-2013, 08:27 AM
Okay, so this thread pretty much confirms my suspicions that my boss is the coolest ever.

Writers, you're in good hands here. Pam is da bomb. ;)

thothguard51
09-01-2013, 09:03 AM
We think she is...

GeekTells
09-01-2013, 11:13 AM
Thanks for your generous time, Pam.

I'm unsure of how to properly phrase this question, but I'm going with this: how is the market for character-driven SciFi?

Thanks in advance!

EarlyBird
09-01-2013, 04:08 PM
Here's the scenario. Author A queries you with a novel you really like and think could sell like gangbusters, but the author doesn't have another novel in them for quite some time (if ever). Author B queries you with a novel you love, but thinks it would only be a moderate success, but the other has other quality pieces in the pipes.

What matters most to you when you are making your decision: How much you connect with a piece? The novel's sell factor? Or The author's production rate?Piggyback question to the above: Is it advisable to mention a writer has/is working on other novels when querying a MS? If so, how does one do that?

I'm revising my MS and will be requerying, per agent's suggestion, and would like to let her know I've got a few other MS in the works.

Thank you for all your input here!

Pamvhv
09-01-2013, 07:20 PM
Thanks for your generous time, Pam.

I'm unsure of how to properly phrase this question, but I'm going with this: how is the market for character-driven SciFi?

Thanks in advance!

I think there's a great market for well written sci-fi right now that is character driven!

Pamvhv
09-01-2013, 07:22 PM
Piggyback question to the above: Is it advisable to mention a writer has/is working on other novels when querying a MS? If so, how does one do that?

I'm revising my MS and will be requerying, per agent's suggestion, and would like to let her know I've got a few other MS in the works.

Thank you for all your input here!

I suppose you can mention it but it is putting the cart before the horse a bit. She/he will ask about that when rep is offered. It doesn't hurt to let them know early though :).

Krazykat
09-02-2013, 01:13 AM
Hi Pam. Thank you very much for taking the time to answer questions here.

I don't mean to rehash the same issue, but I thought kkbe had a very valid question—especially considering how much most of us agonize over query letters! And I wanted to comment on this because I think some folks here might find this a bit confusing.


The Hook - logline
The Book - A paragraph or two about your book
The Cook - a bit about you

That's it. One page, try not to make the agent scroll ;)

'The hook, the book, and the cook' is the query-writing formula I was taught over twenty years ago. In the past year I've spent countless hours researching queries and reading query critiques online, both on sites like Query Shark, and here in AW in 'Query Letter Hell', where I've also tried my hand at helping others with their queries.

The consensus seems to be that the modern query has evolved away from the old formula, and you might say a complex 'culture' has developed in QLH with regards to what makes a good query letter. For example, there is a big emphasis put on voice, and using a 'logline' as a hook is generally frowned upon. I imagine that the 'squirrels' here in QLH—as those who offer their critiques are jokingly called—are often more demanding than many agents, but the process has certainly helped many people write successful queries.

Naturally you can't speak for all agents, and I've seen plenty of queries that Janet Reid and others have liked that broke many of the rules, both old and new. (Taking five paragraphs to summarize the book, for instance.) And some agents do stress that they look for a strong voice in a query, or that they enjoy seeing unusual, creative queries (as long as they're done well!).

But based on your answers to kkbe's questions, I can't help but wonder . . . From your point of view, would you perhaps say that we're all trying a little too hard, and you'd be happy to see simple 'old fashioned' queries? That is, brief business-like queries that make no attempt to reflect the style or 'voice' of the book itself?

ap123
09-02-2013, 01:55 AM
Hi Pam. Thank you very much for taking the time to answer questions here.

I don't mean to rehash the same issue, but I thought kkbe had a very valid question—especially considering how much most of us agonize over query letters! And I wanted to comment on this because I think some folks here might find this a bit confusing.



'The hook, the book, and the cook' is the query-writing formula I was taught over twenty years ago. In the past year I've spent countless hours researching queries and reading query critiques online, both on sites like Query Shark, and here in AW in 'Query Letter Hell', where I've also tried my hand at helping others with their queries.

The consensus seems to be that the modern query has evolved away from the old formula, and you might say a complex 'culture' has developed in QLH with regards to what makes a good query letter. For example, there is a big emphasis put on voice, and using a 'logline' as a hook is generally frowned upon. I imagine that the 'squirrels' here in QLH—as those who offer their critiques are jokingly called—are often more demanding than many agents, but the process has certainly helped many people write successful queries.

Naturally you can't speak for all agents, and I've seen plenty of queries that Janet Reid and others have liked that broke many of the rules, both old and new. (Taking five paragraphs to summarize the book, for instance.) And some agents do stress that they look for a strong voice in a query, or that they enjoy seeing unusual, creative queries (as long as they're done well!).

But based on your answers to kkbe's questions, I can't help but wonder . . . From your point of view, would you perhaps say that we're all trying a little too hard, and you'd be happy to see simple 'old fashioned' queries? That is, brief business-like queries that make no attempt to reflect the style or 'voice' of the book itself?

Following this with great interest. I also originally learned the hook, book, cook style of querying (though I learned the query should reflect the style of the book being queried).

mellymel
09-02-2013, 02:42 AM
I to am very interested in the answers to KrazyKat's question.

:popcorn:

Pamvhv
09-02-2013, 02:50 AM
Hi Pam. Thank you very much for taking the time to answer questions here.

I don't mean to rehash the same issue, but I thought kkbe had a very valid question—especially considering how much most of us agonize over query letters! And I wanted to comment on this because I think some folks here might find this a bit confusing.



'The hook, the book, and the cook' is the query-writing formula I was taught over twenty years ago. In the past year I've spent countless hours researching queries and reading query critiques online, both on sites like Query Shark, and here in AW in 'Query Letter Hell', where I've also tried my hand at helping others with their queries.

The consensus seems to be that the modern query has evolved away from the old formula, and you might say a complex 'culture' has developed in QLH with regards to what makes a good query letter. For example, there is a big emphasis put on voice, and using a 'logline' as a hook is generally frowned upon. I imagine that the 'squirrels' here in QLH—as those who offer their critiques are jokingly called—are often more demanding than many agents, but the process has certainly helped many people write successful queries.

Naturally you can't speak for all agents, and I've seen plenty of queries that Janet Reid and others have liked that broke many of the rules, both old and new. (Taking five paragraphs to summarize the book, for instance.) And some agents do stress that they look for a strong voice in a query, or that they enjoy seeing unusual, creative queries (as long as they're done well!).

