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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

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Jae

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Agent's release form

It's Trident Media Group LLC based in New York that is requesting a release form before a full read of my manuscript.
 

Cyia

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Jae

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Then you're probably okay. Others have been asked to sign them from that agency. It's their policy.

(read through the Trident thread here, you'll see what I mean.
Thanks. I have been contacted by several agencies in the past who turned out to be less than stellar, so I appreciate the advice.
 

burritorat2

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Query Questions

Hi Jennifer!

I have recently finished a 65,000-word young adult fantasy/thriller. I'm currently perfecting my query letter, but I've caught a few snags - snags that the books on query letters don't specifically address. My question is this:

Since the main character of my book loves fantasy literature, is it appropriate to mention in my query other literary characters that my character admires? (i.e. "Trevor wants to be Frodo Baggins") Ideally, this gives insight to my character's personality and also gives agents an idea of which audiences my novel will appeal to. Is this acceptable?

Also, I've been a freelance journalist for 8 years, but have few credentials in the field of fiction. Would it be appropriate to mention my journalism experience in my query letter?

Thank you very much for your time.
 
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Will posting a first chapter of my manuscript to my blog for critiquing by fellow bloggers prevent me from getting published? Will this effect whether an agent wants to take me on if I remove the post within a few days?

I wanted to get a critique from other bloggers but not at the cost of a potential contract.
 

Marina Snow

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Will posting a first chapter of my manuscript to my blog for critiquing by fellow bloggers prevent me from getting published? Will this effect whether an agent wants to take me on if I remove the post within a few days? I wanted to get a critique from other bloggers but not at the cost of a potential contract.

I asked a similar question in this thread. I have posted Jennifer's reply for you:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marina Snow
I have been struggling with wanting to have a website and wondering if I should first wait until I find an agent or editor. I have written a non-fiction self-help book for survivors of child sexual abuse.

Jennifer wrote: I do not believe there is any correlation between having a website and getting an agent. In fact, if the site is as useful as you think it will be, that will be good for impressing an agent and will help book sales down the line.

Do make a forum, or blog, or post useful links, or whatever. Do NOT post extracts from your unpublished book - that looks weird and unprofessional.
 

Jennifer_Laughran

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Will posting a first chapter of my manuscript to my blog for critiquing by fellow bloggers prevent me from getting published? Will this effect whether an agent wants to take me on if I remove the post within a few days?

I wanted to get a critique from other bloggers but not at the cost of a potential contract.

Why not get a writing LiveJournal or similar, and post under friends-lock?
 

Jennifer_Laughran

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Since the main character of my book loves fantasy literature, is it appropriate to mention in my query other literary characters that my character admires? (i.e. "Trevor wants to be Frodo Baggins") Ideally, this gives insight to my character's personality and also gives agents an idea of which audiences my novel will appeal to. Is this acceptable?

Sure of course, as long as the characters are well-known enough that the reader won't be puzzled by the references. Frodo would be fine.

Also, I've been a freelance journalist for 8 years, but have few credentials in the field of fiction. Would it be appropriate to mention my journalism experience in my query letter?

Sure. No need to get too elaborate about it and list all the publications you've written for, but "I have been a freelance journalist for 8 years" is fine.
 

Jennifer_Laughran

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I wrote a manuscript, and I am the main character in the book. Why is that taboo? Will an agent ever take my work seriously?

I can think of instances of fictional and semi-fictional books where the author is a character in the book, and of course there are autobiographies.

But anyway, great writing is a taboo-buster.
 

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Jennifer, has anyone mentioned lately how terrific it is to have you here? Thank you, from all of us at AW, for the time you put in after hours, to answer questions. It's deeply appreciated.
 

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Hi Jennifer:

Feel free to skip any or all of these:

1. What do you like about being an agent?

2. Can you still read just for fun, or is it all work now?

And thanks very much for doing this; it's really very much appreciated.
 
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shorty411

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Hi Jennifer,

I actually had a question about how you went from being a bookseller to becoming an agent and whether or not bookselling counts as viable work experience when applying for jobs in the industry. The reason I'm asking is because my degree is in computer engineering and I worked in the field for about 6 years. I knew it wasn't what I wanted to do so I quit. Therefore, I don't have any internships in the publishing industry to speak of and my degree is a little off topic. However, I have often heard of booksellers, such as yourself, who have moved on to become agents and editors. Currently I'm the lead bookseller in the children's department of my local Barnes and Noble. Sorry this is so long but you said you were bored on twitted :) ultimately, my question is, given the state of the industry is bookselling still something that is still valued on a resume when applying for entry level positions in the publishing industry?

Thank you!
 

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Going on submission - are there "ideal" times?

Hi Jennifer,

So this is likely just the kind of why-are-you-asking-me-this-when-you-should-be-revising type of question that agents love to get. Yay, you! Nonetheless..

People talk about publishers building their lists at certain times of the year...as in, "we already have too much YA Paranormal on our fall list."

Are there ideal times of year for a MS to go on submission in the sense that publishers acquire on a specific schedule?

