Thursday, November 02, 2006

It's Thursday, Q & A time

Hey everyone! So sorry that the blog has been so dormant the past couple of weeks. Things have been beyond CRAZY here! However, today I am here to save the day and offer up a little of my knowledge. Any of you folks out there have anything on your mind? Now's your chance to pick my brain!

You know the drill - The first five people to post a question get an answer!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does your agency respond to every email query? What is the typical turn around time?

Thursday, November 2, 2006 at 3:42:00 PM EST  
Blogger Kimber Li said...

I received a request for a partial (not Knight Agency) from the very first query letter I sent out way back in August. Though it was rejected, the experience was extremely educational and led me to many other resources for improving the query letter and the manuscript too. I've since received other positive responses because of this. Now, with a radically revised query and manuscript, I'm wondering if I should query this agent again. I've studied the blog archives of several different agents for wisdom with conflicting results. Some are annoyed while others admire the dedication to improve. What is your opinion? If I do send a new query to this agent (not Knight Agency,) what would be the proper way to do it? Thanks a whole bunch!

Thursday, November 2, 2006 at 4:37:00 PM EST  
Blogger Holly said...

I second the first question. :) I sent a query at the beginning of October, and just wondering if I should resubmit, assuming it's lost in cyberspace. You said it's been super crazy, though, so I wanted to check first. :)

Thursday, November 2, 2006 at 4:40:00 PM EST  
Blogger bookofkell said...

What are some of the pros and cons of using two pseudonyms within a genre, for different types of work?

It seems like it could affect author branding, sales figures, option clauses, etc., but I don't know what the effects might be.

(Thanks for taking questions! I asked a variation of this at the Bookends, LLC blog also, but would love your response as well, if you have time!)

Thursday, November 2, 2006 at 4:55:00 PM EST  
Blogger Kendra Leigh Castle said...

I third the first question, although actually...I just resubmitted, because I read advice on here somewhere (in another Q&A thread) that if it had been a month, the query had probably been sucked into the black hole of lost equeries and it was okay to do so at that point. But then today you mentioned it's been crazy, and now I'm horrified. Am I going to get flogged for this?

Thursday, November 2, 2006 at 5:26:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going to ask a variation on the first question. What would be the turnaround time during this time of year on a partial request from a conference pitch? I was planning to send the chapters next week, and I'm not sure how long to wait before follow-up. A TKA agent told us things are read faster when it's a request, but with the holidays things seem to slow down a bit.


Thursday, November 2, 2006 at 6:56:00 PM EST  
Blogger Elaine Spencer said...

Well the black hole seems to be working overtime here doesn't it? Yes, we do take the time to respond to EVERY properly sent query.

What do I mean by that, well if you don't follow the rules, depending on time constraints, I may not respond.

What can you do to pretty much assure a no-response. A few things - If you send the query via attachment, I will not open it or respond. If you send the query via US mail, I do not respond. If you send the query to my personal email account, I do not respond. That's about it. I respond to everything else.

I have however noticed a VERY annoying trend. I receive many queries that seem perfect. I read the query, formulate a response, and reply. Then my reply is bounced back to me with a note asking me to submit my address to become an approved sender so as to alert the account holder that I am not a spammer. I do not have time for this. In these cases, again, a response inevitably is never sent.

Other than that, we are on a standard two-week turn. Currently my oldest query is from Monday.

Hope this helps, please don't ever be afraid to resend. I would never hold something like that against an author.

Thursday, November 2, 2006 at 6:57:00 PM EST  
Blogger Elaine Spencer said...

What is the policy on resubmitting a query which has previously been rejected?

In my opinion, I would say go for it. If the agent was interested in the project the first time, it can't hurt to see if they still see a spark.

I can tell you that at TKA a large percentage of our clients are people who queried us multiple times before we knew it was the right time to go ahead.

In my interactions with authors, ecspecially those that I see great potential with, I encourage them to keep me in mind down the road.

The worst thing that could happen is the agent will say no - On the other hand, look at the positives.

It is a personal preference. Again in my opinion, I say Go For It.

Thursday, November 2, 2006 at 7:06:00 PM EST  
Blogger Lisa Pulliam said...

Hi Elaine, thanks for answering questions!

Let's say you've read a partial from someone, like the writing, interested in the story, etc. Do you visit their Web site and or blog to see if they have any sort of a Web presence? Does that factor in to your decision to potentially take them on as a client? It seems that more and more Web presence as an unpublished author is important. Thanks!