But based on your answers to kkbe's questions, I can't help but wonder . . . From your point of view, would you perhaps say that we're all trying a little too hard, and you'd be happy to see simple 'old fashioned' queries? That is, brief business-like queries that make no attempt to reflect the style or 'voice' of the book itself?

Every client I've signed from the slush has broken all the rules in one way or another. The very basic thing an agent wants to see is clear concise genre, hook, and what makes your book different. You want them to request pages.

As far as I know writing in your character's voice is a no-no for everyone.

Every query class I've given or sat in on still preaches the simple formula.

I do think there's a lot of stress for them and it isn't needed.

If you send out a query batch of ten and get no requests and your genre isn't a dead genre then redo the query. :)

GeekTells
09-02-2013, 02:58 AM
I think there's a great market for well written sci-fi right now that is character driven!

Thanks, Pam.

Captcha
09-02-2013, 03:35 AM
What do you think about the small subset of agents who are specializing in selling to e-pubs?

Does it make sense for an agent to specialize in this market?

Pamvhv
09-02-2013, 03:37 AM
What do you think about the small subset of agents who are specializing in selling to e-pubs?

Does it make sense for an agent to specialize in this market?

You mean there are agents who don't even try to sell your work to a reputable house for a good advance? I don't think those are agents. Those are schmagents.

In most cases you can sell yourself to an epub.

mrsmig
09-02-2013, 04:00 AM
If you send out a query batch of ten and get no requests and your genre isn't a dead genre then redo the query. :)

(Bolding mine)

Can you elaborate on this, please? What, in your mind, constitutes a dead genre?

Thanks so much for your willingness to answer questions. This thread has been an absolute gold mine.

Pamvhv
09-02-2013, 04:06 AM
Well, right now no one is too excited to look at YA dystopia for example. (Unless it is amazingly ground breaking in idea and execution.)

ap123
09-02-2013, 05:17 AM
Every client I've signed from the slush has broken all the rules in one way or another. The very basic thing an agent wants to see is clear concise genre, hook, and what makes your book different. You want them to request pages.

As far as I know writing in your character's voice is a no-no for everyone.

Every query class I've given or sat in on still preaches the simple formula.

I do think there's a lot of stress for them and it isn't needed.

If you send out a query batch of ten and get no requests and your genre isn't a dead genre then redo the query. :)

Thank you very much for clarifying! :)

CrastersBabies
09-02-2013, 07:07 AM
Hi Pam. Amazing replies to great questions. I have a few questions:

1. What are you seeing too much of right now in your submissions? (What is overdone?)
2. What have you been dying to see more of?
3. What is the biggest mistake that querying writers make?
4. When you request fulls or partials, what are you looking for in those first 20-30 pages?

Thank you!

Pamvhv
09-02-2013, 07:12 AM
Hi Pam. Amazing replies to great questions. I have a few questions:

1. What are you seeing too much of right now in your submissions? (What is overdone?)
2. What have you been dying to see more of?
3. What is the biggest mistake that querying writers make?
4. When you request fulls or partials, what are you looking for in those first 20-30 pages?

Thank you!

1. I'm seeing a good mix. I'm still seeing a bit too much YA scifi with a girl born in a lab or genetically modified in a lab.

2. I really want more MG and adult romance.

3. Not following submissions guidelines for each agent they submit to. Creating a packet for each agent is tough but needed. We all read differently.

4. I'm looking to be dragged in by the story and have a clear understanding of the problem and good theories on how it will be resolved.

Jonathan Dalar
09-02-2013, 12:23 PM
I'm 99% against prologues. Because sometimes I get so caught up in the language and world and can't get into the meat of the actual book after that.

How about a "here's two or three pages of what happened years ago, which pertain heavily to what you're about to read" prologue? Kind of a mini-story that provides the background for the more interesting part of things?

GeekTells
09-02-2013, 01:20 PM
INFO DUMP MAKE GEEKTELLS MAD

kkbe
09-02-2013, 02:20 PM
Good morning, Pam. Real quick, to clarify:
Pam: As far as I know writing in your character's voice is a no-no for everyone To me, 'voice' in a query reflects the mc's character and tone of the novel. Are we talking about the same thing?

Pamvhv
09-02-2013, 07:50 PM
How about a "here's two or three pages of what happened years ago, which pertain heavily to what you're about to read" prologue? Kind of a mini-story that provides the background for the more interesting part of things?

That's what a prologue is ;). 99% of the time they're not needed. The author can thread that info into the book. Sometimes they fit though. Rules are meant to be broken. Just don't give the prologue as your sample pages in a query, but do give it in a partial request.

Pamvhv
09-02-2013, 07:51 PM
Good morning, Pam. Real quick, to clarify: To me, 'voice' in a query reflects the mc's character and tone of the novel. Are we talking about the same thing?

I get a lot of queries from characters ;)

kkbe
09-02-2013, 08:21 PM
:)

Little Ming
09-02-2013, 09:16 PM
As far as I know writing in your character's voice is a no-no for everyone


I get a lot of queries from characters ;)

Sorry, but to clarify again, do you mean don't write as your character ("I am Protagonist and this is my story....")?

I know there are query sites, such as Evil Editor (http://evileditor.blogspot.com/) and Query Shark (http://queryshark.blogspot.com/), that advocate for showing some of the "tone," "style," or "voice" of the novel in your query letter, so I just want to make sure we are talking about the same thing. :)

Pamvhv
09-02-2013, 10:05 PM
Sorry, but to clarify again, do you mean don't write as your character ("I am Protagonist and this is my story....")?

I know there are query sites, such as Evil Editor (http://evileditor.blogspot.com/) and Query Shark (http://queryshark.blogspot.com/), that advocate for showing some of the "tone," "style," or "voice" of the novel in your query letter, so I just want to make sure we are talking about the same thing. :)

Tone/style is fine as long as you aren't overdoing it. Never write AS the characters.

Little Ming
09-02-2013, 10:08 PM
Tone/style is fine as long as you aren't overdoing it. Never write AS the characters.

Thank you for clarifying. And thanks again for the rest of the thread, it has been very helpful. :)

Chris P
09-02-2013, 10:23 PM
If you send out a query batch of ten and get no requests and your genre isn't a dead genre then redo the query. :)

How many times do you rewrite the query (and send it out, of course :)) before you give up on the book?

