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Fiction Groupie Archives

These are my writing posts from my former blog, spanning 2009-2012. To see new writing posts, click on the blog tab above. To see these archived post organized by topic, click "For Writers" above.

Entries in agent (9)

Monday
Aug232010

Guess What? I HAVE AN AGENT!!!!!!!

 

OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! *deep breaths* OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG !!!!
Yes, it actually happened....
I


HAVE


AN


AGENT!!!!!
*twirls around in a circle*
This has happened so fast, I can barely believe it.  I came back from RWA Nationals at the beginning of the month with my list of the top five agents I wanted to query. I signed up for Query Tracker, sent out the letters, and settled in for the wait. I'd been down the road with my first novel and prepared myself for the long haul.
Well, I totally didn't need to spend that money for that QueryTracker premium membership (although, I highly recommend it--great program) because...
Two weeks later, I got an offer of representation from none other than ...
The fabulous Sara Megibow of the Nelson Literary Agency!!!!!
Needless to say, I accepted. She had great things to say about my book and has terrific input on how to make it even stronger. I'm so looking forward to working with her.
Now, my head is still spinning, so I apologize that this post is neither insightful nor coherent. I promise I will totally go in to details about how it all happened, how blogging played a part, which book I was querying, and what's going on now.  
Later.  
Right now, though, I'm too busy doing this....

 

**Today's Theme Song**
"Beautiful Day" - U2
(player in sidebar, take a listen)

 

Thursday
Aug052010

Interview with Agent Suzie Townsend - Win a Critique!

 

Today we're excited to welcome Agent Suzie Townsend of Fine Print Literary to the blog!  Suzie has kindly given her time to answer some of our burning questions and has also donated a query or 5-pg. critique as one of the prizes!  So without further adieu...
Bio:
 

Suzie is actively looking for fiction and non-fiction: specifically Middle Grade and YA novels (all subgenres, but particularly literary projects), adult romance (historical and paranormal), and fantasy (urban fantasy, science fiction, steampunk, epic fantasy).

 

Recent sales include Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers (Tor, September 2010), All These Lives by Sarah Wylie (FSG, winter 2012), Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulsen(Harper, winter 2012), Sea Rose Red by Cat Hellisen (FSG, spring 2012), Zombie Tag by Hannah Moskowitz (Roaring Brook, fall 2011), andTempest by Julie Cross (St. Martin’s Press, forthcoming).

She’s interested in strong characters and voice driven stories: she’s particularly keen on strong female protagonists, complex plot lines with underlying political, moral, or philosophical issues, and stories which break out of the typical tropes of their genre.  Some of her favorites are When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels series, and Jacqueline Carey’s Kushielseries.

She drinks too much diet orange soda, has a Starbucks problem (those soy chai lattes are addictive), and lives in Brooklyn with two dogs who know that chewing on shoes is okay but chewing on books is not.
Suzie keeps a blog at http://confessionsofawanderingheart.blogspot.com and can be found on twitter @sztownsend81.

 

 

What would you like to see more of in your query inbox?  And on the flipside, what are you tired of seeing?
This is also tough because I’m a little torn.  I love YA.  And I love paranormal YA.  But…I’m seeing so much of it that a lot of it seems to sound the same.  (And by so much, I mean probably over 90% of my queries are paranormal YA).  But I am still requesting paranormal YA if it sounds different and unique enough (like Ingrid Paulson’s forthcoming Valkyrie Rising). 
But I’d love to see contemporary literary YA (like Arlaina Tibensky’s forthcoming Bell Jar Summer) and literary YA with a speculative twist (like Before I Fall, How I Live Now, and Sarah Wylie’s forthcoming All These Lives).  I taught rhetoric before I got into publishing, so I love when I read something where I can get lost in the story and later think to myself “wow, the way he/she used language to write that story” (I’m a nerd, I know). 
I’d also love to see more YA science fiction projects (the science fiction elements have to be accessible though like in Julie’s forthcoming novel Tempest) with a romance.  And I love YA fantasies like Kristin Cashore’s Graceling, Melina Marchetta’s Finnikin of the Rock and Cat Hellisen’s forthcoming Sea Rose Red.
And I would love love love to find a YA set in a historical time period – steampunk, magical realism, more time travel, just straight up historical.  But I love Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle series.
Then outside of YA, I’d love to see more literary Middle Grade projects that have a great commercial premise but have a depth and complexity to them (like When You Reach Me and Hannah Moskowitz’s forthcoming Zombie Tag).
And I’m also looking to expand into the world of adult fiction.  I’d really love to find an urban fantasy series, a paranormal romance series (J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series is akin to crack for me) and a dark romantic fantasy series (I love Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels series and Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series).
And if anyone has a thriller like Patrick Lee’s The Breach, I’d love to find that too.

Since I also have a lot of romance writers who read this blog--and because I'm self-serving and want to know for myself ;) -- what subgenres of romance are you open to representing?
I love all things romance.  So really, I want to see it all.  Paranormal, historical, contemporary, fantasy.  I’m a sucker for romance.

