Pike's story!

Find out more 



Male/Male romance

Available now! Find out more 


Available now for only $1.99!

Find out more 




Gibson's story!

Releasing Oct. 20, 2015!

Find out more 



A brand new series!

Releasing Jan. 5, 2016!

Find out more 




*This does not subscribe you to my blog.





Join the Fearless Romantics Reader Group

Search This Site
Powered by Squarespace
Latest From the Blog
Dig Through the Archives
100+ reading challenge 2010 about me adverbs agent agents ashley march author author blog author branding author intrusion author platform author voice author websites authors award awards backstory bad boy balance berkley heat best writing links beta club beta reader beta readers blog tour blog tours blogfest blogger blogging blogging tips book book covers book deal book marketing book promotion book reviews book title books branding characters comments contest contests crash into you creativity critique critique group critiquing dear author debut author deep point of view deep POV dialogue ebooks editing editors endings e-publishing excerpt face off friday feedback fiction fill-me-in friday first chapter first draft first novel genre genre fiction goals guest blog guest blogging guest post harlequin historical romance hook how to write humor ideas indie publishing inspiration interview joan swan Julie Cross kindle kissing blogfest kristen lamb links literary agent literary fiction love scenes marketing mashup melt into you memorable moments middle grade motivation motley crue movies muse music mystery mystery writing Nelson Literary Agency new years resolutions novels opening chapter opening lines openings overediting panster pantser paranormal pen name perfectionism pitching plotter plotting poll promotion publishing queries query query letter querying question of the day reading reading challenges rejection repost revising revisions romance romance author romantic suspense roni loren rough draft royal street rules RWA RWA nationals sagging middle Sara Megibow save the cat self-editing self-publishing sequels series sex scenes sierra godfrey social media social networking speed writing submissions suspense suzanne johnson teens tempest tiffany reisz time management TMI traditional publishing tumblr twilight twitter update urban fantasy voice WIP wip wednesday women's fiction wordiness work in progress wednesday workshops write tip writer writer toolbox writers writer's block writers' conference writer's toolbox writetip writing writing blogs writing contest writing craft writing goals YA young adult

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 anita mumm (1)


Guest Post: Literary Assistant Anita Mumm on Queries


Today I have a terrific guest for you guys. Nelson Lit's Literary Assistant Anita Mumm! There have been some posts lately about the dire numbers of clients signed from cold querying. In response to some of those reports, author/blogger Jody Hedlund recently asked: is the query system dying?

Well, I didn't really know the answer to that question. I did get to Sara via a client referral, so this made me wonder. But I figured instead of just pondering, I'd go straight to a source that could give us some insight. Anita is on the front lines of the slushpile at Nelson Lit, so I posed the question to her. Is there hope for a new writer to get an agent via a cold query? And now I'll turn it over to Anita for her answer.
There’s a rumor floating around cyberspace that agents don’t read blind queries anymore. That unless you’re already published, or recommended by Famous Author X, you might as well stuff your letter in a bottle and pitch it out to sea. The slush pile is dead.
Well, let me start by saying that if the slush pile is dead, I sure feel silly spending so much time wading through ours every day. *grin* On average, we get just over a hundred queries a day, and yes, we read them all. What we’re NOT looking for is an excuse to reject a query because it doesn’t contain enough name-dropping or publishing credits. Don’t get me wrong—those can definitely help, but they are not essential. When I read a query, I’m looking for a combination of the following: unique story, hot topic, strong voice (one that, we hope, mirrors what we’ll see in the manuscript), compelling characters, and an ability to be both thorough and concise—capturing the essence of the story in a couple of paragraphs is no small feat.
Here is an interesting statistic for you: 75% of our clients were cold queries (i.e. non-referrals). Yep, that means they were sifted out of the slush pile based solely on the strength of their writing in a one-page letter. Next, their 30-page sample made the cut, and we requested a full manuscript. Kristin or Sara fell in love, and the rest is history.
I can’t offer numbers from other agencies, but the fact that we frequently compete for the same hot manuscripts—from the slush pile—shows that we are not an anomaly here.
That said, I’d hate to mislead anyone by implying this is an easy process. Remember those 100 queries a day? So that means in a year we see…merciful heavens, that number is too scary for me to even think about writing! Makes my eyes bleed! And out of that scary number, our agents sign a tiny handful of new clients.  The odds are not in your favor.
But when have the odds ever been favor of wild, unrealistic dreams? Good thing JK Rowling and Suzanne Collins and Paul Harding didn’t waste time worrying about their chances. And neither did our clients, who have become NYT bestsellers, among many other honors. It started with a query letter.
Believe in your writing. Let it speak for itself. And by all means, learn how to perfect your pitch—that part doesn’t have to come naturally. Kristin’s query workshop on her blog ( is a great tutorial if you need a kick-start, and here is the link to some great examples of our clients’ original query letters:
Happy writing.


Anita recently joined the NLA team as literary assistant. A compulsive book collector whose interests span the genres, she chose her current neighborhood based on the number of bookstores within walking distance. She received a B.A. in linguistics and French from the University of Kansas and an M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language from the University of Illinois. She has taught English and creative writing to international students in the U.S., France, and China. Anita is thrilled to bring her love of language, writing, and other cultures to her new position at the Nelson Agency. She shares a cozy apartment near downtown Denver with a curvy kitty named Francine.

Now Anita is generously donating a query critique for a prize, so don't forget to enter the contest. You'll also be included to win the other query crits up for grabs as well. But remember, you need to comment on both this post and friday's, and fill out this form to enter. :)

Thanks again, Anita!