Pamvhv
09-02-2013, 10:25 PM
How many times do you rewrite the query (and send it out, of course :)) before you give up on the book?

I would keep trying while writing something else and then try with that :).

Patrick.S
09-02-2013, 10:28 PM
Is "Low YA" a thing? My WIP has a younger voice than most YA but the protagonist is in high school. I would compare it to the Percy Jackson books in tone but with a romance subplot playing a more important role. I know that Percy Jackson falls into MG most of the time. Do you think I would be better off calling it low YA? Just YA? Upper MG? Thanks for answering all of our questions!

Chris P
09-02-2013, 10:31 PM
I would keep trying while writing something else and then try with that :).

Got it. Next WIP is almost done and the one after that is just getting underway. Thanks for what you're doing here. It helps a lot!

Cheryl Mackie
09-02-2013, 10:50 PM
Hi Pam,
Thank you for taking time to answer our questions. I am a published author looking for an agent. My newest completed project is a new adult paranormal manuscript. It is a stand alone with an HEA but has driven and sexy secondary characters for series potential. My word count is 56k. In your opinion, will an agent dismiss based on the low word count or do you think I have a chance for a partial request? Toying with submitting directly to the publisher due to this dilemma.
Thanks.

Pamvhv
09-02-2013, 10:53 PM
Hi Pam,
Thank you for taking time to answer our questions. I am a published author looking for an agent. My newest completed project is a new adult paranormal manuscript. It is a stand alone with an HEA but has driven and sexy secondary characters for series potential. My word count is 56k. In your opinion, will an agent dismiss based on the low word count or do you think I have a chance for a partial request? Toying with submitting directly to the publisher due to this dilemma.
Thanks.

I don't think the word count is so low you may not get bites. For me I'm only accepting NA in contemporary because that's all that is selling. I'd reach out and see how folks respond to it. It may not be a bad idea to submit to some publishers like Carina.

Tromboli
09-02-2013, 11:48 PM
For me I'm only accepting NA in contemporary because that's all that is selling. I'd reach out and see how folks respond to it.

Interesting. NA is selling, but most other genres aren't right now?

Pamvhv
09-02-2013, 11:49 PM
Interesting. NA is selling, but most other genres aren't right now?

I can't wait to see it expand. But as of right now none of the bought by trade or self published NA that isn't realistic contemporary isn't selling.

oakbark
09-02-2013, 11:50 PM
The Hook - logline
The Book - A paragraph or two about your book
The Cook - a bit about you

That's it. One page, try not to make the agent scroll ;)

I like how you nailed that! :)

And thanks for all the replies.

Cheryl Mackie
09-03-2013, 12:04 AM
I don't think the word count is so low you may not get bites. For me I'm only accepting NA in contemporary because that's all that is selling. I'd reach out and see how folks respond to it. It may not be a bad idea to submit to some publishers like Carina.

Thanks so much for your insight. I will try a few agents first. =)

NDoyle
09-03-2013, 01:00 AM
Hello, Pam! Like everyone else, I'm so grateful that you're sacrificing some of your time to share your insights with us!

Here is my situation:

I'm a published writer, but all of my publications have been short-form (fiction and nonfiction). The only books to have my byline are anthologies I've edited.

Because I've been writing for so long (my first story appeared in Realms of Fantasy in 1995), I have an accumulation of book-length manuscripts either completed or in progress--all unpublished. Those completed include several picture books and a YA historical fantasy. Far along in progress (or in revision) are a MG historical novel and a Victorianesque fantasy novel (adult). Other books (fiction & nonfiction, for adult and children) exist in various other stages of development.

With this range of work, what do you suggest my strategy should be when looking for an agent? Very few agents cover such a broad spectrum. I always query with a specific work, of course, but in the back of my mind is everything else. And I have possibly run out of agents who are likely to be able to represent the broadest extent of my work.

Should I be now querying agents who specialize in--for example--YA, knowing that any relationship would last only for sale of the YA novel, even though my next completed novel is almost certain to be the non-YA "Victorianesque," at which point we'd have to part ways? (And I'd assume that the picture books would, meanwhile, be "trunked," if she isn't interested in them. So many children's book publishers are no longer open to unsolicited mss that it's more difficult than it used to be for a writer to submit these!)

Or, as another example, do I try to sign with an agent who specializes in books for younger children--querying with a picture book--and let the YA and adult novels "sit" while my hypothetical picture-book career runs its course?

Or is there some other strategy?

I've tended to think of an agent as a long-term business partner with whom I'd be building my career. Should I be thinking more ephemerally?

Pamvhv
09-03-2013, 01:03 AM
Hello, Pam! Like everyone else, I'm so grateful that you're sacrificing some of your time to share your insights with us!

Here is my situation:

I'm a published writer, but all of my publications have been short-form (fiction and nonfiction). The only books to have my byline are anthologies I've edited.

Because I've been writing for so long (my first story appeared in Realms of Fantasy in 1995), I have an accumulation of book-length manuscripts either completed or in progress--all unpublished. Those completed include several picture books and a YA historical fantasy. Far along in progress (or in revision) are a MG historical novel and a Victorianesque fantasy novel (adult). Other books (fiction & nonfiction, for adult and children) exist in various other stages of development.

With this range of work, what do you suggest my strategy should be when looking for an agent? Very few agents cover such a broad spectrum. I always query with a specific work, of course, but in the back of my mind is everything else. And I have possibly run out of agents who are likely to be able to represent the broadest extent of my work.

Should I be now querying agents who specialize in--for example--YA, knowing that any relationship would last only for sale of the YA novel, even though my next completed novel is almost certain to be the non-YA "Victorianesque," at which point we'd have to part ways? (And I'd assume that the picture books would, meanwhile, be "trunked," if she isn't interested in them. So many children's book publishers are no longer open to unsolicited mss that it's more difficult than it used to be for a writer to submit these!)

Or, as another example, do I try to sign with an agent who specializes in books for younger children--querying with a picture book--and let the YA and adult novels "sit" while my hypothetical picture-book career runs its course?

Or is there some other strategy?

I've tended to think of an agent as a long-term business partner with whom I'd be building my career. Should I be thinking more ephemerally?

I'd look at agencies as a whole. For example, if I sign a YA, and my client writes a wonderous picture book, Danielle will rep it, then if that same client writes and adult thriller and it's awesome Laurie will rep it, and then if a non-fiction came to be Gordon would rep it given it was awesome and had platform and all that fancy stuffs.

