Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Knight Agency Blog: Question and Answer Time--the Good, the Bad, the Ugly...Bring 'em On! PART TWO/NEW THREAD

The Knight Agency Blog: Question and Answer Time--the Good, the Bad, the Ugly...Bring 'em On!

We started the questions/answers back there (follow link above.) We're continuing them here because the thread got crazier and crazier. I have quite a few questions to still hit, but if you can, please repost them here. That will help me a lot. Thanks! Deidre


Anonymous Kris Y said...

From the previous thread: If you're still taking questions, I've got another one. How often does it happen that an agent reads a fiction manuscript, loves it but sees that it could be polished a bit more yet still seeks representation?

Thanks so much.

Thursday, March 16, 2006 at 3:24:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...



I'm almost finished my sexy paranormal (three chapters left) and wonder when I should start the agent hunting process.

I've finished three books in the past so I'm not concerned about finishing. I just know that it takes time for agents to respond.

Is it best to wait until it's all done or start soon?



Thursday, March 16, 2006 at 4:07:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Ciar said...

I am unagented, so take this with a grain of salt...and I can't wait to see the answer to this one! Anonymous, I sent out an incomplete ms for consideration, having heard it takes forever to get a response. I got what I would consider a rather quick request for the full and felt completely CRAZY completing the manuscript. Not only did I need to finish the book, I needed to really work the whole thing over more fully. It was insane, and I'll NEVER do it again. Does that help? :o)

Thursday, March 16, 2006 at 4:14:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Cindy said...


Thanks for answering my RESUBMIT question. Now, how long should I wait after I've re-queried before I can assume it got lost in the email trap?

Example: I receive a pass, and have new query to send out and submit it within the same hour I receive pass. Then two weeks pass by and no word on new query.

Is it much too soon to be looking for a response--or should I resend, assuming the query was lost in the shuffle?


Thursday, March 16, 2006 at 4:15:00 PM EST  
Blogger Deidre Knight said...

Kris, the situation you describe happens frequently. There's often something I want to suggest that will make a book shine just a bit more. Since we're in the biz of selling books to earn our commissions, we're all about giving input if it will make the manuscript stronger. We wouldn't pass on a book we loved just becaust it needed a bit more polishing. I mean, ideally the work will be ready to go, but it doesn't always happen that way.

Thursday, March 16, 2006 at 5:08:00 PM EST  
Blogger Deidre Knight said...

Annie, if you're truly at the end--and this book has been read by people whose opinions you trust, and you've edited along the way, then go ahead and start querying. But it's often true that once a book is finished, it needs to sit a while--that way, you can get perspective on it before diving back in for revisions. So my concern here wouldn't be about you finishing the book, but rather about it being the best it could be. Only you can answer that.

Thursday, March 16, 2006 at 5:10:00 PM EST  
Blogger Deidre Knight said...

Cindy, I think that depends on the agency. We're more caught up than that here, but I can't speak for other agencies. I'd requery, though, after about 2-3 weeks, just to be sure. Hope that helps.

Thursday, March 16, 2006 at 5:27:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Michelle said...


I'm currently waiting on a final decision about my historical romance from Harlequin Historicals (which moved from the NY office to the Richmond, England office). I've had very good luck getting requests, revisions, etc. from that team. Should I consider getting a London agent? Are historicals selling better overseas and would that be a good option for me? Right now many of the U.S. agents have said the historical romance market is so tight, it's very difficult to break in unless it's a unique storyline. What are your thoughts on this? Thanks so much!

Thursday, March 16, 2006 at 6:21:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Deidre,

Thanks for your calming words.

My novel is very polished (wish I could stop tinkering but that's the way I write) and has been through my critique group. But I read what Ciar wrote and figure the next three weeks it'll take me to complete my book won't hurt. Then I'll start the agent hunt. That way if there's a change in the last chapter that surprises me, I'll be prepared. It'll also give me the chance to let it breathe, as you suggest.

Many thanks. I've so enjoyed this session.


Thursday, March 16, 2006 at 7:06:00 PM EST  
Blogger Denise said...


I noticed from your website that you also take nonfiction books. Would a book about weight loss surgery fall under "health" for your agency?

