Tag Archives: agents

Happy 2013, folks!

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I hope you all got the chance to bid adieu to 2012 with fond memories under your belts and welcome 2013 with pomp and panache. Mine involved going to Vegas with the hubby for three nights, and falling sick on my last night there. Really, why do I have to be such a party pooper? I just do not know.

I realize my blog has been catching cobwebs and hearing crickets. That’s right. I heard it too. One of my New Year’s resolutions for this year is to try and be more regular about posting things up. To be honest, I spend a lot of time making lists of things I want to write about. I promise myself that this is going to be my bedtime routine. Sadly, my bedtime routine over the past six months, that’s right, ever since I became an agent, has been to work until I pass out with my face pasted to my computer screen. Then the hubby will prod me gingerly with a hanger or spoon, just in case I wake up and begin barking like a crazy person. He does this hoping I’ll join him in bed. Unfortunately, my brief sleep usually rejuvenates me to continue working some more, until the wee hours of the morning. It’s a vicious cycle, I tell you.

But life is great. No complaints. I’ve signed on three more clients since my last post.

Katherine Ernst & Chelle Bruhns- Their amazing YA Sci-fi novel is something I’m looking forward to bringing out into the world.

Eric Delapp- A YA fantasy novel that literally took my breath away, one I finished in one sitting, I might add.

Pat Esden- A YA Gothic novel that had me up until 4am! With chills running up and down my body while I read it no less!

I’m blessed that all 5 of my clients are wonderful writers, wonderful people, who really love what they do, and are willing to work (super hard) toward making their dreams come true. And I’m blessed to be able to work alongside them to make this happen.

We’ve all been hard at work. My clients with their revisions and writing, myself with revisions and learning more and more about the book business from my two amazing mentors, Kimberley and Liz. And I cannot wait for the next step. To begin shopping their amazing manuscripts out. This is going to happen REAL soon.

I will keep you folks updated with their websites and details! 🙂

On an end note, here are some of the things I’m thankful for:

1) My family. They continue to be wonderful, my never-ending source of support, love, and comfort. Although I wish they lived closer, finding a surrogate family here, in the US (my husband’s family), has been something I could not be happier about. It’s hard enough to live so far away from the people you grew up with and love. Life would have been unbearable without the support of my husband and his family.

2) An amazing job I’m lucky to have, and the staunch support of my mentors. When I try to entertain the idea of doing something else, my mind draws a resounding blank. I know without a doubt that this is what I’m meant to be doing.

3) Living in a beautiful city-the people are friendly and laid-back, the weather is amazing, and there are so many things to do, sets my head spinning!

4) A roof over my head, and a husband (the best!) who provides me with this and more, along with putting up with my discussions on books, my clients, the book market and…need I go on? Not only does he put up with me, he remembers and contributes to my musings every single time. This is a man who would rather talk about cars and the latest tech than read books.

5) Awesome friends. Really, true friends are a diamond in the rough, super hard to find. Moving to a new country has only reminded me of how lucky I am.

Things I could benefit from doing/remembering:

1) Patience. My job requires me to have the patience of a saint, and I’m not a patient person by nature. I tell my clients this all the time. The book business is a frustrating place, but the rewards, when they come, are beyond anything you can compare. However, this is something I need to remind myself from time to time.

2) All work and no play makes Pooja a dull person. Live a little more, travel more, do activities I’ve always wanted to do, learn things I’ve always wanted to learn, and remember that I work so I can enjoy life. (Something my husband keeps telling me.)

3) Lead a more active life. Go on hikes and walks, take up salsa and cooking, learn how to bake.

What are some of the things you guys are thankful for? What are your NY’s resolutions?

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Another link for a contest I’m on the pitch panel for.

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Hi folks!

I’ve signed up to be on another contest that is going to go live on the 17th & 18th of Oct.

http://brenleedrake.blogspot.com/

http://brenleedrake.blogspot.com/2012/09/pitch-live-elevator-pitch.html

So get busy and create your pitch video, and submit as soon as you can!

I look forward to reading some great submissions. 🙂

Good luck!

Contests! And a new client!

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My writers friends!

Want to get a critique on your query?

Want to submit your stories to a few pitch-fests (that I’ll be participating in)?

Want to get the attention of agents/publishers?

Check out these links!

http://staceyoneale.com/2012/10/05/pooja-menon-interview/

http://fizzygrrl.com/official-agent-list-for-hook-line-and-sinker/

http://fizzygrrl.com/hook-line-and-sinker-enter-now/ (I look forward to reading the submissions for this one!)

http://feakysnucker.blogspot.ca/2012/10/pitchmas.html

There is one more contest than will run in Feb 2013 (a YA pitch-fest). I will keep you guys updated on the details for that one as soon as I have some more!

On another note, I would like to announce that I recently signed a client, Cassandra Griffin, from Alberta, Canada, whose YA novel, an Urban Fantasy/with dystopian themes, totally blew me away. My client is a finalist of the Amazon breakthrough contest, 2012. Here is her bio for you guys to check out.