Tromboli
09-03-2013, 02:12 AM
Random, hopefully fun, question. When you read published books, do you ever find yourself mentally rejecting them? I have to imagine it's hard to keep the two roles completely separate.

Pamvhv
09-03-2013, 02:30 AM
Random, hopefully fun, question. When you read published books, do you ever find yourself mentally rejecting them? I have to imagine it's hard to keep the two roles completely separate.

Not very often! Honestly I'm very good at separating. I generally read for entertainment. So if I'm entertained it is fine :).

thothguard51
09-03-2013, 03:18 AM
Not very often! Honestly I'm very good at separating. I generally read for entertainment. So if I'm entertained it is fine :).

I think this is the same with a writer and reading the works of other authors. You have to turn off the writer and inner editor mode, and just enjoy the novel for what it brings to you as a reader.

Of course, sometimes that is easier said than done.

NDoyle
09-03-2013, 04:14 AM
Thank you for your speedy reply, Pam! I had wondered about that and am glad to know that it's is a viable option!

Tromboli
09-03-2013, 06:28 AM
I think this is the same with a writer and reading the works of other authors. You have to turn off the writer and inner editor mode, and just enjoy the novel for what it brings to you as a reader.

Of course, sometimes that is easier said than done.

I think there's two sides to this. There's a lot to learn from reading, including by taking a critical look at what's out there. But I agree you need to also be able to see it as a reader.

thothguard51
09-03-2013, 06:43 AM
No doubt that as a writer, it pays to read and analyze the works of others, if only to see how they craft their work. But that does not mean the way one writer does it, works for another writer. Just like one POV style may not work in all a writers work.

Still, the majority of the time, I just read for entertainment.

MartinaMay
09-03-2013, 01:56 PM
I can't wait to see it expand. But as of right now none of the bought by trade or self published NA that isn't realistic contemporary isn't selling.


Thank you for this. My current WIP is a NA historical fantasy but I wonder now if I should age it down (and tone it down) and write it YA historical fantasy. Or write it as adult, since the MC is 20.

Do you see NA expanding beyond contemporary in the next six to eight months?

gingerwoman
09-03-2013, 03:07 PM
1.

2. I really want more MG and adult romance.
d.
All sub-genres of adult romance, or just certain ones?

Pamvhv
09-03-2013, 06:15 PM
Thank you for this. My current WIP is a NA historical fantasy but I wonder now if I should age it down (and tone it down) and write it YA historical fantasy. Or write it as adult, since the MC is 20.

Do you see NA expanding beyond contemporary in the next six to eight months?

I sure hope NA spreads out but right now there's no evidence that it will. But it could, at any moment!

Pamvhv
09-03-2013, 06:15 PM
All sub-genres or adult romance, or just certain ones?

I like historical, contemporary, and PNR.

Aggy B.
09-03-2013, 06:40 PM
I say that and I do remember every query. Photographic memory ;). The protocol is to say it has been revised significantly so this is a requery.

In that case, is it better to start the query letter with "I queried you with an earlier version of this MS, but it has since undergone significant revisions based on feedback from other agents." And then have the rest of the query letter as normal?

(I have made significant changes to my MS and have been requerying the folks who were initially non-responders, but might go back to some of those who sent a rejection on the previous query. I'm trying to figure out if I should stick with the initial query which brought fairly good results or move on to the second query letter - written since the revisions with a tighter format.)

Pamvhv
09-03-2013, 06:44 PM
In that case, is it better to start the query letter with "I queried you with an earlier version of this MS, but it has since undergone significant revisions based on feedback from other agents." And then have the rest of the query letter as normal?

(I have made significant changes to my MS and have been requerying the folks who were initially non-responders, but might go back to some of those who sent a rejection on the previous query. I'm trying to figure out if I should stick with the initial query which brought fairly good results or move on to the second query letter - written since the revisions with a tighter format.)



Yes that's the perfect way to do it and stick with the initial query if it gave good response.

Aggy B.
09-03-2013, 07:01 PM
Thanks. Really appreciate your time answering questions. :)

Patrick.S
09-03-2013, 07:22 PM
Is "Low YA" a thing? My WIP has a younger voice than most YA but the protagonist is in high school. I would compare it to the Percy Jackson books in tone but with a romance subplot playing a more important role. I know that Percy Jackson falls into MG most of the time. Do you think I would be better off calling it low YA? Just YA? Upper MG? Thanks for answering all of our questions!

I'm going to be a twink and bump my own question. Totally cool if you don't feel like answering it, I just didn't want it to get lost in the shuffle. Thanks!

Pamvhv
09-03-2013, 07:27 PM
I'm going to be a twink and bump my own question. Totally cool if you don't feel like answering it, I just didn't want it to get lost in the shuffle. Thanks!

Upper MG! Sorry I didn't see this so I"m glad you bumped it.

Patrick.S
09-03-2013, 07:30 PM
Lightning response! Grazie Mille!!

KVL
09-03-2013, 11:06 PM
Is there a word limit on what you might represent? For example if one of your authors writes novellas or short stories in addition to longer works, would you sell those or would the author?

Thanks for answering so many questions! This thread has been a great read :)

Pamvhv
09-03-2013, 11:11 PM
Is there a word limit on what you might represent? For example if one of your authors writes novellas or short stories in addition to longer works, would you sell those or would the author?

Thanks for answering so many questions! This thread has been a great read :)

Depends per client and per work :). I won't rule out anything.

Netz
09-04-2013, 06:52 AM
Thanks for this, Pam. :)

When signing with an agent, are there any particular things to be aware of, or is the contract usually pretty straightforward?

(Not in this position yet, but I live in hope! :D)

Pamvhv
09-04-2013, 06:55 AM
Thanks for this, Pam. :)

When signing with an agent, are there any particular things to be aware of, or is the contract usually pretty straightforward?

(Not in this position yet, but I live in hope! :D)

The agreement should be easily readable and negotiable to some degree.

gingerwoman
09-04-2013, 07:48 AM
Upper MG! Sorry I didn't see this so I"m glad you bumped it.
And she's looking for middle grade, Patrick. :-)

Patrick.S
09-04-2013, 03:01 PM
:) Still a little ways from that point, unfortunately.

