Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Reader Questions

Besides the basic rants and raves about being a literary agent, and the comments they generate, I like to make sure we are giving you, the readers, what you want. So, please let us know if there are any questions you have for us, and don't be shy. Is there anything you want to know about BookEnds, literary agents, publishing. . . ? Or even anything more specific? A situation you are in that you would like some feedback on? We'll read all of your comments and answer some soon, some later.



Anonymous said...

I know it varies for every agency; what is BookEnds average turn around time for queries?

Anonymous said...

I have more of a comment than a question. I am new to this industry and am attempting to get published for the first time. In researching many different agencies, yours is by far the most organized, useful, and efficient agency I have come across. You are currently reading a partial I submitted at your request, and I hope you ask for a full manuscript, because I will be a successful writer, and I hope to do it while partnering with Bookends, LLC.

Anonymous said...

I'd like your opinion on agent/writer relationships. I love my agent but she has very definite ideas about the career path I should be on. I write in a variety of sub-genres but my agent really only likes when I write my erotic paranormals. She wants me to focus on that. I'll do whatever I can to break in but my historical romances are doing well in contests and have gotten several requests from editors. My agent doesn't want to submit my historical romances, though, because she says the market isn't as good as it is for erotic paranormals. **screams in frustration** I see her point but if editors are asking for the fulls on my historicals, why aren't we following up on that?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I'd like to know about Anon #3's question, too, since I'm in the same boat but without an agent--I write medievals and sexy paranormals (some highly erotic at EC, others less sex-filled but still sexy). A lot of agents have said they want writers to concentrate on one thing/genre only, but if we have the time and inclination, isn't it good for us to broaden our bases? (I mean fanbases, of course. Sitting in a chair writing all day makes my other base broad enough already!)

I have a question about contracts etc. Say I've sold a book and signed an option clause. Now I get an agent (please!) What would you do about the option clause, especially if this is a small publisher who've been extremely unprofessional and rude, so the author is not interested in dealing with them again? (And I'm not being a diva here. I'm not the only author with problems--anyone with their ear on the ground these days probably knows exactly who I'm talking about and how unhappy their authors are). Anyway, what do you do? Submit, then turn down their offer? Is this even a question you feel comfortable answering?

If not, sorry.

Anonymous said...

Hi guys! I have a couple of questions. First, is it true that Kim Lionetti accepts horror? Secondly, I wrote a dark urban fantasy novel, which was complete at about 65,000 words. It's the first in a series. I know that it's too short and that it should be at least 80,000, but it's 356 pages and doesn't the publisher use a different word count than the one used in Microsoft Word? Or do I need to flesh it out more. I sent out 10 queries on 10/20/06 and received a request for a partial on 10/24/06 from a major agency, so I guess there are acceptions? I'm nervously awaiting the repsonses from the others. I wanted to query you guys, but was not sure you represent what I write. I think you guys are great and I love this blog!

Anonymous said...

Hello Bookends!
I'd like to know what the the agents at Bookends (and agents in general, if you know) do when an author from outside the USA seeks representation with your agency. Does this affect how you look at a project? What if the author has a contract with an international publishing house but with a branch outside of the USA (but has the chance to be published in the USA?).
Thanks to all at Bookends for creating such a wonderfully entertaining and informative blog.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for all do! This is one of my favorite blogs -- so thank you!!

My question: What do you think of publishing companies who open a new line -- examples might be the Flux line or the new Carolrhoda YA line -- is this a good thing, in your experience, for new authors? Or can it stall their career if the line itself doesn't take off?

Anonymous said...

I wanted to start by saying, THANK YOU, for keeping this blog up and going. It has been a fountain of information to me as a new writer!

And now... to beat a dead horse...
In a blog a while back, I think I read something about response time, in that, it may not be a good sign if you don't hear something back quickly.
I'm just wondering how quick do you know a work is something you'd like to represent?
For instance, do you know the second you read the query letter that you aren't interested, or do you sometimes take a little time to think it over before making a decision?

I guess some of us (ok, ME) are just curious to know the breakdown for the response time. (For example, could a letter sit unopened for a couple weeks, then sit around in a 'NO THANKS' pile until the rejection letter can be mailed? Or, could someone be taking the time to think about it?)

I actually work in the industry (just not as an agent), so believe me, I can totally understand your daily struggles! I don't EXPECT to hear anything before the time you advise, but just curious about the breakdown of time.

Again, thanks for all you do for us 'newbies' -out here penning our way through the great unknown!

You guys rock!
(*Keeping my fingers crossed I get to work with you soon!*)

Anonymous said...

I am African-American woman working on a culinary themed cosy mystery, I worry when querying agents that they will take one look at it and give a whole "Been there done that" response to it. Any advice to me as to how I can get mine to stand out.

JDuncan said...

Let's say you are silly enough to query your ms while you are still editing it, thinking, "oh, it'll be 3-4 weeks at the soonest to go from query to partial to full, even submitting online."

Lo and behold, you get a reply from one the same day requesting a full. Oops!

