Monday, April 15, 2013

Queries, partials and fulls...oh my!

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! I know waiting for a response regarding a query or partial/full request is killer. I just wanted to share a few things to keep in mind while you're waiting.

*If I requested a partial/full and you haven't heard back from me in 6-8 weeks, please feel free to follow up. It's quite easy to get backed up with requests, so chances are I just haven't had the opportunity to finish reading your submission. Also, please keep in mind that along with queries and requests, we also have our clients work to consider, which must take priority, so that may delay a response as well. I will definitely respond if I have requested material. 

*While I am very happy for the authors who receive an offer/offer(s) for representation and wish them all the best, recently, there have been a few times where an author will notify me after the fact, after they have already accepted another offer. If you have a partial/full with me, please keep me posted on any offers you receive...even if you would like to withdraw your manuscript from consideration (if you have an offer or an offer of publication). You can imagine how disappointing it would be to finish a manuscript, offer representation, only to find out that the author already signed with another agent, or signed a contract with a publisher.

*While I would love to respond to every single query I receive, unfortunately, time just doesn't allow. Also, please be sure to check our submission guidelines. We are unable to open attachments (unless requested), and please don't just send us links.

Thanks so much for reading! Have a wonderful week.


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Cliche openings and other things that I've seen a lot of recently

It is very common to run across a number of submissions that have similar openings. I wanted to share what I see a lot of, and what will probably dissuade me from reading further.

1. We first see the character when they are waking up and going through a routine.
2. A dream. This sort of goes along with number 1.
3. Flashback.
4. A very descriptive/wordy opening that is all telling. The imagery may be well written, but it's always important to consider how everything you include works to move the story forward, or helps with character development. Is there another way to establish the setting?

Another thing I find quite often is a prologue. While prologues can be great, it's always a good idea to ask yourself if it is absolutely necessary.

Pet peeve: I've recently read a number of YA submissions where the characters attend a party, which I totally understand, but I didn't really see the significance, why the scene was important, or how it helped move the plot forward/tied into the rest of the story.

- Everything should tie together. I've come across scenes that really don't serve a purpose. I would always recommend considering why something is important, and how does whatever it is affect later events? Always think of cause and effect...even with character motivation!

When you read so many queries that have similar themes, they tend to all start to sound similar...with a similar voice, similar characters, settings etc. If the pages don't stand out, we won't want to read any further.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks so much for reading!