Jaegur
09-04-2013, 07:55 PM
Hi there, Pam! Long time listener, first time caller. (been following you on twitter for a while, you're always entertaining =D)

So, just last week I finished my first full-length manuscript (Yay!) and since then have been working on a first round of edits. I know, some like to take a few months away from it, but since I'd been away from the beginning for a few months I decided to just jump right back in. (I actually finished a novel! w00t!)

Ok, so onto my question. Sort of. My book is a LGBTQ YA Urban Fantasy with a male gay lead character. I've looked around for agents that I'll be wanting to query, but there doesn't seem to be a ton. I looked on QT and when I put all of my genres in there I came up with 11, haha.

Oh, right, question. With there being a limited amount of agents open to LGBTQ YA fiction, would it be smarter to keep the other two books in the series in my head and notes, or would an agent like to know that you're already working on your second novel in the series? Or would they just rather know that you have more books planned out, if they like the first?

Holy hell. If it took me that long to get to the point, my queries are in trouble, aren't they? (Look, I fit in another question so the pay off was worth it!)

Pamvhv
09-05-2013, 12:29 AM
Hi there, Pam! Long time listener, first time caller. (been following you on twitter for a while, you're always entertaining =D)

So, just last week I finished my first full-length manuscript (Yay!) and since then have been working on a first round of edits. I know, some like to take a few months away from it, but since I'd been away from the beginning for a few months I decided to just jump right back in. (I actually finished a novel! w00t!)

Ok, so onto my question. Sort of. My book is a LGBTQ YA Urban Fantasy with a male gay lead character. I've looked around for agents that I'll be wanting to query, but there doesn't seem to be a ton. I looked on QT and when I put all of my genres in there I came up with 11, haha.

Oh, right, question. With there being a limited amount of agents open to LGBTQ YA fiction, would it be smarter to keep the other two books in the series in my head and notes, or would an agent like to know that you're already working on your second novel in the series? Or would they just rather know that you have more books planned out, if they like the first?

Holy hell. If it took me that long to get to the point, my queries are in trouble, aren't they? (Look, I fit in another question so the pay off was worth it!)

I can't believe there are only 11 agents looking for YA Urban Fantasy. :)
But yes while you query this work on something new. If you get a bite and a publisher then work on the other two.

amergina
09-05-2013, 12:39 AM
Ok, so onto my question. Sort of. My book is a LGBTQ YA Urban Fantasy with a male gay lead character. I've looked around for agents that I'll be wanting to query, but there doesn't seem to be a ton. I looked on QT and when I put all of my genres in there I came up with 11, haha.

Oh, right, question. With there being a limited amount of agents open to LGBTQ YA fiction, would it be smarter to keep the other two books in the series in my head and notes, or would an agent like to know that you're already working on your second novel in the series? Or would they just rather know that you have more books planned out, if they like the first?

Holy hell. If it took me that long to get to the point, my queries are in trouble, aren't they? (Look, I fit in another question so the pay off was worth it!)

I'm not Pam (obviously) but if I'm reading your post correctly, you've only found 11 agents that list LGBTQ , YA, and Fantasy?

Send it to agents interested in YA and fantasy. Many many many many of them are open to (and want) a diversity of protagonists, but may not be listed specifically as LGBTQ fiction agents.

Pamvhv
09-05-2013, 01:15 AM
I'm not Pam (obviously) but if I'm reading your post correctly, you've only found 11 agents that list LGBTQ , YA, and Fantasy?

Send it to agents interested in YA and fantasy. Many many many many of them are open to (and want) a diversity of protagonists, but may not be listed specifically as LGBTQ fiction agents.

That's what I was getting at... That he should send it to agents who want YA and Fantasy. The LGBT part doesn't equate as we all generally love it.

Jaegur
09-05-2013, 02:46 AM
Thanks guys! Being new to this, I'm just leery on sending something to an agent that he/she doesn't specifically list as being interested in. So far I've just stalked a few on twitter that I'd like to query and asked them that way, haha.

Looks like I'll work on my Polaroid Girl novel, if my wife stops laughing at my plot ideas.

Thanks again =D

Cranky1
09-05-2013, 03:34 AM
Thanks guys! Being new to this, I'm just leery on sending something to an agent that he/she doesn't specifically list as being interested in. So far I've just stalked a few on twitter that I'd like to query and asked them that way, haha.

Looks like I'll work on my Polaroid Girl novel, if my wife stops laughing at my plot ideas.

Thanks again =D

Pardon me for jumping in here, but I write multicultural fiction. If I limited myself to those agents who indicate multicultural on their profiles, then I would be removing a good proportion of agents. I truly doubt that any of those agents would look at my characters and say - nope, I don't do Black people.

Now saying that - I have come across one agent that explicitly stated that they do not handle LGBT work.

Chris P
09-05-2013, 08:30 AM
I came to the thread late so I've not been able to read all of it, but I did a keyword search and got no hits.

How important are publication credits to you? I have half a dozen short stories in token and free markets and a novel with an epublisher that's (sadly) not selling well. Do such credits make any difference? How hefty does a credit have to be to sway you from "Not for us, thanks" to "Please send your first 50 pages"?

I've also gotten conflicting advice from people in the know about non-fiction/scholarly writing credits when querying novels. I'm not talking Popular Science, I'm talking Journal of Ivory Tower Esoterology. What's your take?

Pamvhv
09-05-2013, 08:32 AM
I came to the thread late so I've not been able to read all of it, but I did a keyword search and got no hits.

How important are publication credits to you? I have half a dozen short stories in token and free markets and a novel with an epublisher that's (sadly) not selling well. Do such credits make any difference? How hefty does a credit have to be to sway you from "Not for us, thanks" to "Please send your first 50 pages"?

I've also gotten conflicting advice from people in the know about non-fiction/scholarly writing credits when querying novels. I'm not talking Popular Science, I'm talking Journal of Ivory Tower Esoterology. What's your take?

They help. They let us know someone at some point found value in your writing already :).

Krazykat
09-05-2013, 08:44 AM
Tone/style is fine as long as you aren't overdoing it. Never write AS the characters.

Just wanted to add my thanks for clarifying this. I guess I've always assumed that 'voice' in a query is what Nathan Bransford was talking about when he said: "Try as much as possible to write the query so that it embodies the spirit of your project. If your book is funny, write a funny query. If your book is written with beautiful lyrical prose, write your query accordingly."

