Monday, July 18, 2011

Random Questions

I've been going through, not kidding, years of blog questions submitted by readers. I go through them regularly and pick and choose those I want to answer. Some I store away because I don't know how to answer, others wait because the answer is more complicated, and so many wait because I feel I've touched on the subject before. That being said, there are a lot of questions in there that are important, but don't get enough of an answer for a full blog post. The answers are short and sweet. Here are some of those.

I have a quick question, if that's all right. So many different agencies state that they are not excepting "science fiction", but fantasy is often classified with Science Fiction. If I've written a fantasy novel and I'm looking for an agent, should I assume that the agent won't accept my genre simply because they don't accept science fiction, or vise versa?

Fantasy and Science Fiction, while often shelved in the same place in bookstores, are two different genres. Therefore, an agent could easily represent one and not the other.

My novel just happens to be christian fantasy, but is that considered a cross-over genre? Because there are those out there who want fantasy but not christian, or christian but not fantasy . . . or who will except either but not if the two are combined. It gets really confusing.

It can get confusing, but don't overthink it. Submit to both Christian and Fantasy agents, especially those who do both. Some might feel it's too Christian, others too Fantasy, but you won't know, and won't find the right agent, until you try.

Are published authors required to make public appearances and give interviews or is that optional or does it vary per publisher?

It is typically in the publisher's contract that the author will be available when needed. If there's a specific reason you can't or won't, that should be negotiated up front.

A lot of agents prefer to receive email queries (definitely easier). I've
noticed that some agents will tell you to mail in your query, synopsis and
first 3 chapters with SASE. Then they will tell you that if you prefer to
e-query to just send the query. My question is which is better? Do I want
to package and mail out the hard copy (they are asking for more that way) or
is it better to just do the e-query and let that be all they see?

I guess what's better depends on the agent. I think that anytime you can get your work in front of an agent, your actual writing, that's better. That being said, sending a query via email is definitely cheaper, and if the agent isn't interested in your genre you haven't wasted the postage.



Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Regarding the last question and answer.

Sending just a query, email or otherwise...hopeful,doubtful,oh my.

Sending a query, and the dreaded synopsis, scary. I just wrote my first synopsis I don’t think it’s that bad but then again, egads, I had to look up how to spell synopsis.

Sending, query, synopsis and actual parts of my manuscript, sigh. Maybe just maybe my writing and the story will shine through.

Getting it where it has to go, cyber or stamp, is the thing.

Anonymous said...

I haven't queried in a long time. But I thought most agents wanted the first few pages in the body of the e-mail.

Anonymous said...

I'm not querying right now, either, but the few agents I did query wanted the first few pages right in the e-mail with the query letter. I only sent physical work to one agent.

Loree Huebner said...

Great Q & A session. I got a question answered. Thanks.

Nicole said...

I wonder if maybe I sent in that last question because I often wonder that myself, haha!

I always want to get my work in front of an agent when I can, but now I'm to the point where I just don't want to spend the extra money shipping out 50 pages of material if it's going to get rejected - especially since you never really know if the agent is going to look at the pages. For all I know, the agent may read the query letter and think, "Nah," right on the spot.

I'll save that $3, thanks. That stuff can add up fast.

Kelley @ Between the Bookends said...

I would think doing the public appearances would be a great part of being a published author. What's better than showing the passion for your work in person. :)

I have queried a few agents who all wanted email submissions in the body of the email. When they requested a full submission, then they wanted it attached.

Thanks for the great Q&A!

Carrie Butler said...

Ah, a simple, informative post. What better way to wade into the work week? Thank you! :)

Laila Knight said...

I always love hearing your responses to questions, so I'm going to add one that pertains to the query bit...for whenever you have the time to consider it.

I write Fantasy, most of the time, but a conflict point in my plot involves the appearance of aliens. I'm concerned that in querying agents might discard the novel believing it to be Sci-Fi. I won't query both genres because then it'll seem like I don't know what I'm writing...definitely too fantastic to be Sci-fi. I guess I'm just asking for you POV as an agent. You represent Fantasy. Would a tinge of Sci-Fi turn you off? Thanks. :)

Scooter Carlyle said...

Thanks! You answered my question.

Karen Duvall said...

I want to add something that i think could be relevant in line with the questions Jessica answered. Some writers create a list of agents to query and the agents who take e-queries often get put at the top of the list not because they're the best agent for the project, but because e-queries are cheaper and faster. I think it's important to evaluate the reasons you choose the agents on your submission list. It could be that the one who takes snail-mail queries only is the best agent for you, but you might miss that boat if you accept an offer from one of the agents you e-queried first. Just food for thought.

I'll have to ask my agent why she doesn't accept electronic submissions. Now that I'm her client, we do everything through email and phone. Hmm... Interesting.

Elisa DeLany said...

Thank you for this post. It was really helpful.

I would probably opt for sending the query, synopsis, and chapters in mail just to get my writing out there to an agent. I don't mind paying the postage just yet. After fifty shots, maybe I'll turn to emailing.

Unknown said...

This post was really enlightening. I think it's all about choosing what's right for you.

Many agents state that if you're unsure to query. They'd rather read something they aren't a fan of versus missing something incredible.

I've lately seen a few agents who still give you both mailing and emailing options. At the beginning I think I'll send them the information through the mail. I think it shows more professional and how willing you are to seek out representation. Sometimes the extra added touch goes a long way.

May I ask an additional question (that may seem very obvious): How does one send out their pages? Is it best in a manila folder? Do you send another manial folder for the pages to be sent back or just a small white envelope?

There are often too many unknowns.

Debra Lynn Shelton said...

I love when you do Q&A's, and I can't wait to be on the road peddling my book. ;-)

JR said...

Shouldn't it be "accept", not "except"? Bad spelling will also lead to rejection.

Val said...

What if you have been published anonymously in an anthology, or under a pseudonym? Is there a way to include these credits in query, or is it best to leave them off?