Thursday, November 16, 2006

You Got Questions... I Got Answers!


Happy Thursday to ya! I thought I would jump into the mix for Q&A day. So fire away! First 5 people to ask get answers. What to ask me? Well, I'm around these crazy agents all day long, so I have a pretty good insight into that world. More specifically aimed at what I do? Blogging, website, publicity in the stores and online, newsletters, egroups... that's my bag baby!

Fire when ready!

17 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm currently writing the first book in a planned trilogy of three (YA fantasy, as it happens). This book will be perfectly happy to stand alone, but considered in terms of character growth & summing up all the plot points, it will be better with three.

My question is this: When I decide to query agents, how should I pitch? Would it be best to focus on the first book & just mention the next two, or try & hook the agent with all three? And - if I mention the next two - would it count against me if I hadn't written them yet, or should I wait until I've finished all three before I even think of querying an agent?

Yours, in a tangle, Rachel.

Thursday, November 16, 2006 at 12:57:00 PM EST  
Blogger Alyssa Goodnight said...

Hi Julie,
Thanks for the opportunity!
I'm writing a contemporary, mainstream romance (single-title) with a paranormal element...basically a charmed journal. I'm wondering how best to categorize my story when querying agents. Should I mention paranormal, tone it down by saying magical?
I appreciate any advice,
Alyssa

Thursday, November 16, 2006 at 1:20:00 PM EST  
Blogger The Wannabe Writer said...

Hi Julie,

Thanks for the opportunity to ask a question! I am writing a YA novel and am planning to query editors soon. I do not have any credits in the book field. However, I do have 50+ credits in the magazine field, but most of those are non-fiction. Since I'm approaching agents with a book, do the non-fiction credits even need to be mentioned in my query or are they worth mentioning? Thank you again! I greatly look forward to your response!

Sincerely, Jessica

Thursday, November 16, 2006 at 1:32:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When deciding on a particular book - obviously publishing credits count. But my question is would you ever take on a writer, who has a track record of selling, whose idea you liked, but perhaps - the particular book in front of you didn't hit the mark.

Do you have to love the book first? Author second?

Thursday, November 16, 2006 at 2:04:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Julie,

I just finished sending out my first 10 query letters to potential agents that I found in the Writer's Digest, "Guide To Literary Agents" book. I was wondering three things: 1.) What do you as an agent look for most in selecting manuscripts, and 2.) What is the best way to approach agents? Should I be flooding the market, or focusing on 10 at a time? and 3) How can a new author promote himself in such a competetive field?

Thanks!

-Chris

Thursday, November 16, 2006 at 2:04:00 PM EST  
Blogger Jana J. Hanson said...

How did you get to be so awesome?

Thursday, November 16, 2006 at 4:26:00 PM EST  
Blogger Gena Showalter said...

Will you run away with me?

Thursday, November 16, 2006 at 5:31:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If an editor requested a partial, it's complete synopsis and five follow up story synopses would you recommend trying to contact an agent before you heard more from the editor? *Positive thoughts and silent prayers* there is more interest from the editor.

Thanks so much

Thursday, November 16, 2006 at 10:04:00 PM EST  
Blogger Julie Ramsey said...

Q: Pitch the series or the first book when querying? Should the whole series be written at the time of queries?

A: Focus mainly on the first book, but do mention the series. The first book must stand alone and be strong enough to entice a reader to continue in the series. Still, an agent/editor will always be happy to see a series. As for writing, the series doesn’t need to be finished. The first book must be the focus and when shopping the series, the author will only need to present a brief synopsis for book 2 and 3.

Friday, November 17, 2006 at 1:02:00 PM EST  
Blogger Julie Ramsey said...

Q: I'm writing a contemporary, mainstream romance (single-title) with a paranormal element...basically a charmed journal. I'm wondering how best to categorize my story when querying agents. Should I mention paranormal, tone it down by saying magical?

A: Go with calling it “light paranormal.” By doing so, it opens up opportunities for agents in how they will pursue and pitch the work to editors. Paranormal is hot right now, but not everyone LOVES paranormals. But, if your novel has “paranormal elements” or is “light paranormal” these editors and agents might just pick it up anyway and get hooked.

Friday, November 17, 2006 at 1:04:00 PM EST  
Blogger Julie Ramsey said...

Q: I am writing a YA novel and am planning to query editors soon. I do not have any credits in the book field. However, I do have 50+ credits in the magazine field, but most of those are non-fiction. Since I'm approaching agents with a book, do the non-fiction credits even need to be mentioned in my query or are they worth mentioning?

A: Yes, it does matter. Don’t go on and on about it. While platform isn’t as important with fiction as nonfiction, it is credit to your writing and dedication to writing as a “career.” Since we sign authors on for the length of their careers, their commitment through tougher times is very important. I would mention it.

Friday, November 17, 2006 at 1:05:00 PM EST  
Blogger Julie Ramsey said...

Q: When deciding on a particular book - obviously publishing credits count. But my question is would you ever take on a writer, who has a track record of selling, whose idea you liked, but perhaps - the particular book in front of you didn't hit the mark. Do you have to love the book first? Author second?

A: Yes, we might. If you are a published author and the current work doesn’t “hit the mark” we will request samples of your past works to get an idea of the spectrum of your current capabilities. If the past novels are strong enough and all else “clicks,” we will work with the author on the current project or another project to propel the career further. (Work first, author second in general though). Sorry that is kinda a generic answer. These situations are very much case by case.

Friday, November 17, 2006 at 1:06:00 PM EST  
Blogger Julie Ramsey said...

Q: I just finished sending out my first 10 query letters to potential agents that I found in the Writer's Digest, "Guide To Literary Agents" book. I was wondering three things: 1.) What do you as an agent look for most in selecting manuscripts, and 2.) What is the best way to approach agents? Should I be flooding the market, or focusing on 10 at a time? and 3) How can a new author promote himself in such a competitive field?

A: Writing, writing, writing! Go ahead and flood the market (of agents) with your queries. When we look at queries for fiction, it is all about the writing. Give the agent a good hook to sink her teeth into and a story she can really get behind. Above all, know your audience and pitch to agents that LOVE the work you are offering; do your research. At the partial level, it’s all about the writing. Give us something we can’t put down. 3.) get a great online presence. Start building a newsletter base. Have a nice, exciting, but to navigate website. When looking at new authors, that is one of the first things I see—the website. Often with the first impression of the website, I can tell how serious an author is about making a career (of ups and downs) out of writing.

Friday, November 17, 2006 at 1:09:00 PM EST  
Blogger Julie Ramsey said...

Jana, maybe I'm born with it.. maybe it's maybelline..

Gena, I was just waiting for you to ask!!!

Thank you so much everyone! I truly enjoyed answering questions. Until next Thurs.. or the next. Happy Thanksgiving! :)

Friday, November 17, 2006 at 1:12:00 PM EST  
Blogger Jana J. Hanson said...

:) Have a great weekend, Julie!

Friday, November 17, 2006 at 3:25:00 PM EST  
Blogger MassBile said...

gvpciVery good article...infomational for sure...looking forward to reading some more posts placed on this topic...will be checking this page again..have saved in favorites and bookmarked...thanks

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Saturday, November 18, 2006 at 12:58:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just found this blog and there are some really good questions, and as a novice to the writing industry these are pretty relevant to myself. I will bookmark this for further information.

Share your information at YourBroadcaster - Creating, Writing & Collaborating.

Friday, December 1, 2006 at 4:29:00 PM EST  

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