Different agents have different opinions on what a writer should do before entering the query phase—i.e. find critique partners, finish a second novel before querying the first, go to a writing conference, etc.  What do you recommend a writer do before taking that step? 
For most writers, I have to say that critique partners are invaluable and a vital step in the process before querying.  (I do know a few writers, who don’t have critique partners, but they’re usually the brilliant exceptions).  It also helps if writers familiarize themselves with the industry before they start querying – either through research online or going to a conference or networking with other writers.  It’s important to understand how the business works before diving in.

How important is it, if at all, for a writer to have an online presence before having a book deal or agent?  Do you find it’s more important for a YA writer vs. another genre?
An online presence isn’t make or break at any stage.  The most important thing is writing a good book.  But before the book comes out, it will help if a writer develops an online presence and networks in order to get their name out there.  It’s especially important for YA writers since so much of their readership is also online, exploring social media.

We hear the horror stories about writers following agents into bathrooms to pitch their stories or sending weird things with their queries.  So, tell us, what’s the strangest method someone has used to try to query/pitch you?
I have gotten a bathroom pitch.  But the strangest method is the query I got in a Starbucks cup.  Yes – someone sent a Starbucks cup through the US Postal Service (I hadn’t realized that was possible until that moment), and inside there was the query and a bag of flour.

 

Thanks so much to Suzie for the great information and don't forget to click over to Julie's blog to see the rest of the interview including what makes a manuscript stand out from the rest!

And below is the daily Twitter bonus entry.  Remember, you have to have to have filled out the main contest form (link at top of page) before you can qualify for bonus entries.

*CONTEST CLOSED*

Friday
Oct162009

Face Off Friday: Free Expression or TMI?

 

Susan at A Walk in My Shoes posted last week on knowing the purpose of your blog. Some blogs have a defined niche, some are a mishmash of topics, and others are web style diaries. For me, I stick to writing/book related topics with the occasional personal post because, really, my life ain't that interesting. :) But obviously, the beauty of having your own blog is that it's yours and can be whatever you want it to be. And I love reading the variety that is out there.

However, when you're trying to get published, should you consider what agents might think if they click over to your site? There are some obvious things like the book review issue I already discussed, listing your rejections which Susan covered, or bad mouthing the publishing process. But I'm thinking more about the personal information issue. Is it okay to post things that, say, you wouldn't want your employer to know? Because ultimately an agent or publisher relationship will be a professional one. And if we are lucky enough to be published one day, is this information we would want our readers to know about us?

"Well I can delete those posts," you say. Ah, but the internet has a long memory called Cached Copy. Hop over here to see an example of how you can't really take something back.

Of course, the flip side of this argument is that a blog is a place for personal expression, so should be open to whatever. And if an agent doesn't like what's in your blog, then maybe they aren't the agent for you.

 

So what are your thoughts? Where do you draw the line on your blog or is there a line at all?

Also, I would like to thank Bob and Bess over at PlainOldBob Answers for this awesome award. I love the name. :) Make sure you go check out their site and say howdy.

**Today's Theme Song**
"My Wena" - Bowling For Soup (I ♥ this band)
*this song is TMI about his dachshund, um yeah*
(player in sidebar--go ahead, take a listen for a laugh)

 

Thursday
Jul162009

Mourning the Death of the First Novel

 

So I finished my first novel, Shadow Falls (paranormal YA) a few months ago. (Well, my first one that counts. The one in high school, well, a novel it was not.) I toiled and tweaked and edited and obsessed. I wrote and rewrote my query, frantically checking query shark to make sure I didn't make any well-known mistakes. I went through a crisis of self-esteem before hitting send on my first agent query--the oh so attractive, sweaty, shaky, I-obviously-can't-put-two-words-together-so-why-am-I-even-bothering stage. This stage was quickly followed by the "is my email working? is my spam filter too strong? why is it not dinging with new emails from agents?" phase. Yes, I know they say to expect a response no sooner than a few weeks or months, but I plugged my ears and sang show tunes to avoid accepting that knowledge.

To my surprise, many responded within two weeks, which made the immediate gratification monster inside me very happy indeed. Unfortunately, most of those responses were form rejections. However, to my great delight (and surprise), I received two request for partials and two requests for fulls pretty quickly from biggie, dream agents. Of course, I was already picturing my book on the shelf despite knowing my chances were still slim. After a few weeks (two months was the longest), I received three form rejections. Total bummer. Looped back to low self-esteem phase.
Then, this week, I received my rejection on the final full I had out. However, this time the agent personalized it. The lovely note contained the words "you are clearly a very talented writer" (woo-hoo) and that my story "had lots of teen appeal" (kickass). However, the story wasn't different enough from what was out there in a now saturated teen paranormal market. (sigh) Then, she asked that if I didn't find an agent this time around, she hoped I would query her on my next project. (Backing away from the ledge).
So, I'm considering the rejection a victory. I still have a few queries floating around, but my hope meter for this first book is definitely on low. I am mourning it's gentle death and will be burying it in the drawer soon. Perhaps it can be resurrected another day with some rewrites. In the meantime, onward and upward. I'm halfway through writing the first draft of a romance novel.
Lessons learned from novel #1: a) I don't totally suck b) I can write a query letter and c) I can handle rejection (mostly)

 

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