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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

First Page Critique #1

Hey, everyone! Here is my first post for the first page critiques. Thanks so much to everyone who has already sent me one. I know it's only the first page, but I hope you guys will find this helpful :)

First Page:

My parents got married two weeks after they graduated from high school. One year later they had my sister Sherry. Two years after Sherry, Valerie was born. Three years after Valerie, I was born.

My mother had children relatively easily; so, following the classical human pattern, they decided to go after one more child, hoping, of course, it would be a boy. Disaster! My mother did get pregnant, and the child was a boy; but my mother got an abortion because the baby was literally killing her.

I am told my parents reacted very differently to this tragedy, and their reactions would affect my life far more than my sisters’. You would think my mother would have become depressed by this loss. She didn’t. After a period of mourning, she snapped right back. She regained her health and continued her life.

My mother’s sound mind and behavior was a good thing for my sisters and me, because my dad fell into the deep end of the psychic pool. He was like King David mourning the death of Absalom. He was inconsolable. Family and friends could not comfort him. Even doctors were of little help.

I am one of the people who helped him come out of his depression. It’s true, but it’s not like cute, little me came up to my depressed father and said, “Daddy, I love you. Won’t you smile for me again? There’s a beautiful rainbow outside the door.”

No, it didn’t happen that way. You see, my dad is a gung-ho golfer. He even watches it on TV for fun, and he dreamed of playing golf with his son. That dream was lost, but at some point my father must have said to himself, “Well, I do have three living children, and one of them does show some interest in golf. If I can’t play golf with my son, I’ll play golf with my daughter.”

So Daddy took me at an early age and turned me into a golfing fanatic, and as a little girl I swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. I loved the attention my dad gave me, and I loved it that my older sisters would not get near a golf club.

Daddy was an excellent teacher. He taught me the classic Byron Nelson/Ben Hogan golf swing. He always bought me the best equipment, all fitted for my size. Plus, he indulged me with golf outfits galore. (I later rejected dressing like a girl on the golf course—too much work.) When he took the family to Scotland and Hawaii, he spent a lot of his time playing golf with me. As a ten-year-old in Hawaii, I would astound strangers with my long, straight drives. I loved to hear them say, “Wow! Mozart on the links!”

Laying aside all this materialism and pride, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed being on a beautiful golf course with my father. There he would tell me the secrets of his heart, as if he were talking to himself. I learned his thoughts about God, his family, and the world. I knew—probably even before my mother—when Daddy’s business was good and when it was bad.


Critique: 

I feel that there is quite a bit of telling in the first page here. For instance, the reader doesn't really learn much about the other sisters (also, the narrator isn't yet named), or her mother (we only really learn that she was able to handle the death of her son better than her husband); also, many readers might not be familiar with Byron Nelson/Ben Hogan golf swing, so you perhaps you could explain its significance (does her dad think it's the best golf swing? where did he learn it?). We are given a lot of information within a few paragraphs, but it's only snippets. For example, the narrator mentions a trip to Hawaii in only a sentence. I do like the father's love of golf was able to help him somewhat recover from his loss, and that the narrator enjoyed spending time playing golf with her father, but you might consider working on showing the reader how this was a bonding experience for them. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Weekly First Page Critique

I will be hosting a weekly first page critique. If you would be interested in having your first page critiqued here on my blog, please email your genre and first page to me at jordy[at] thebookeralbertagency[dot]com. Please put First Page Critique in the subject line. I'm hoping you guys will find this helpful! 

Current Wishlist

Middle Grade

Action/adventure, sci-fi/fantasy, contemporary...anything fun and entertaining, with great character and world building.

Young Adult

I'm looking for YA in all sub-genres! Especially contemporary and thrillers, sci-fi/fantasy and anything with a strong romance. Also, I'm looking for YA that has a more mature voice...and I love characters with sarcasm, wit, some snark, but still be likable. And of course, looking for fresh stories, or stories with familiar elements but are unique. Some favorite recent reads:

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Poison Princess by Kresley Cole
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
White Rabbit Chronicles by Gena Showalter

NA/Adult

Romance!!! Contemporary, Historical, romantic suspense/thrillers (with a strong romance)...

Some of my favorite Authors:

Karen Marie Moning
Kresley Cole
Gena Showalter
Teresa Medeiros
Sabrina Jeffries
Lisa Kleypas
Eloisa James
Lauren Layne

Submission Guidelines

Submission Guidelines

You can also find our guidelines here. I am only accepting electronic queries at this time. 

*Please send a Query and the first 10 pages of your completed manuscript to query[at]thebookeralbertagency[dot]com. I do NOT respond to queries sent to my personal email. In the subject line of your query, please include QUERY: JORDY and TITLE

*Please make sure your pages are pasted into the email-I do NOT open attachments unless I've requested materials.

*Please include your name and contact information.

