Thursday, July 26, 2007

Q & A Thursday!

I hope that everyone has had a wonderful July. We have been MIA on the Q&A Thursdays for the past several weeks due to the various conventions and such, but we are officially back on!

You all know the drill - the first five people to post their question will get a response from moi! Check back tomorrow to take a look at our one-on-one answers to YOUR questions!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How is the agency's average response time running on requested partials? Would just over five months be too early to check in on status?

Thanks and congrats on all the recent sales news.

Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 4:44:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. I've polished my manuscript and have started querying. (Two requests for partials so far!) Plus, I'm getting ready to attend my first conference.

My question is: What should a newbie writer bring to a conference?

Query letter, 1st chapter, synopsis? Just a 2-minute pitch and a big smile?

(I know agents don't want manuscripts... I can just imagine trying to go back home with a suitcase full of manuscripts. Ugh!)

Also, if I know a particular agent will be at the conference, should I wait until I meet her at the conference to query her? Or, should I query her before?

Thanks so much.

Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 5:19:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I plan on going to college soon to earn a degree in English. My goal is to become a published author, but also have a solid career somewhere in the writing field (not sure exactly what yet though).

I'm just curious as to what looks impressive to you, the agents, as far as education and extra-curricular activities go. Also, should I query agents while I'm in the process of earning my degree (I have a complete, edited manuscript finished and ready for 'pitching'), or wait until I'm finished and have some credentials?

Thanks much! It's always helpful to get advice from the pros.

Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 7:24:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you really honest with the people at conferences when they pitch to you? Do you ever say send me a partial when you already know you're not interested?

Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 7:34:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For a first-time novelist of thrillers is it better to start with a hardcover book or paperback original and build up to hardcovers?

Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 8:30:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Elaine Spencer said...

Anonymous - We generally try to average @9 weeks - which number is EXTREMELY flexible though. Sometimes things come in right away that we look at immediately. Other times something may come in that we are very interested in, but just not at this moment so it will sit for longer while we try to figure out if it can fit into our list at a later date.

I would definitely check in though - five months is a stretch and it can never hurt to check.

Friday, July 27, 2007 at 9:05:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Elaine Spencer said...

Jah - All a newbie writer needs at a conference is enthusiasm and confidence about their work. Realistically I am not interested in receiving any type of "hard" material when I am traveling. I would rather meet someone in person.

A great impression will leave a lasting mark and I am more likely to quickly look at someone's work the instant it hits my inbox.

Friday, July 27, 2007 at 9:11:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Elaine Spencer said...

Anonymous - All we care about is GREAT WRITING. Someone's educational credentials are the last thing that we are concerned about unless it is directly related to what you are writing. Obviously a solid education will make you a stronger writer which will make your writing more appealing - but at the end of the day we are interested in our writers' talents on the page.

Friday, July 27, 2007 at 9:18:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Elaine Spencer said...

Anonymous - In all honesty I usually request material that people pitch to me at conferences unless it is an obvious stretch from what I normally handle. While in person pitches are a great opportunity to get a foot in the door, we realize that someone may be overly nervous or perhaps we are distracted during the 10-minutes. As always, at the end of the day its about great writing which can't be conveyed in a pitch session. I am usually pretty willing to take a look at just about anything because you never know when that jewel is gonna appear out of no where.

Friday, July 27, 2007 at 9:21:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Elaine Spencer said...

James - the format of your book is the last thing that you should be concerned about as a first time author. That is a decision that is made by your editor/publisher and is pretty much out of your hands.

Friday, July 27, 2007 at 9:22:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Elaine, I'm anonymous #1. :)

I'll drop you an email later today explaining the specifics, Deidre kind of informally looked at my partial on a plane, there's something else with the book now. I got some very sound editorial advice that truly spoke to my heart, and I believe I need to heed that advice rework the book for a younger audience.

I actually asked because I wanted to pull it from consideration at this time and make those changes. I could shoot myself in the foot for not listening to my gut when the idea first struck me.

I believe you requested the partial in...February, but I remember that my original query got lost for a I could be a bit off on that.


Friday, July 27, 2007 at 9:50:00 AM EDT  

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