“Twenty-eight-year-old Cassandra Griffin is a true geek at heart, enjoying anything from Star Trek expos to comic conventions on her days off from driving 400 ton dump trucks in Northern Alberta. As a jack of all trades with a resume boasting registered nurse, English teacher and photographer, for Cassandra, writing is one thing that is here to stay. A desire to entertain is nothing new for her, which is what she hopes to accomplish with Dreamcatchers, and to continue to do throughout her future writing career.”

More updates on my client and her novel, Dreamcatchers, to come in the future! So stay on the look-out! 🙂

Have a great Sunday, folks!

Back to basics, the query letter.

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Is a query letter really that important? Yes, my fellow writers. I cannot be emphatic enough about just how important. It does not matter if you have a good synopsis and tight, clean sample chapters. The query letter is your foot in the door, so to speak. Even if the foot gets stuck in the door for only a fleeting minute or so. The point is, our curiosity has been aroused.

Now a lot of you, those who’ve been hands-on with the research part of the submission process, already know the information I’m going to mention below. I raise my hat to you for all the hard work you’re doing. Trust me, it will pay off in spades during the harrowing process. However, the reason I found this post to be important is because of the recent spate of queries I’ve been receiving. Sometimes it astonishes me how little effort the author has gone into introducing himself and his work to me, and making sure the tone of his email is positive and respectful.

Let me go through some examples,

1) A query sent with no content in the body of the email, aside from two attachments. One containing the synopsis, the other containing the sample pages.

2) A query written to me by an editor.

3) A query that mentions a lot of unnecessary information in the author’s quest to sound mysterious, while leaving out the main plot points, therefore, leaving the main questions unanswered.

4) A query that gives me a time-limit or exclusivity, when I have not asked for the latter, and do not appreciate the former.

5) A query that has been sent to me more than once within thirty days (patience is key, people.)

6) A query that does not mention what’s original about their story, compared to a dozen others.

7) A query that clearly indicates the author has not bothered to do any research regarding agents’ respective tastes.

8) A query that expounds on the greatness of the author’s own writing and how he believes it’s similar to (bestselling author’s) work.

The first thing to remember while sending out a query letter is, the way you write one sets the tone of how the prospective partnership could be, at least in our minds.

If you sound pompous and full of yourself, then I’m going to wonder how you’ll absorb my notes on revisions, if it’s required. I’m also going to wonder if you’ll be able to work with the team at your publishing house, especially when things may not always go the way you planned.

If you sound conscious and unsure of your writing abilities, by telling me that I should feel free to reject your work, since you’ve already been in this game long enough not to feel bad, it tells me you’ve been rejected before. That is not the best first impression to give. You must always strike the right balance between confidence in your abilities and humbleness.

If you give me a time-limit and exclusivity, it’s mostly going to come off as being a tad high-maintainence, assuming that your manuscript is the only one I’m looking at (which isn’t true). This does not show me that you value my time, but shows me that your time is so important, you’re unwilling to be patient like everybody else.

Now let us talk about how a query letter SHOULD be. Firstly, like I mentioned earlier, your query sets the tone of your relationship with the agent. But it also sets the tone for the kind of book you’ve written. If you’ve written a murder mystery, but the tone of your query is sarcastic and funny…this does not make sense, does it? Make sure the query reflects what kind of a manuscript you’ve got on your hands.

Secondly, start your letter with a brief explanation as to why you chose the agent. Was it because something about the agent’s profile caught your attention? Was it because you read a book she wrote, or an article she wrote, or an author she represents? Was it because something in her blog made you feel like you could connect? Was she referred to you by someone? If so, who? –This information should be concise. Once you do this, mention the title of your book, what genre your book falls into (try not to club a million genres together, be specific), and what the word count is.

Then we move onto the pitch. Give me a paragraph of information about your story that introduces me to the main character, what his predicament is, what he needs to do to solve it, and what’s standing in his way. What are his choices and inner conflicts that make things harder for him to resolve. If the story is set in an international location or a different time period, you could find a way to begin with that information, too.

I once read a query that went something like this. ‘This story is about the dysfunctional relationship between a mother and her daughter. When the daughter got into drugs, the mother had to throw the daughter out of the house to make her learn a lesson. The daughter had no choice but to fend for herself. When she fell pregnant, the mother decided to forgive her, take her in…after a lot of tough situations…the both of them realized the importance of a mother-daughter bond…’

What does this tell me? Nothing. Has the relationship always been dysfunctional? Was there a specific reason why her daughter was being so difficult? How did the daughter fend for herself? Wait, she fell pregnant? Was there a romance in there somewhere? Abandonment? Why did the mother decide to forgive her? What tough situations?

Of course, it’s not possible to give the agent all the answers in one short paragraph, but it should give us the main points and turns in a plot, while leaving something for us to wonder.

