Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Secret Agent Day!

Agent 24-7 has closed up shop for the day. Take a look in the comments to find out how she answered your questions. If you missed 24-7, don't worry! *in Terminator voice* She'll be back!
Here's how it works: Submit your questions in the comments section throughout the day. Agent 24-7 will answer two randomly selected questions after 3pm ET. The answers will be given in the comments section.
Clue #2: She received her higher education in a community conceived to mirror the exalted philosophic centers of ancient Greece.

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22 Comments:

Blogger Adelle Laudan said...

Scenario: You've just been offered a contract at, lets say Avalon Books and you have the elusive 'dream agent' in mind, every author has. How does one go about asking for representation? Would an agent even be interested in filling this role?
Thanks for taking the time, Mystery Agent.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 10:00:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Jenn Nixon said...

Question:

Author submitted book to publisher. Book has been edited, cover made, etc. Publisher doesn't launch due to the economy. Does the author mention this in a query letter to other publishers/agents?

Thanks!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 10:36:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Flavio Q Crunk said...

How do agents feel about query letters written from the POV of the protagonist? Auto-reject?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 10:57:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Windsong said...

Does YA fantasy fall in the YA category or the fantasy category? (fairy tale retelling)

Thanks for your time. :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 11:27:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm writing a novel that is like an Anthony Trollope novel, in that it features a nineteen-year-old guy who has to choose between two beautiful women. It's not a romance novel, even though it is a love story. How should I categorize the novel when I query? Where in the bookstore would Trollope's novels be categorized if he were writing today?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 12:44:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a Canadian writer. How does this factor into the agent/author dynamic? If my book sells to an American publisher, will it be available in both countries? Thank you!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 12:59:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the best thing to do once you've started sending out query letter? I sent some out, then went back to look over manuscript, and started cutting a few words, I thought excessive. Then, I realized, I could tinker with this thing ad nauseum, and I'd hate for someone to request it while I've started rewriting a section. Is it best just to leave it alone, or go for perfection?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 1:57:00 PM EDT  
Blogger ~tivi jones said...

A few published authors I know suggest I begin submitting queries for my manuscript when I have a synopsis & the first 3 chapters. (They know I'm unpublished in fiction)

I've heard of a lot of writers doing this. Is this the "norm" or even acceptable with agents? I always thought I had to be 100% done with the manuscript, but I don't want to miss out on some insider secret if that isn't the case....

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 2:44:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Agent 24-7 said...

Adelle,
We frequently have authors come to us with an offer in hand. If you've got one and haven't locked yourself down to the terms of the offer (IE made any type of commitment to the publisher) I would say spend a few days trying to get an agent to sign you on so they can negotiate the contract for you.

My suggestion to get their attention, if you don't have an agents personal email address, type something bold in the subject line like HAVE OFFER IN HAND or RECEIVED PUBLISHER OFFER, something that will make the submissions reader see the email and open immediately. Often times agents are willing to move material to the top of their pile if an offer is pending, you just made their job easier, plus they assume if you have an offer you have unquestionable talent. I do have to say though that just because there is an offer on the table doesn't mean that an automatic offer of representation will be offered, at the end of the day the agent is still going to need to love your writing to want to have you as one of their authors, but it certainly doesn't hurt to dangle the "offer" carrot in front of their face- It always makes me hop a little faster.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 2:49:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Agent 24-7 said...

Jenn Nixon,
Are you starting the query process over for the same book? If so, yes you should probably mention. However this isn't most important part of the query so keep it brief and towards the bottom of the letter.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 2:52:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Agent 24-7 said...

Flavio -
I think in most instances its a bit disorienting. While query letters are supposed to hopefully give you a feel for the quality and tone of the project which its representing, you still want it to be from a rather objective writing style.

When I open a query letter that is in the voice of a character it usually throws me off. As in I read a few lines and stop and think "HUH?" before I realize what's going on and then I have to start over in my evaluation. Its not the most efficient way of presenting your story.

While I won't encourage it by any means, I won't either be so bold as to say its an "auto-reject". Personally though, I would avoid and just stick to the basics, focus on the story, the plot, the hook, those are the things you are supposed to be drawing the agents attention to and they should speak volumes about the novel without needing any "device" such as being from a specific POV.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 2:56:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Agent 24-7 said...

Windsong - This would fall into the YA catagory.

Young Adult Fiction, as well as adult fiction, is first classified by the largest audience and then broken down into its genres and sub genres as audience specifications become more limiting.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 2:57:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Agent 24-7 said...

Anonymous - to be totally forthcoming, I am not familiar with Trollope's writing so I am not sure I can give you a 100% accurate answer. I can tell you your story would most likely be housed in general "fiction" catagory.

There are many general fiction novels that are love stories but not housed in the confines of the "romance" section.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 3:01:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Agent 24-7 said...

Anonymous -
US vs Canada -

The US vs Canada dynamic can be dependent on many factors. For a most basic understanding its going to depend largely in part on what type of publisher you sell the manuscript to, who that publisher distributes to, and what territories they license the work for.

In terms of agent/author relationship. For us, it doesn't make a huge difference. We have clients represented on four different continents right now, we could care less what your nationality is. However, it should be noted that the Knight Agency's primary sales market is the US. We do not specialize in selling primary rights in foreign territories (although subrights are an entirely different thing, meaning that once the book has sold in the US, we will try to sell abroad).

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 3:05:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Windsong said...

Thank you so much for answering my question! I really appreciate it. :)

*virtual chocolate*

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 3:08:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Agent 24-7 said...

Anonymous -
When is a manuscript done?

There is no real answer to this question. If I were you. I would finish the manuscript. Put it under the bed for 6 weeks. Pull it back out and revise, proof, share with critique'rs etc. Then, when that's done, close up shop on editing. Send out 5-10 queries to start. See what type of feedback you get. If everyone points to one thing, maybe then you can consider revising then before sending to the rest of your agent options (but be aware that agents may have entirely different and opposite opinions on what needs changed and how).

Really, you could play with a manuscript forever and ever and ever. It could turn into an endless cycle. After that one round of revisions close her up and start working on something else unless you have a really compelling reason to back track.

Remember, you grow with each thing you write. Don't cause yourself to be pigeonholed by not moving past one project.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 3:09:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Cassandra said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 3:12:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Agent 24-7 said...

Tivi Jones - Finish the book. Unless we are talking the most extreme circumstances (and I'm talking RARE RARE RARE) we can't sell something on partial, so we're not going to sign it on that way. Until you have a track record of finished projects established we want to make sure you can do it (and that we're going to be satisfied with the ending) before we are going to take the risk of working with you. What would happen if we sign you on and 6 months down the road you finish the ms and we hate it. You would probably not be very happy. We try to prevent that. And again, unless we're in extreme situation there isn't much we can do with an partial.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 3:12:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Agent 24-7 said...

Thanks everyone for playing along -

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 3:13:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Windsong said...

Thank you for your help. :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 3:23:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Adelle Laudan said...

Thank you very much for answering my question on this matter. It is greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 3:29:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for answering my question (Canada/US). I learned so much from all the other answers too (in particular, when to stop fiddling with the finished manuscript). I really appreciate it!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 3:43:00 PM EDT  

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