Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Random Questions

Do you prefer italics or underlining in manuscripts?

I don’t really care.

If you please, could you respond via email as well as on the blog?

I’m afraid I only respond on the blog, and not personally through email. My schedule is incredibly tight, and while I love helping authors by answering their questions, I need to be able to do so in a way that helps as many people as possible. If I responded individually as well as posting to the blog, I wouldn’t have time to do the work I’m actually getting paid to do. And I do need to write somewhere close to 200 blog posts a year and need to find my material somewhere.

I have an idea for a funny, faux non-fiction book - think "The Zombie Survival Guide" or similar. A book that sounds non-fictioney, but is completely fake. Thinking ahead, should I write this book to completion, since it is technically fiction (as in, it is based on nothing real), or approach it as a classic non-fiction, and complete a non-fiction book proposal, with all the items that go into one of those?

I have noticed that a lot of funny fiction gets lumped into the "non-fiction - humor" category, at least on Publishers Marketplace. It sounds like you’re writing humor to me, which would mean you would need to write a proposal, not the entire book.

I am getting ready to query my second book and am wondering how I should approach agents who requested previous material from a different manuscript. Should I remind them that they've requested my material before, or just send a normal query letter without mentioning

Always, always mention it. Remember, querying is networking, and you are reminding the agent that she liked you previously. If you can, it might help to describe the previous book in one sentence, too, so that she has a reminder of what the book was, an extra memory jolt, so to speak.



Jeanmarie Anaya said...

Great question about submissions for a different project to an agent who already read your work. I've been wondering the same thing and thought it appeared desperate/begging/tacky to mention it. Glad to hear it's not!

Thanks! Great questions (and answers)!

Joseph L. Selby said...

Oooo, I never thought about that last one. I've been doing that wrong. Thank you. :)

Lynn(e) Schmidt said...

awesome information, thanks!

about mentioning the first book partial (or full) request...you want to remind them of something they didn't actually want?...or are you just trying to remind them of the fact that they liked your idea?

J Scott Savage said...

Regarding question number 2. Not that it couldn't be done again in a different way, but a book called the Zombie Survival Guide, which is exactly what you are describing was published in 2003 and is still quite popular.


Vickie Motter said...

Italics!! Underlining irks me the wrong way. Great questions, another great blog post :)

FunnyGirl said...

(I'm question-asker #3)

Thanks, Jessica! FYI I asked this a while ago and just went ahead and wrote the book. :) I'm going to query it as completed. Since I have no platform per se (i.e. I am not an expert because what I've written is made-up and there are no experts), I've drafted a fiction-type query that cites similar successful books in the non-fic humor/ gift book genre. Does that kind-of cover my bases? Thanks again!

@J Scott Savage
I named "The Zombie Survival Guide" as a well-known example. I am not writing the same thing.

Emily Murdoch said...

In case it helps, when I queried agents who'd requested material from my previous novel, I queried off the previous thread and its request, changing the subject line to QUERY: new novel title.

I mentioned they'd requested a partial/full from my previous project in the query, and left it at that. If they wanted to, they could scroll down to see the previous correspondence and request beneath, all the way down to the previous query letter.

Jeanmarie -- it's not tacky at all. No matter how well we write, not everyone will like our writing. If you find a professional who resonates with your stories and appreciates your voice and talent, it's a golden oportunity!

Jeigh said...

Thanks for posting the answers on your blog. There are plenty of things you address that I would never even think of asking.

Anonymous said...


I have a question regarding your last answer.

It seems to me that if an agent asked for a partial based on your query letter, then promptly rejected the partial...what they liked was your query letter or the idea that you presented in it.

But for them to then form reject the partial...well, to me it told me they didn't like my writing and I don't want to remind them of that in my next query.

Could you help me understand how you see this from your perspective as an agent?

thanx...love your blog!

BookEnds, A Literary Agency said...

In answer to the questions about the last question...

Agents receive roughly 75 or so queries a day. They only ask to read one or two proposals a day. If you've had a proposal requested you've made an impression on the agent. She might remember you. That's all I'm saying. Keep in mind that when I request material off a query I don't just like the idea, I often like the voice too.

FunnyGirl: It sounds like you're doing it right.