The last paragraph should introduce me to you. Do you have an M.F.A (from where?), have you been writing for long? Have you published anything before? (If so, be specific- where? when? who is the publisher?)

Lastly, a line thanking the agent for her time, and saying something positive.

So there it is. A query letter is not that difficult, especially when you’ve gone through the battle of writing an ENTIRE BOOK. So why not spend an extra few hours researching how query letters should be?

Twitterdee Twitterdum!

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The past few weeks have been spent working, reading up on publishing and the changing trends in the industry, other agents’ blogs, and more work-related stuff. Never before has the power of social media been impressed upon me with such clout. Really, it’s terrifying for someone like me. I’ve resisted blogging, Kindle, and Twitter for so long. But work has finally forced me to succumb to all three of the above.

In a climate where even writers have to be well-versed in the art of blogging, twittering, and maintaining a stellar website/newsletter/database…to be noticed by agents/editors/publishers…it is important, now more than ever, for me to do the same.

Which brings me to a somewhat related thought. For all you fiction and non-fiction writers out there, create a platform. I know the word robs you of the very essence of writers of the bygone era. But since the economy has taken a hit, despite quality fiction being produced every year, the role of marketing and publicity falls more and more within the writer’s domain. So be alert, creative, and a technophobe. We are familiar with the idea of non-fiction writers having to do a proposal and submitting pages and pages showing market analysis and potential for their book, along with various speakers engagements, interviews, and other modes of gathering a huge following (these days editors don’t just expect the proposal and sample chapters anymore. They expect the proposal along with a COMPLETED manuscript- in order to show them how committed you are to your project). But today, even fiction writers are asked to write a proposal. Not in as much detail, but enough to show how well-versed they are with social media outlets, how many followers they have (which will make marketing their book that much easier), and comparisons with authors that have books similar/yet different to the ones they’ve written.

For me, blogging and twitter are the best ways to network with other like-minded people, writers, and people in the industry. It is also lighter on my brain and fingers. While I enjoy blogging, after reading manuscripts and editing all day, the idea of writing a blog post makes my writer’s juices shrivel and beg for a respite. That is when Twitter is a godsend. Where else can I share my thoughts in 140 word or less? 🙂 @FriscoDreamer (my Twitter name!)

Lesson for the day?

Embrace social media forums! Be aggressive about them! Enjoy them! Pay attention to what kind of books people are looking for/buying/publishing. Pay attention to what books have outrun their cycle (vampires, fairies, dystopian,etc…anyone?) And do not stop writing!

Signing off! Have a good evening folks!

x

A few tips for the hopeful first-timer… (Taken from an older post)

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I wrote this post months ago, but realized that since the post was under miscellaneous, writers may not find it so easily. So here goes, a few helpful tips while shopping for an agent:

1) The Query letter is most important. Be sure to give a short, yet intriguing blurb (a gist if you will) about your story. Be prepared to write a concise paragraph about yourself and your education, background, and experience with writing. (Eg: have you submitted to journals? Do you write blogs? Have you won any awards or prizes? If so, put it all in as tightly as you can manage.)

2) Polish your work as well as you can, BEFORE YOU SUBMIT. Because of the number of submissions agents get in their inboxes on a daily basis, not many have the luxury of taking the time to develop your work with you. Not until it is that promising…a diamond in the rough. Even then, they would rather have you go through your work and resubmit again when you are done. In order to avoid this, in might be a good thing to get a professional editor to work with you on the final draft, before you submit to agencies.

3) Do NOT send the same query letter and submission to a dozen agents in the same email. That is the lazy way out, and if you cannot give each email/letter your individual attention, WHY SHOULD AN AGENT DO THE SAME FOR YOU?

4) Patience is key. Remember, most agents are severely over-worked and severely underpaid. Agents get paid on commission. Also, most agencies have two to four agents working for them, and against 200-500 letters that come in each week…you do the math. There is only so much they can ingest without going completely bat shit crazy. Be assured that they will get to your work, and if they do reject you, it is after serious consideration. After all, if they truly feel passionate about your work, what would they gain by turning you down?

5) Lastly, be willing to work on revisions if an agent asks you to do so. I’m not saying you need to lose the core of your work, and thereby lose your integrity. Oh no. But be flexible and willing to bend when you can, and be firm when you have to. But remember, revision is always a good thing. When the book is ready to go out, it will.

I will write more as and when I can remember them. I wish wholeheartedly for each and every one of you to be published, if that is your dream. You should always dream!

Here’s a tip on what you should NOT do. Don’t send unprofessional, angry emails to the agents who’ve rejected you. I have received quite of a few of these lovely missiles, and so have the people I work with. In this game, rejection should be something you need to toughen up against. Take from it a helpful impression, but do not let it leave a soul crushing dent. Second, you might have to deal with the same agents again at some point, say, if you write a second book someday. Just my thought.

Have a great day folks!