Thursday, March 16, 2006 at 7:07:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Kris Y said...

Thanks for your input, Deidre. It's nice to know that if the work isn't perfect, there are agents willing to work with the authors. Makes me feel a bit less pressured, but not any less fanatical about it being the best it can be. Blogs like this really give us unagented writers a lot of useful information. Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to answer our questions!

Thursday, March 16, 2006 at 7:13:00 PM EST  
Blogger Deidre Knight said...

Michelle, I don't think you need an overseas agent. The heart of the romance market is always going to be in NY. I think you should come up with a BIG idea for historical, and use it to get an agent. I've had two editors tell me this past week that they really want historicals. I suspect the material is landing on their desks and we may have a window here where new authors could find a deal. But it's got to be fresh and different--yet not so out there they won't take a risk.

Thursday, March 16, 2006 at 8:27:00 PM EST  
Blogger Deidre Knight said...

Annie, if you're truly that close to being done, and it's very polished, I say start querying. It won't all happen overnight, and so long as you're close, you might as well start the process. I wouldn't advise that for everyone, though, but in your case, I think it's okay. Deidre

Thursday, March 16, 2006 at 8:28:00 PM EST  
Blogger Deidre Knight said...

Denise, that sounds like health to me. Deidre

Thursday, March 16, 2006 at 8:29:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Michelle said...


Thanks so much for your input. I appreciate your time!

Thursday, March 16, 2006 at 8:31:00 PM EST  
Blogger Denise said...


Thank you so much for your response. I appreciate the time you have taken to answer my question.

Thursday, March 16, 2006 at 9:50:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Fred W. said...

Three times I've tried to submit an e-mail query, but each time I've got an "undeliverable--sender blocked" message. The e-mail does not contain an attachment. Can you help me with this?
Thanks again for this blog! The info is not just helpful, but worthwhile just for its own sake. That you are willing to take the time to do this shows a generosity and dedication one seldom finds anywhere.

Friday, March 17, 2006 at 6:20:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Deidre,

I'm very impressed with your agency so yours will be on the top of my ten list.

Enjoy your weekend.


Friday, March 17, 2006 at 8:24:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


My question is more directed on actually becoming an agent. I've done some research, but can't find any "agenting" classes. As someone who wants to become an agent, what are the steps? Fees associated? How do you query an agency to see if they're taking on new agents--is TKA? Also, how do you judge whether a person is agent-material? What type of experience is necessary?

Thanks for any advice you may have.

Friday, March 17, 2006 at 9:20:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read about people you've sold on partial. How do you do that? Do you recommend it? Or do you always have to have a completed manuscript?

Friday, March 17, 2006 at 10:22:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Deidre,

I have a question related to one that has already posted, about selling based on partials. I'm a newly published author with one of the larger houses, and I've always been under the impression that until I became more established, I would have to continue to write full manuscripts to have my work considered by editors. However, I'm hearing of more and more instances of newly pub'd authors obtaining their next contracts based on a partial only. (I don't mean submitted to fulfill their option clause with their current publisher, but submitted to another publisher.) What are your thoughts on this? Is there a trend in the works regarding editors being more willing to look at partials from relatively new authors?


Saturday, March 18, 2006 at 4:34:00 PM EST  
Anonymous skylark said...

And I'll continue on the subject of submitting partials. I've had three novels published by a major publisher. A forth, the option novel, rejected as the first three had not earned out their large advances. I'm 100 words into a new novel. I write regularly every day and can predict almost to the day when I'll finish it. Do you think I can break the "only full mss" rule when looking for anew agent?

Sunday, March 19, 2006 at 7:29:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Deidre,

I have a question about the timing of submissions regarding option clauses. I've been told that I should wait to submit my proposal for the next book until the editor has some indication as to how the book under contract is going to sell, because if I submit early on in the contract, the editor might reject out of hand. In your experience with your newly pub'd clients, have you found this to be true?


Sunday, March 19, 2006 at 11:05:00 AM EST  
Blogger DanStrohschein said...


Would you even consider looking at a first time author whose first book is the first book in a series of four?


Monday, March 20, 2006 at 2:04:00 PM EST  
Blogger Jpatrick said...