*You should receive an auto-response message confirming we have received your submission. If you do not receive an auto-response, please check your spam (just in case). Feel free to drop us a line either through the contact form on our website, or email letting us know, so we can check to see if there is an issue with our email.

*If you have not received a response from me in four to six weeks, I have decided to pass on your project.

*If I'm considering your work (partial/full), please do keep me posted on any offers you might receive (from agents or editors)

*If you haven't heard from me, please feel to follow up after six to eight weeks.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Help promote the Booker Albert Agency!

Please join us tomorrow and Friday (May 15-16) for a Twitter (and facebook) party to support the Booker Albert Agency! Please follow #BookerAlbertBlast and spread the word. Share the # and tweet away! We'll be offering a five page critique to 6 random followers. Stay tuned!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Query Critique #4



Hey everyone!

Happy Friday! Here is this weeks query critique :) Thanks again to the authors for the use of their queries.


QUERY:

Twelve year-old Jude begins to travel between parallel worlds. At
first, the only downside is dealing with predicaments caused by the
parallel-reality versions of herself who take her place while she’s
gone (The first sentence doesn't really catch my attention. I think a sentence about how she discovers how she can hop between worlds would be more effective in grabbing an agents attention. Also, I'm just a little confused from the first couple of sentences. At first, it seems like Jude may be the only one that can travel between parallel worlds, but then there is mention of the Rule Breaker and Switching Rule, so it seems like others are able to as well.).
Then Jude is given a note, the worlds are in trouble, and learns
a Rule Breaker—[someone with a pendant breaking a Switching Rule] (this might be a little too much information to add in a query because it implies travel between parallel worlds is common (for instance, this makes it seem like the reader is familiar with what a Switching Rule is), but Jude is just learning about it. I think it would help if there was a sentence to help transition, a sentence that would let us know others have this ability. Is it an ability for everyone as whole?)—is causing catastrophic events in the alternate worlds.

 In one world, her entire family is dead except for her little sister.
Jude tries to save her, but is too late—and vows to go after the Rule
Breaker even if it means he will try to destroy her world (why does he want to destroy her world?).
When a cute boy she keeps meeting in the other worlds shows her a virtual game,
Jude figures out how the Rule Breaker is causing the catastrophes.

After piecing together more clues, Jude is stunned to realize a
version of the cute boy is the Rule Breaker. Now Jude—with the help of
her best friend Windy—must figure out which parallel world the Rule
Breaker is hiding in and find a way to stop him. Before all the worlds
are destroyed.

I think this is an interesting premise. Overall, I think the query works fairly well. Just keep in mind you are introducing the reader--in this case, the agent--to the character(s)/world you've created, so it's important to make things as clear as possible. 

~J


Friday, October 18, 2013

Query Critique #3

Hope Everyone is having a fabulous week! Time for another query critique. As always, thanks so much to the authors!

QUERY:

Anna is stuck in a rut. To be fair, though, it’s a very comfortable rut
that her dad approves of, and that she dug for herself. But still, it’s
time for a change.

Change comes in the form of Coy McLeod Nice :), visiting Anna’s small hometown from the far away land of Chicago. He’s as spontaneous, passionate, and independent as Anna is… not.

I don't feel I get a good sense of the plot/story from the above paragraphs, and they don't really grab my attention. I think it's good that you briefly mention how Anna and Coy are so different. However, I wasn't sure if that-their differences-was the main conflict/tension or not. You might try to make that a little clearer. Also, I think it might be more effective if you try to incorporate that into the following paragraph--How important is it to the plot? 

When Coy gets the idea to take a Shakespeare Festival road trip, Anna
agrees to go along, hoping the spontaneity of the trip will help her to be
more open to new things. This gives me a better idea about the story, and I think this would be a better place to start, but keep in mind you also want to set up the tension/conflict. But when she returns home, she is just as uncertain of what to do with her future as when she left. I don't understand why she is so uncertain. This sort of goes along with my previous comment. What is it that is going to make me want to keep reading? Coy has added a new choice to Anna’s list of possible future plans- he wants her to move to
Chicago with him. As if things weren’t confusing enough already. I think this line works well. It sort of lets us know the stakes. 

Should she finish college at her family’s alma mater, while staying at home
with her widower father? Or take a chance on Coy, and step into the
unknown? As time runs out on Anna’s last semester of school, it will take a
proposal, a death, and The Sound of Music to bring the curtain down on her
old life.

Not a bad start. I would just try to tighten it up a little bit. 

LOVE AND THE BARD is a New Adult contemporary romance, complete at 90,000
words. It would appeal to readers who enjoy contemporary Young Adult
novels, such as those by Sarah Dessen, and are now looking for an older
protagonist. The first ten pages are included after my contact information.
You are also welcome to use my work for a first-page critique on your blog
should you wish. Thank you very much for your consideration!