At least, I know that's what I've been obsessing over and trying to accomplish! Recently I rewrote a query that had already been through dozens of drafts and been approved by my regular betas several times. I thought I'd just show it to someone with 'fresh eyes' who was unfamiliar with the book. When she said it didn't really pull her in and the MC seemed flat, I threw up my hands and decided to try something completely different.

So I wrote something that's less like a traditional blurb that describes the book, and a lot more like a sample passage lifted out of the novel itself. My first thought was that it could be risky, since it's a bit unconventional. But compared to the other version, it's definitely more interesting . . . And as we've been aptly reminded here, the whole point of a query is to show what makes the book different, right? :D In any case, I ended up deciding I'll try that one instead and just see how it goes. (I can always go back to the older version . . . or just redo it all over again!)


I sure hope NA spreads out but right now there's no evidence that it will. But it could, at any moment!

I confess I'm puzzled about this NA issue. I can see that it makes sense in contemporary fiction, where it focuses on life after high school—dealing with college and finding a job and all the 'starting out in life' issues faced by people in their late teens and early twenties. But why would you need an NA subcategory in genre fiction like SF and fantasy, where ninety percent of the protagonists in the 'non-YA' books have always been 18-25 anyway?

Pamvhv
09-05-2013, 08:47 AM
Just wanted to add my thanks for clarifying this. I guess I've always assumed that 'voice' in a query is what Nathan Bransford was talking about when he said: "Try as much as possible to write the query so that it embodies the spirit of your project. If your book is funny, write a funny query. If your book is written with beautiful lyrical prose, write your query accordingly."

At least, I know that's what I've been obsessing over and trying to accomplish! Recently I rewrote a query that had already been through dozens of drafts and been approved by my regular betas several times. I thought I'd just show it to someone with 'fresh eyes' who was unfamiliar with the book. When she said it didn't really pull her in and the MC seemed flat, I threw up my hands and decided to try something completely different.

So I wrote something that's less like a traditional blurb that describes the book, and a lot more like a sample passage lifted out of the novel itself. My first thought was that it could be risky, since it's a bit unconventional. But compared to the other version, it's definitely more interesting . . . And as we've been aptly reminded here, the whole point of a query is to show what makes the book different, right? :D In any case, I ended up deciding I'll try that one instead and just see how it goes. (I can always go back to the older version . . . or just redo it all over again!)



I confess I'm puzzled about this NA issue. I can see that it makes sense in contemporary fiction, where it focuses on life after high school—dealing with college and finding a job and all the 'starting out in life' issues faced by people in their late teens and early twenties. But why would you need an NA subcategory in genre fiction like SF and fantasy, where ninety percent of the protagonists in the 'non-YA' books have always been 18-25 anyway?

WHy do you need them in YA then since YA is just dealing with high school? :P

Krazykat
09-05-2013, 10:28 AM
WHy do you need them in YA then since YA is just dealing with high school? :P

Okay, I can see how one could make that argument.:tongue But aren't there a number of criteria that YA books are supposed to more or less fit into, in terms of what they focus on—like coming of age, for instance? (Things that aren't just connected to the contemporary high school experience, that is!)

I know YA can be just as gritty and deal with all sorts of 'adult' issues, but I thought the idea is that YA still has a different feel because of the things that are emphasized in the character's journey on account of their age.

And mostly what I was thinking was that if you put all the books about characters in that NA age bracket into an NA subcategory, in some genres that wouldn't leave many books in the 'adult' category!

Pamvhv
09-05-2013, 11:35 AM
Okay, I can see how one could make that argument.:tongue But aren't there a number of criteria that YA books are supposed to more or less fit into, in terms of what they focus on—like coming of age, for instance? (Things that aren't just connected to the contemporary high school experience, that is!)

I know YA can be just as gritty and deal with all sorts of 'adult' issues, but I thought the idea is that YA still has a different feel because of the things that are emphasized in the character's journey on account of their age.

And mostly what I was thinking was that if you put all the books about characters in that NA age bracket into an NA subcategory, in some genres that wouldn't leave many books in the 'adult' category!

It would have to become a clearly defined reading level. Like YA, and MG. So far that hasn't happened.

Krazykat
09-05-2013, 11:31 PM
It would have to become a clearly defined reading level. Like YA, and MG. So far that hasn't happened.

Thanks, Pam. That makes sense. I just did a little searching on the definition of NA, and I see that there's still a lot of debate about it. One of the definitions is that NA has the same feel as YA, only the age is bumped up. (So it's not as if anyone is suggesting that any book with an MC who's twenty would be NA.) But I can see how it might be trickier to define just what NA is outside of a contemporary setting, and that's probably a factor.

TudorRose
09-06-2013, 11:10 AM
Hi Pam - many thanks for your valuable insights!

An agency I may want to query at some point requires authors to agree to a "Terms and Conditions of Submission" document which contains the following paragraph:


You warrant that you are the sole owner and/or author of said material, that you have the exclusive right and authority to submit the same to WME upon the terms and conditions stated herein, and that all of the elements of said material are described in your submission email to WME. WME and WME’s clients may use said material, without obligation to you and without your permission. You agree that nothing contained in this release nor the fact of your submission of said material to WME shall be deemed to place WME or any of WME’s clients in any different position from any member of the general public with respect to any element or portion of said material.Do you know what the highlighted sentence might mean, and is it something I should be concerned about?

Obviously this is a large, long-established agency and I don't imagine that they would be out to steal my ideas -- but at the same time I'm reluctant to blindly agree to this document without knowing in what way they're entitled to "use" the material I send them without my permission!

I completely understand if you prefer not to comment directly on another agency's policies, but just thought I would ask if this is something standard which is no cause for concern.

Note to mods: this issue has already been flagged by another member in the WME thread (http://adult.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=8225896), but as it didn't get resolved there I'd appreciate it if you could give this post a chance to receive some attention here before moving it to that thread. Thank you! :)

Pamvhv
09-06-2013, 07:07 PM
Hi Pam - many thanks for your valuable insights!

An agency I may want to query at some point requires authors to agree to a "Terms and Conditions of Submission" document which contains the following paragraph:

Do you know what the highlighted sentence might mean, and is it something I should be concerned about?

Obviously this is a large, long-established agency and I don't imagine that they would be out to steal my ideas -- but at the same time I'm reluctant to blindly agree to this document without knowing in what way they're entitled to "use" the material I send them without my permission!

I completely understand if you prefer not to comment directly on another agency's policies, but just thought I would ask if this is something standard which is no cause for concern.

