Feeling Like It’s Not Going to Happen? Here’s Some Pick-Me Ups.

Just in case you ever need a few motivational pick-me ups, here is a list of yours truly go to favorites.

  1. 40 Inspirational Speeches in 2 minutes. If you need a pep talk.
  2. Happy Little Clouds. If you need some writing reminders.
  3. Evolve. For when you need to remind yourself that “you gotta evolve”
  4. Garden of You Mind. If you need inspiration.
  5. Keep on Cooking. For when you need reminding that you are writing for yourself first and foremost. “Freshness makes all the difference.”

And just for fun:

  1. Pop! Goes My Heart. Because it is Hilarious.
  2. Jolene. Because Dolly and Miley.

And that does it! Remember, we have all been there.

giphy

Advertisements

You Queried Me, Now What?

Welcome again to another post about me, your favorite literary agent (jk.). This week I’d like to talk about my process of evaluation. This might end up being a long post so sit back and strap in. I’m going to go the route of a “pick your own adventure” workflow.

So you sent me a query. And now I’m looking at it. What am I looking for? Well, I am looking for writing and hook in that first sample. Does the writing grab me? Is the world building already apparent? Can I position this story in a sentence already? Do I want to know more?

These questions are why it is soooooooo important that the first 50 pages of your manuscript be the BEST you can make them. This is also where that all important fit first rears its head.

Side note: I tell any and all potential clients that you should think of me as your publishing best friend. That means I need to be the person who has your back and is your best advocate, even if we might not agree at times. So fit is a big deal to me. I can’t be the best advocate for you if I’m not chomping to call you on the phone early on.

So this it point, one of two things happens: I will either pass or I’ll request more. It is important to note (because I think a lot of people miss this) that a pass is not a permanent no on all your work. It is a pass on THIS  project. Keep querying and keep trying. However, think about what the correspondence said and my tastes. Check on my anti-MSWL if it helps. Don’t be discouraged, but don’t just blindly continue on.

So say, I requested more. And you followed the upload instructions. Now, I’m reading your full manuscript. What might be running through my brain? At this point, I start to look closer. How is the pacing coming about? What character development is there and what work needs to be done? Is the plot engaging enough? If you are writing outside of your culture, what have you done to be authentic? A host of things are running through my brain.

And now comes to the hardest part: do I have the time for this? Sometimes, when I read a manuscript, I have to weigh the editorial needs against that of my schedule. If I love something 50-75% , but it needs an overhaul, is it worth it to ask for a revision before I offer a contract? Or do I offer a contract and hope the author can pull off all the editorial changes? The other thing to consider is that I don’t want to sign too many projects up right away. I need to pace myself and my acquiring, however much I may want to gorge on all the manuscripts.

At this point, I will either pass, ask for a revision and resubmit (R&R for short-hand), or I’ll set up a time to speak with you.

If I pass, again I point you back to the fact that it is not a permanent pass on all your work. But I may think that I might be a future reader, not the right one to take it to the next level. Or I might not connect with that particular manuscript, but I liked something else about it and I’m hoping to see more samples.

If I ask for an R&R, it means I like what I am seeing, but there is something holding me back. Sometimes, the story needs more work. Sometimes the writing needs more work. And, for me at least, this is also a test. I want to see what your revision process is like. It will tell me a lot. Whatever the reason, make sure you think about what I am asking for.

If I schedule a call, good news! The end of this process is almost in sight. Bad news! It means a ton of work is coming your way. The phone call is ALL about fit and resolving any questions I have. I want to know that we will work well together. And if I offer a contract, just know: you don’t have to take it. If our visions are different or you don’t think we will be a good fit, it is perfectly okay not to take it. You wouldn’t agree to date the first man to ask you on the street, now would you?

So say at this point, you decided you want to work with me and I send you the contract. After that bad boy is signed, we get to work. And that is when the real fun (and work) begins. Because I’m going to have Thoughts and they need to be addressed before I can go out with your project on submission.

And that, my dears, is my process in a condensed nutshell. Please don’t judge me.

200w_d.gif

 

 

#Anti-MSWL

So if you are like me, you love to follow #MSWL and see what everyone is looking for. But sometimes, it can be hard to know what an editor or agent DOESN’T like or what they might be pickier on.  With that in mind, below are a few of the things I tend to be pickier about. This not a hard and fast rule, but more of a helpful “behind the curtain” glimpse of why I might not have connected with your manuscript.

So without further ado, I give you:

A GENERAL GUIDELINE LIST OF THINGS I AM PICKY ABOUT WHEN EVALUATING A MANUSCRIPT.

  1. Alternating POV. I do enjoy a good alternating or multiple POV novel. But I see a lot of authors doing this, and sometimes it is to their detriment. Think about WHY you are choosing this style. Does the reader really need more than one POV and if so, are the characters on their own arc with their own unique voice? If the answer to any of that is “no”, stop and think before you query.
  2. Boy narrators. I love Harry Potter, and I love A Stranger to Command. Boy narrators have their place. But I find that I’m not drawn to them often. This comes down to authentic voice for me.
  3. Verse novels and poetry. Not for me. I’ll enjoy it as a reader, but if you are looking for editorial agent, I’m not your gal for this.
  4. Dark, heavy content. I like dark content, but for me, it can’t be too graphic or rely so heavily on it. I like voice driven, tangentially dark content. Like My Life With the LiarsTell Me Something Real, and The Way I Used to Be. If you have graphic depictions of abuse or rape or violence, just know I’m much pickier about this.

Again, this is just a generic list and it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t query me. But if I don’t connect or feel I’m the right agent, don’t take it as a judgement. I mean it at face value.

So good luck and may the odds be ever in…wait, let’s just leave it at good luck. 🙂

Slight Change Coming to This Blog

Hi, everyone!

With my recent change in job comes a change to the blog. While I still **plan** on doing reviews and industry observations when I can, I will be adding an agent section. I intend for this to be a place where you can find my thoughts on agenting, and more about my professional tastes.

Look for a blog post to kick that off soon!