Thursday, November 2, 2006 at 7:20:00 PM EST  
Blogger Elaine Spencer said...

Question - What is the turnaround time on a partial?

It depends. We typically try to stay around 2 months. I can tell you that I'm behind that right now.

However, if a project comes in that REALLY catches my eye, I might read it that day.

I would say the sooner you can send it, do. That way it can start moving to the front of the pack!

Also, don't be afraid to check on the status - it works as a good "reminder" to us agents. We don't want to hear that we are behind, but well, we know that in many cases we are.

Thursday, November 2, 2006 at 7:22:00 PM EST  
Blogger Kimber Li said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Thursday, November 2, 2006 at 7:44:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow this is exciting. I'm not sure if this question is getting in but I must ask just in case. I'm planing on querying TKA soon, because I'm finishing up a big story Paranormal in which the world is as significant/dramatic as the love story. I'm almost scared to write the query because I'm not sure what to focus on. Should I focus primarily on the relationship which will be very difficult to do without addressing the world or should I give the world and the relationship equal value?

Thanks so much for your time

Thursday, November 2, 2006 at 7:49:00 PM EST  
Blogger Elaine Spencer said...

Does web presence play into our decision making in signing on a client?

It will never hurt you to be on the web. Exposure Exposure Exposure. We are all here for the same reason. To get our books in the hands of as many people as possible. Exposure will only help this!

In addition a web presence shows me that they are serious about their writing. It shows me that they are trying to take it to the next level, develop a fan base, grow their work into a career.

However, if I am really interested in an author and they aren't on the web, I will never hold that against them. The great thing about the internet is that it is never too late to jump on the bandwagon.

Thursday, November 2, 2006 at 7:51:00 PM EST  
Blogger Elaine Spencer said...

Questions Are Closed - You guys snuck in one extra tonight!

Thursday, November 2, 2006 at 7:54:00 PM EST  
Blogger Elaine Spencer said...

How do I approach my query -

I don't know how to answer this because it is not my story.

I will tell you that it is important that you figure it out before you do anything.

Clarity is crucial. What is the story about? What is the main element? That is what you should focus the query on!

Figure out a way to clearly explain both of them in light of each other. If they are co-dependent briefly explain A in relation to B.

Realize that you don't need to go into specifics. Queries are BRIEF summaries. Don't worry about us understanding every element of the story.

I know that this is a general summary answer and I am sorry that I can't be more specific. Take your query to your critique partners or other writing peers. There is a lot of people out there that could help you tie it all together!

Thursday, November 2, 2006 at 8:27:00 PM EST  
Blogger Kimber Li said...

Here's a simple thanks for the advice and encouragement.

Friday, November 3, 2006 at 10:34:00 AM EST  
Blogger Diana Peterfreund said...

Hi, anonymous with the big paranormal story.

I'm not Elaine, but I am a TKA client, and I just wanted to add one thing to her excellent answer.

Agents are going to assume that you've done your proper wordlbuilding and there are all sorts of amazing, intricate details going on that they will discover when they read your book. the temptation to focus on that is going to be as strong as the temptation to backsotry dump int eh beginning when your readers want action. (I know this; I feel the temptation too.) You did the research, you created the world, you want everyone to know how cool it is.


In the query, you want to get across character and conflict. Regarding worldbuilding, I'd suggest only metnioning the bare basics so that your story makes sense. Pick the definitive element that makes your world different from the real one. If your book were the Matrix, you could say:

"Neo is a computer hacker living an anonymous life in a big city. He is contacted by a group of other hackers who want to recruit him into their rebellion against the establishment. But what Neo doesn't know is that he's spent his entire life trapped inside a virtual reality game controlled by the AI robots who have taken over the world and enslaved mankind. Now Neo is about to be "released" from the rules of the game, learn that he has "cheat" superpowers, overcome a human traitor trying to crusht eh rebellion, and most of all, find he has a special place as the savior of mankind."

See, you don't need to go into all of the hovercrafts and Zion and pills and weird pod-wombs and agents and such. Just robots enslaving mankind in a virtual reality world. The rest is plot.

Friday, November 3, 2006 at 10:48:00 AM EST  
Blogger Lisa Pulliam said...

Thanks, Elaine!

Friday, November 3, 2006 at 12:02:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apart from thanking Elaine, I'd like to add thanks to Diane P for her summation of the query. It's funny but I don't know how many discussions of queries are made, there's always a snippet of insight to add to the getting of wisdom.
Penny :-)

Tuesday, November 7, 2006 at 5:19:00 PM EST  

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