Note to mods: this issue has already been flagged by another member in the WME thread (http://adult.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=8225896), but as it didn't get resolved there I'd appreciate it if you could give this post a chance to receive some attention here before moving it to that thread. Thank you! :)


I'd rather not comment and honestly I can't without reading the entire contract.

popmuze
09-06-2013, 08:50 PM
While my new book has a very high concept, I think agents may pass on the project due to my inglorious track record (of sales, not bad behavior).

Since I'm thinking it might be prudent to publish this book under a pen name, is this something you'd want to know in a query. If so, would it also be necessary for me to reveal my past track record--or even my real name in said query? Or could I just query under the new name, as someone with no specific track record?

Pamvhv
09-07-2013, 03:44 AM
While my new book has a very high concept, I think agents may pass on the project due to my inglorious track record (of sales, not bad behavior).

Since I'm thinking it might be prudent to publish this book under a pen name, is this something you'd want to know in a query. If so, would it also be necessary for me to reveal my past track record--or even my real name in said query? Or could I just query under the new name, as someone with no specific track record?

Low sales traditionally at a big six house? Otherwise your sales probably aren't going to come into play for a new book.

Stacy
09-07-2013, 06:33 AM
Hi Pam, I have been reading your responses and I add my Thank you.:)

My question...I read on a blog post recently that agents and e-pubs frowns upon the author seeking an agent after they have received a contract offer. Is this correct?
I ask as Entangled is in the process of preparing a contract for my four historical novellas. Do I seek an agent before signing? Will this be frowned upon by the publisher or agent?
Looking forward to your response. Thank you

popmuze
09-07-2013, 08:17 AM
Pam,
Some of these were at a big six house, yes. Some of these are for books stretching back years, indicating I might be too long in the tooth to take on as a hot young writer. What if I wanted to reinvent myself as a first novelist again, with a new name and no track record. Is it possible? Is it ethical? Would an agent want to (or need to) know about my checkered past as far as the booksellers of America are concerned?

Pamvhv
09-07-2013, 08:38 AM
Hi Pam, I have been reading your responses and I add my Thank you.:)

My question...I read on a blog post recently that agents and e-pubs frowns upon the author seeking an agent after they have received a contract offer. Is this correct?
I ask as Entangled is in the process of preparing a contract for my four historical novellas. Do I seek an agent before signing? Will this be frowned upon by the publisher or agent?
Looking forward to your response. Thank you

You can definitely try. But my new standpoint is to auto-reject. A contract from a small publisher isn't incentive and I wouldn't have time to revise with the author and take it on a proper sub. I'm sure there are agents who would like to see the book anyway. No harm in sending out the queries.

Pamvhv
09-07-2013, 08:39 AM
Pam,
Some of these were at a big six house, yes. Some of these are for books stretching back years, indicating I might be too long in the tooth to take on as a hot young writer. What if I wanted to reinvent myself as a first novelist again, with a new name and no track record. Is it possible? Is it ethical? Would an agent want to (or need to) know about my checkered past as far as the booksellers of America are concerned?

Yes, we'd need to know.

gingerwoman
09-07-2013, 11:38 AM
Hi Pam,
I'm wondering do you think agents are still interested in erotic books and erotic romance, or is that market getting saturated as far as the Big Five/Six are concerned?

folkchick
09-07-2013, 05:15 PM
Pam, thank you for doing this. My question is: How should one query when they use a real name and a pen name? I write across genres, like YA to mainstream/lit, and have been published under both names. Should I mention this in queries, or just stick with anything pertaining to the name I'm using for that particular project?

Stacy
09-07-2013, 07:55 PM
Thank you Pam.:)


You can definitely try. But my new standpoint is to auto-reject. A contract from a small publisher isn't incentive and I wouldn't have time to revise with the author and take it on a proper sub. I'm sure there are agents who would like to see the book anyway. No harm in sending out the queries.

Pamvhv
09-07-2013, 08:27 PM
Hi Pam,
I'm wondering do you think agents are still interested in erotic books and erotic romance, or is that market getting saturated as far as the Big Five/Six are concerned?

I'm still interested. I think the market still has room.

Pamvhv
09-07-2013, 08:29 PM
Pam, thank you for doing this. My question is: How should one query when they use a real name and a pen name? I write across genres, like YA to mainstream/lit, and have been published under both names. Should I mention this in queries, or just stick with anything pertaining to the name I'm using for that particular project?

Write the query under the name you're using for that project. But when you sign off on the close of the email put something in like:

Cookie Monster writing as Bert and Ernie.

folkchick
09-07-2013, 08:39 PM
Aha! That Cookie Monster is one smart—never mind. Hmm, cookies.

Thanks again, Pam!

TudorRose
09-08-2013, 03:48 PM
I'd rather not comment and honestly I can't without reading the entire contract.

Understood, thanks anyway :)

Cheryl Mackie
09-09-2013, 04:36 AM
I don't think the word count is so low you may not get bites. For me I'm only accepting NA in contemporary because that's all that is selling. I'd reach out and see how folks respond to it. It may not be a bad idea to submit to some publishers like Carina.

Hi Pam,
Thanks for continuing to answer our questions. I would like to sneak in one more if I may.

I've been giving much thought to submitting directly to a publisher based on the above word count issue of my manuscript. (Which oddly enough started out at 80k words.)
I've queried a handful of agents as of late and wonder how long I should wait before approaching a publisher. Some sites state agents will auto-reject or give no reply to the query based on a low word count. I have five queries out(only sent 8) In your opinion, should I wait to hear back from each agency? Some comments I've read say it could take more than a few months for a rejection. Thanks.

Cherrie

Pamvhv
09-09-2013, 05:46 AM
Hi Pam,
Thanks for continuing to answer our questions. I would like to sneak in one more if I may.

I've been giving much thought to submitting directly to a publisher based on the above word count issue of my manuscript. (Which oddly enough started out at 80k words.)
I've queried a handful of agents as of late and wonder how long I should wait before approaching a publisher. Some sites state agents will auto-reject or give no reply to the query based on a low word count. I have five queries out(only sent 8) In your opinion, should I wait to hear back from each agency? Some comments I've read say it could take more than a few months for a rejection. Thanks.

Cherrie


That's all up to you. Would you rather do that now and get an offer? If that is the most important part to you then you can bypass the agents. Or you can let them finish their read of the full.