Thanks,

Whitney
 

wandergirl

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Hi Jennifer!

This might be a silly easy one. If I've been communicating with an agent's assistant regarding a partial request, and then the subsequent full request, do I email a status query to the agent or the assistant? ...Or do I CC both?

Thanks!
--Kirsten
 

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1. What do you like about being an agent?

Pretty much everything except having to reject so many people.

2. Can you still read just for fun, or is it all work now?

Sure, I read a ton, though I buy many more books than I could possibly have time to read. And I am pickier now. In the past, I'd read an entire book in the hopes that it would magically get better. Now, if I don't like a book pretty quickly, I just stop, cause I don't have time to read something I am not enjoying! Mostly I read kids & YA, though occasionally grown-up non-fiction, which I find palate-cleansing. (Though not something I'd want to rep!) :)
 

Jennifer_Laughran

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I actually had a question about how you went from being a bookseller to becoming an agent and whether or not bookselling counts as viable work experience when applying for jobs in the industry.... Ultimately, my question is, given the state of the industry is bookselling still something that is still valued on a resume when applying for entry level positions in the publishing industry?

Well, I was a bookseller for about 15 years, at stores all over the country, the last 6 years or so as a rather high-profile buyer and events coordinator. That isn't being braggy, just to say that I was (am actually still) on regional and national booksellers committees, do presentations at BEA, etc. So I am not sure that my experience is typical.

The only way to really learn to be an agent or an editor, though, is to do it. Despite my years of bookselling experience, I still had to work as an unpaid agency intern for about a year before I took on my first clients. But my background definitely got me the internship in the first place and the market knowledge that came from bookselling has been immensely helpful in my agent life.

(I also know editors that began as booksellers. Again, they had to begin in entry-level publishing positions as unpaid of very meagerly paid interns - but the bookselling knowledge they brought with them definitely helped get them those internships - which can be HIGHLY coveted and difficult to get.)
 

Jennifer_Laughran

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People talk about publishers building their lists at certain times of the year...as in, "we already have too much YA Paranormal on our fall list."

Are there ideal times of year for a MS to go on submission in the sense that publishers acquire on a specific schedule?

Not really. Ideally, you don't want to send things out in August or December if it can be helped, cause everyone is on vacay. Other than that - no.

Basically, things are acquired a year or more before they'd possibly come out, and the release date is based on many factors: How many other things are already waiting in line, how much work the item in question will need, if there has to be an illustrator involved, when the author has other books being released, etc... Like, if there is an illustrator, his schedule has to be taken into account too. If the author has other books, you wouldn't want them to conflict. If there are a ton of picture books coming in the upcoming season, you might want to add more novels to balance it out. If somebody has been going wild on the fantasy series and they notice that the catalogue is looking too full of that, they might want to even it with more realistic fare. Etc etc.

So at the moment I am selling things for Fall '10, Spring '11 and Summer '11 - but then I just sold something for Spring '12. When I submit it has no real bearing on when it will be published (except that it will rarely be sooner than a year out -- at this point, it will be very unlikely to be in Spring '10 unless it is an emergency rush-job, because editors are trying to finalize Spring '10 books now.)
 

Jennifer_Laughran

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This might be a silly easy one. If I've been communicating with an agent's assistant regarding a partial request, and then the subsequent full request, do I email a status query to the agent or the assistant? ...Or do I CC both?

I'd write to the person with whom you have been communicating. If the assistant cc'ed the agent on her emails to you, by all means cc both.
 

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Will posting a first chapter of my manuscript to my blog for critiquing by fellow bloggers prevent me from getting published? Will this effect whether an agent wants to take me on if I remove the post within a few days?

I wanted to get a critique from other bloggers but not at the cost of a potential contract.

You can always post it in Share Your Work on AW; it's password protected.
 

Medievalist

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Do you have any suggestions for coping with large quantities of email? I don't mean spam or lists; I mean several hundred emails from real people that need responses, a day.

I do use templates/form responses, but even so some days I'm drowning. I've been blocking off time a couple times a day to deal with email, and only doing email then, but I'm not sure that's effective.

Thanks
 

batgirl

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This is similar to a previous question, but different enough that I do need to ask it - thanks for your patience!

Say that a reputable editor requests a manuscript. This doesn't guarantee a sale, so the hopeful author goes on querying agents and garnering rejections while waiting on the editor. Good so far.
In the event that Rep. Ed. did make an offer on the ms., could Hope. Auth. contact an agent who had previously sent a form rejection?
If yes, would it be honest or stupid for Hope. Auth. to admit that the ms had previously been form-rejected by that agent?

Thanks!
-Barbara
 

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Hi Jennifer:
I was wondering if you could explain the process for a book to be accepted for publication. I know the agent submits it to an editor,but what happens next? if the editor loves it can they make an offer outright, or must they get approval from whomever? And what does approval entail and generally how long of a process is it?

thanks for your time:)
 

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This is a request, not a reply so I apologize in advance if I'm wrong to ask. I have a proposal being reviewed by an agent and another agent has asked to see my outline and first few chapters. Is it ethical to send information to two agents at once?
 
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