Why does size matter so much?

Seems like a lot of publishers are holding firm to 100,000 words on novels. I've read several very good ones that are only 60,000. It seems like being dogmatic about word counts might exclude a lot of otherwise outstanding projects.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006 at 3:01:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Kathy said...

I know that paranormal is hot right now, but is science fantasy considered paranormal? (no vamps, wolves, elves or faieries) And how hard is it to sell?


Monday, March 27, 2006 at 1:23:00 PM EST  
Blogger Deidre Knight said...

Fred, I assume you mean querying our agency? Our email is

Why don't you double check the address against what you've been using. All our queries seem to be coming through just fine!

Monday, March 27, 2006 at 3:10:00 PM EST  
Blogger Deidre Knight said...

partial anonymous (sorry, couldn't resist!) It's always tricky to sell on partial, and the work has to be outstanding, but sure, I'm game. I have to be in love, though, and it's a risk to submit to an agent without a full manuscript to back it up. All the authors I've sold on partial had either submitted completes to me or been signed on for another complete manuscript first.

Monday, March 27, 2006 at 3:12:00 PM EST  
Blogger Deidre Knight said...

Karen, I do think that selling work on partial is an emerging trend, at least somewhat, but as I always say--and it's our mantra at TKA--it all depends on the quality of the writing. If you've sold to a major NY house, though, you should be able to now sell on partial (not just option material, either.) That's the real benchmark in most cases. But especially with bigger fiction, more and more editors are considering on partial.

Monday, March 27, 2006 at 3:13:00 PM EST  
Blogger Deidre Knight said...

anonymous who wants to become an agent...while I'm in the business of advice to authors, I'm really uncomfortable going into specifics about opening an agency. I recommend that you do a lot of research by reading books and familiarizing yourself with publishing. That's at least one piece of advice I CAN give. :)

Monday, March 27, 2006 at 3:14:00 PM EST  
Blogger Deidre Knight said...

Skylark, your biggest obstacle will be your sales on previous books which sound like maybe they didn't perform so well. Was the material offered to all the major houses in town and still passed on? I think you CAN sell on partial, but I think where you need to be careful is in packaging yourself--probably with a new name. Hope that helps.

Monday, March 27, 2006 at 3:16:00 PM EST  
Blogger Deidre Knight said...

Newly pubbed anonymous, no I don't think they'll reject it out of hand, but they will quite possibly say they need to wait on numbers for this first book. Your agent (I'm assuming you're agented!) is likely wanting to put you in the best possible negotiating position. Of course it's a risk--if the book sells poorly, you may not get another contract (if they were willing to offer one without numbers yet.)

Monday, March 27, 2006 at 3:17:00 PM EST  
Blogger Deidre Knight said...

Dan, of course we'd consider looking at the first book in a series, and we do so all the time. No problems there! D

Monday, March 27, 2006 at 3:18:00 PM EST  
Blogger Deidre Knight said...

jpatrick, size matters in romance a great deal because of how books are packaged. The typical single title novel is usually in the 100K range, whereas category would be much shorter (with very strict word guidelines dictating what is bought by publisher.)

In commercial fiction or other less strict categories, we're open.

Monday, March 27, 2006 at 3:20:00 PM EST  
Blogger Deidre Knight said...

Kathy, sci-fi romance is starting to gain some traction in the market for sure. I myself write a kind of paranormal/sci-fi blend, and authors like Catherine Spangler and Susan Grant are gaining more and more well-deserved notice. How it's positioned in the market depends enitrely on how sci-fi the material is--set offworld? Paranormal vs hard sci-fi elements? It's hard to nail down, frankly, but these are some questions I'd ask yourself as you determine which category you're writing in.

Monday, March 27, 2006 at 3:21:00 PM EST  
Blogger Deidre Knight said...

And with these most recent answers, I'm going to close the thread for a while. But we'll open a new question and answer later in April. Thanks for all the fabulous questions, gang! Deidre

Monday, March 27, 2006 at 3:22:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Annie said...

Many, many thanks for taking the time to answer. Most helpful.


Thursday, March 30, 2006 at 7:56:00 AM EST  
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