Cheryl Mackie
09-10-2013, 12:50 AM
That's all up to you. Would you rather do that now and get an offer? If that is the most important part to you then you can bypass the agents. Or you can let them finish their read of the full.

Oh my gosh...if I had anyone reading a partial or even a full, this question would not have even been asked. Thank you for your insight.

Aggy B.
09-10-2013, 09:40 PM
The Hook - logline
The Book - A paragraph or two about your book
The Cook - a bit about you

That's it. One page, try not to make the agent scroll ;)

I'm curious about this. There is a rather vocal group of folks who insist that loglines should never be part of a query. So, what sort of logline do you look for? (And is that "no loglines" sentiment as set in stone as I've heard?) What sort of info should be in those other paragraphs in regard to the book?

I have a short query letter that has a three sentence logline that sums up the book, then the genre/wordcount and a bit about me. I also have a longer query (still under a page) that has a three paragraph synopsis of the main plot, the genre/wordcount and a paragraph about me. I'm not seeing how combining the logline out of the shorter letter with the expanded material in the second would not be annoying and needlessly repetitious.

Aggy, frequently frustrated by the querying "rules"

Pamvhv
09-11-2013, 04:51 AM
I'm curious about this. There is a rather vocal group of folks who insist that loglines should never be part of a query. So, what sort of logline do you look for? (And is that "no loglines" sentiment as set in stone as I've heard?) What sort of info should be in those other paragraphs in regard to the book?

I have a short query letter that has a three sentence logline that sums up the book, then the genre/wordcount and a bit about me. I also have a longer query (still under a page) that has a three paragraph synopsis of the main plot, the genre/wordcount and a paragraph about me. I'm not seeing how combining the logline out of the shorter letter with the expanded material in the second would not be annoying and needlessly repetitious.

Aggy, frequently frustrated by the querying "rules"

Just follow submission guidelines and you'll be fine.

Little Ming
09-11-2013, 09:27 PM
I'm curious about this. There is a rather vocal group of folks who insist that loglines should never be part of a query. So, what sort of logline do you look for? (And is that "no loglines" sentiment as set in stone as I've heard?) ...

To be fair to that "rather vocal group," it's not "never" use loglines. It's there are A LOT of bad ones out there, so if you're going to use one you REALLY have to stand out... and in a good way. ;)

The original source comes from queryshark (http://queryshark.blogspot.com/2011/10/212.html) (Janet Reid).

(Not saying Ms. Reid speaks for all agents, but that "vocal group" didn't just pull this "rule" out of their asses. :))

Aggy B.
09-11-2013, 09:41 PM
To be fair to that "rather vocal group," it's not "never" use loglines. It's there are A LOT of bad ones out there, so if you're going to use one you REALLY have to stand out... and in a good way. ;)

The original source comes from queryshark (http://queryshark.blogspot.com/2011/10/212.html) (Janet Reid).

(Not saying Ms. Reid speaks for all agents, but that "vocal group" didn't just pull this "rule" out of their asses. :))

Actually, the "vocal group" I was referring to, were the squirrels in QLH. When I asked for feedback on a logline last year, most of the responses I got were folks telling me that loglines had no place in a query letter.

This despite pointing out it was for a pitch contest, not a query (at that point).

But I guess it all goes back to whatever works for you.

Aggy, gotten responses to both letters so that settles that

Little Ming
09-11-2013, 09:47 PM
Actually, the "vocal group" I was referring to, were the squirrels in QLH.

I know.

I'm glad the query worked for you. That's all that really matters. :)

BMajor
09-16-2013, 07:11 PM
Hi Pam! Don't know if you still scour this thread, but had something come up over the weekend that I need a little clarity on.

I can't find a crystal clear definition of what a High Concept should be. Is it different for each Agents/Publisher?

Everything I've found (both online and through friends) differs to extreme degrees. What is a High Concept, to you? What should I be changing/looking for when pushing my own novel to be a high concept piece? :)

Pamvhv
09-16-2013, 08:40 PM
Hi Pam! Don't know if you still scour this thread, but had something come up over the weekend that I need a little clarity on.

I can't find a crystal clear definition of what a High Concept should be. Is it different for each Agents/Publisher?

Everything I've found (both online and through friends) differs to extreme degrees. What is a High Concept, to you? What should I be changing/looking for when pushing my own novel to be a high concept piece? :)

It basically means your plot can be described well in one (or two) sentences. Nathan Bransford talks more about that here: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/08/what-high-concept-means.html

BMajor
09-17-2013, 05:41 AM
Many thanks!

Rufus Coppertop
09-17-2013, 05:24 PM
Hi Pam,

Thanks for your time here. It's interesting to read your views.

If an urban fantasy with steampunk aesthetics and a bit of mythology thrown in has a British flavour and is even a bit reminiscent of Terry Pratchett, would it be unrealistic to submit it to your agency?

Pamvhv
09-17-2013, 07:25 PM
Hi Pam,

Thanks for your time here. It's interesting to read your views.

If an urban fantasy with steampunk aesthetics and a bit of mythology thrown in has a British flavour and is even a bit reminiscent of Terry Pratchett, would it be unrealistic to submit it to your agency?

That sounds like something Laurie or myself would love.

gingerwoman
09-18-2013, 03:30 AM
Write the query under the name you're using for that project. But when you sign off on the close of the email put something in like:

Cookie Monster writing as Bert and Ernie.
Is that Cookie Monster's pen name for his LGBT fiction?

Pamvhv
09-18-2013, 03:31 AM
Is that Cookie Monster's pen name for his LGBT fiction?

His erotica.

Captcha
09-18-2013, 03:33 AM
His erotica.


Food fetish stuff? He really LOVES cookies...

gingerwoman
09-18-2013, 03:35 AM
:ROFL:

Pamvhv
09-18-2013, 03:35 AM
Food fetish stuff? He really LOVES cookies...

It's grotesque stuff. Cookie dough on hoohahs.

Rufus Coppertop
09-18-2013, 04:38 AM
That sounds like something Laurie or myself would love.Thank you! :)
Okay then. I have some work to do before it's ready. When it's ready I'll send it.

gingerwoman
09-18-2013, 08:28 AM
Would you mind listing some of your deals, which imprints you sold to, or is that getting too personal.

Pamvhv
09-18-2013, 08:58 AM
Would you mind listing some of your deals, which imprints you sold to, or is that getting too personal.

That's public info for the ones that have been announced.

I've sold to the big six. Entangled, Spencer Hill Press.