Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Random Questions

I receive so many questions from readers. Keep them coming! Here’s a collection of those that I didn’t feel warranted a full post, but yet still deserved an answer. Also, keep in mind that some of these may have been answered more extensively in other posts, so don’t forget to search our archives for more detailed information.

I was wondering how important it is for an unpublished author to have a website. Is it really necessary at all or should you wait until you have a book on its way to the store bookshelves? I've had some of my friends tell me I should have one to show agents and editors I'm serious about my writing. Is that the truth?

I honestly don’t think it’s important at all. Work on writing your book, the web site can always (and needs to) come after a deal is made.

If a Canadian (or British, or Australian, etc.) writer ends up with an American agent, who I assume would go after American publishers first, in what currency will the writer be paid?

Typically payment is made in the currency of the publisher or agent. Checks I issue to my clients, from contracts they have, are issued in the American dollar.

Does the age of the author matter to you? Especially in the romance genre—if the author’s age is 50+, will that adversely affect your ability to successfully represent?

Do a quick search through previous blog posts, but this is a subject I’ve definitely discussed in detail. In a nutshell, no. I’m looking for a great book and in many instances there’s no reason for me to ever even discover how old an author is.

Is it a no-no to include the blog name at the end of my query?

Not at all. I think including your blog name and/or web site in your query only makes sense, and let’s put it this way, it can’t hurt anything.

When sending pages in an email (not as an attachment) is it a good idea to format it like a regular full or should I format the pages like an email message? (single space, etc.)

I think you should probably format as an email message, using the formatting options of your email program.

I have been working with two beta readers on my latest book. They have made many good suggestions and I have even changed plot elements based on their recommendations. What is your opinion of working with a beta reader while writing a story?

I think it’s a great idea! Beta readers, like a critique group, are a great way for a writer to learn the craft and get opinions from others she trusts.

What are your thoughts on Canadians finding representation from literary agents in the U.S.?

I don’t know why you wouldn’t. BookEnds has a number of Canadian authors as well as authors from other countries.



Lydia Sharp said...

Excellent! I'd been wondering about a couple of those myself. Thanks. :)

Stephanie said...

Great answers!!! Thanks for taking the time to do that!!

Carol Benedict said...

From your comment on websites, I'm inferring the same holds true for blogs (please correct me if I'm wrong). What about social networking via sites like Facebook and Twitter? When is that important?

Wendy Marcus said...

Can anyone tell me what a Beta Reader is?

John M. Baron said...

My understanding is that a beta reader is someone who gives a first-read to a completed work (that is, completed first, second, third draft). An alpha reader, on the other hand, is someone who gets pages as they are completed, say a chapter at a time.

Anonymous said...

Actually, a "beta reader" is just someone who reads the work critically and gives his opinion. It doesn't matter whether the work is in progress or complete. The "alpha reader" is the writer himself.

Josin L. McQuein said...

The website/blog question is one whose answer seems to change from agent to agent. Some say it doesn't matter pre-publication. Others say it gives the agent something to look up when they Google you.

<-- Iz officially confuzzled.

(A beta is a willing victim who volunteers to read your finished MS and pick out the landmines in it that you thought you already cleared.)

M.R.J. Le Blanc said...

This was really helpful. Some I didn't even think of but it's good to have an answer.

(I just wanted to add something about beta readers. The best ones are objective people, usually not friends and family unless they can be objective)

Beth said...

I do wonder, what do you do with countries that don't use cheques? I honestly wouldn't know what to do with an American cheque here (in Poland). I don't think I've seen a cheque since 1995 or so.

Mira said...

I don't know why, exactly, but these quick bits were sort of fun.

And interesting. I liked your suggestion that we format it within the e-mail. That hadn't occured to me, but it makes total sense. :)

Raquel Byrnes said...

Very interesting post today. I never thougth about the whole exchange rate situation.

Robena Grant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jemi Fraser said...

I love these posts - I always get so much information from them. Thanks :)

Donna Lea Simpson said...

Beth, if you are in another country and have an American agent, the wonderful benefit is that he/she can wire the money directly into your bank account.

That is how my agent and I (I'm in Canada) have done it for years. No mailing, no muss, no fuss! The banks handle everything, and I just check my account online to see when it comes in!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

A word of warning regarding beta readers and critters. Some are great, some less so. Even after you get feedback, your writing might still not be there.

I had an agent recently point out a flaw in my writing none of my critters had noticed. Ouch! And I landed tons of rejections on my sample pages because of something that hadn't bothered my critters but had bothered the agents.

Now I'm registered in a writer's workshop that will give me feedback by a published author in my genre. Now I can find out how to fix the fatal flaw. ;)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

A beta reader is someone who doesn't work in the publishing industry. An alpha reader is an agent or publisher.