Question: Do you as an agent prefer to be notified that the ms will not be forthcoming immediately but as soon as the editing is done, or are you so busy generally that a month down the road really is nothing to worry about?

Curious, and thank you for taking the time to read our questions.

Anonymous said...

I know you’ve done blogs on pitching and querying, but I haven’t seen anything about your first meeting with a new client. Do you ever meet with authors whose projects interest you but who you, in the end, decline to represent? Or do you only meet with authors you have already signed? Either way, what are some tips you could give to new authors meeting their agent/potential agent for the first time? What kinds of things should the author be sure to cover in that first meeting (i.e., would you consider it an opportunity for a longer pitch on their current novel, a discussion of works in progress, or more of a social venture to ensure that you’re “clicking”)?

Thanks so much, and great job with the blog!

JDuncan said...

What do you say to an author you represent that wishes to write something in another genre that you don't represent, i.e. a chick lit author who is wanting to write a fantasy?

Just curious how that situation works with agents.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Jessica,

Borrowing a colloquialism of Miss Snark, do you (or your slush-pile reading assistants) tend to look for "flaming corpses on page one"?

Do you expect first novel writers to get right to the conflict?

Would it be fair to say that these are the query sample pages to which you extend invitations to a partial?

Anonymous said...

I would like to know about the different genres also.

I have an agent (potentially - an offer has been made) but the agent doesn't want to submit or see my YA material. I write multi-cultural romance as well as erotic romance too.

And it doesn't indicate on her website that she doesn't accept children's or teen material. But my thinking and maybe I'm wrong but I thought that children's and young adult/teen were different genre's.

Anonymous said...

what genres do you represent?

how do you want word count calculated - the 250 X # of pages or computer calculated?

what if you sign someone but she/he writes something in a genre or area you don't represent? Do you refer him/her to another agency?

bookofkell said...

Are "the numbers" for different pseudonyms kept completely separate? I'm considering writing both contemporary and historical fantasy series, and anticipate that the audiences and sales might be pretty different.

The benefits I can see to writing them all under one name:
--might lead readers to the other series (wider "brand")
--greater name recognition
--not having to build multiple careers

The benefits I can see to writing them under different names:
--readers know what to expect (narrower "brand")
--bad numbers from one series might not make another hard to sell
--maybe a little more career protection

Also, could an options clause cover both pseudonyms, or would it most likely only cover one?

(Yes, of course it's all theoretical so far, but I have to know what I want before I can figure out how to get there!)

Anonymous said...

I know this question has been asked before, but my eyes fail me while searching all the other blogs (only a select few are bookmarked), so forgive me if you've heard this one before.

If a query had been sent to an agent at a large (I mean LARGE) agency and no response was forthcoming for over nine months, would it be acceptable to re-send a new, improved query to a more suitable agent in the same house?

Yes, I did include an SASE. Plus, upon further inspection of the agent's preferences, he may not represent the genre I sent anyway. Therefore a nudge would probably be inappropriate.

I include my thanks for your excellent advice. You soooo rock!

Anonymous said...

What would you recommend in this scenario?

An author queries twenty agents or so. Half a dozen respond with requests for partials or fulls. One agent requests an exclusive for three weeks, but the author has already sent out some requested fulls. What does the author do?

A.) Wait for responses from agents who already have the full manuscript, at which point author would be able to grant an exclusive (Of course, by that point, said agent may have lost interest);

B.) Regretfully decline, because it's not possible to provide an exclusive; or

C.) Send the manuscript anyway with an explanation that it has already been sent out but that author will not make a decision or send out any more fulls during the requested three-week period.

Can you shed some light on what an author should do in this case? Many thanks.

Chrissie said...

Thank you for this blogs - it is soooo helpful. Miss Snark has replied to a question i sent about word counts. She says 100,000 tops for a romance. I have written a novel which has 200,000, i have divided it into 2 but to submit only the first half does not complete the story! Should i cut out so much and lose half the story line! I dont know what to do and am helplessly lost somewhere in the middle. Please advise. Also do you only accept queries from USA?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for such an informative blog! I know it's time-consuming, but it's very much appreciated!
My question: Your website states you don't accept SF or fantasy . . . but, how about fantasy romance or SF romance? They're increasingly popular, I believe. Are you accepting submissions in those sub-genres?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #4 wrote: What would you do about the option clause, especially if this is a small publisher who've been extremely unprofessional and rude, so the author is not interested in dealing with them again? (And I'm not being a diva here. I'm not the only author with problems--anyone with their ear on the ground these days probably knows exactly who I'm talking about and how unhappy their authors are).

Since we're all anon here, thought I'd ask: Perchance, might you be talking about Triskelion?

Anonymous said...

What does the publishing industry and agents think of e-books? If you're published by an e-book publisher, do the paper publishers look down on you? Do agents work with e-book published writers that want to break into the world of paper publishing? Is it easier or harder to get into paper publishing after being an e-book writer, or a first-time writer?

Anonymous said...

Since we're all anon here, thought I'd ask: Perchance, might you be talking about Triskelion?

How on earth did you guess, Anon?