Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Agent Q&A

As part of the ongoing revamp of the blog, I'm happy to announce we're reviving an old favorite: the Agent Q&A. I'll be stopping by each month and giving folks the opportunity to ask all those burning questions about getting an agent, what an agent does, what makes a good submission, the publishing world and so on.

So what's on your minds? Leave your questions in the comments section and I'll come back later to provide some answers. In order to keep things from getting too out of hand, I'm going to promise to answer three of the questions at random. (I reserve the right to answer more if I have time, but I'll always answer at least three.)

Don't forget to check back this evening or tomorrow for the responses. Have a great day!



Blogger Debbie Kaufman said...

Hi Nephele:

Great voice, great characters, but story not quite there. What makes you decide to work with someone in this postition anyway? Or, do you?

Wondering because I've seen it go both ways with friends. One rejected and the other had revision requests from the agent. (Neither were me :))

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 11:16:00 AM EST  
Blogger Alta said...

Thank you for answering questions :) I love your name, btw.
My question:

What draws you to a potential client the most? What scares you away?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 12:55:00 PM EST  
Blogger Christi Barth said...

Thanks for squeezing us into your busy day! What is a standard wait time once you begin reading a partial or full manuscript request? We know agents are completely overburdened with manuscripts, but balance that with our fear after a few months that cyberspace has eaten our submission.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 1:04:00 PM EST  
Blogger Heather said...

Hi Nephele. Thank you for taking time to answer our questions.

With publishers spending less and less money on promotion, do you like your clients to have a sound plan for promotion?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 1:18:00 PM EST  
Blogger Trish said...

A market question if you don’t mind.

What does the market look like for a hot Romantic Suspense?

I'm thinking of the kind of heat generated in say JR WARD's BrotherHood of the Black Dagger, and Larissa Ione's Demonica series. But rather than paranormal--set in a romantic suspense sub-genre.

Heat seems to be big among romance readers. So do books with the bonds of brotherhood--as the authors listed above. So it would seem like hot romantic suspense with lots of heat and brotherly love would be an obvious choice. But most the RS I see seem to have the romance and heat levels dialed way back.

Curious if you see a change in the wind in regards to this.

Thanks for any insight!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 1:52:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these!

A few months back I got a request from an agent to rewrite certain aspects of my manuscript. I have since completed the request, and have e-mailed her to let her know. I'm fairly anxious, and I haven't heard back (I didn't send my ms w/ the first e-mail b/c often those go straight to spam). For fear of being a nuisance, how long should I wait until I contact her again?


Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 4:23:00 PM EST  
Blogger Leona said...

Is there an etiquette to requerying those agents that take it? Do you need to say that it is a second query and what has been changed since first?

For example, my word count was too low. I upped it into a more acceptable range and changed scenes around, and added a few more. Does that need to be indicated? And if so, how?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 8:24:00 PM EST  
Blogger Shalanna said...

Is there no room in the market for a romantic suspense ghost story? I mean one without vampires OR werewolves, but with a real ghost. I can't get anyone interested in the pitch, and one person told me "that's not paranormal," which really gobsmacked me, as I thought witches and ghosts were definitely paranormal. This isn't SF/F, either, as it has a large dose of modern technology. Perhaps the market is veering towards ghosties?

Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 3:37:00 AM EST  
Blogger Nephele Tempest said...

Lots of great questions! Here are a few answers for you.

I'm going to combine Debbie Kaufman and Alta's questions in my first response, since they're both asking what I'm looking for (or not) in a client/project. As far as material, I want good, strong writing and a fresh story with a hook and a distinctive voice. If there are plot holes or issues in that respect--things I can point out and that we can work on--but I love the project otherwise, I'm happy to put the work in to help the writer patch up those holes. But I'm not here to teach writing, and I can't help a writer who is technically wonderful but whose ideas are cliched or dull.

As far as what draws me to a client, I'm looking for a talented writer, obviously, but also someone who understands this is a business, who wants to learn how to navigate (or already knows) the publishing world, and who is interested in building a career. I shy away from writers who already think they know everything necessary--because why do they need me?--or with whom I feel I have a personality clash. We're going to work together too closely to not get along.

On wait times, for Christi--I try to be quick with partials because they're shorter and easier to fit into the day--generally a few weeks, though if I've been to a conference and gotten a lot of partials from that it can be a little longer. On full manuscripts I'm currently very far behind--as in months. But anyone concerned that I might not have received something is always welcome to follow up with a quick email.

Building a Life--if an agent has requested specific changes and stated that they would be interested in seeing the manuscript with said changes, just send it with a reminder or copy of the original correspondence. Don't want for them to request it all over again--they essentially have.

Okay folks. More next time! Thanks for all the awesome questions, and for those of you who didn't get responses this time around, please keep reading, as much of this kind of information turns up on the blog or in the agency newsletter as well.

Happy writing,

Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 11:17:00 AM EST  
Blogger Helen said...

I think you've already answered your questions for this month, but hopefully you'll see this anyway!

I'm in college right now and wanting to get into the publishing industry and was wondering how important a masters (I know NYU and GWU offer programs) would be in this field or if I should do a summer program (such as the Publishing Institute at the University of Colorado)? Basically I'm about to graduate next fall and I'm not really sure how to go from there, if I should just start looking for a job or continue my education. If you have any suggestions they would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions!

Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 12:34:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Denise Friend said...

Hi Nephele,

Thank you for taking the time to offer a Q&A. My question is in regards to formatting semicolon's, italicized words, etc.

Q: In a manuscript, should italicized words be underlined? For for a semicolon, should two '--' be used? I've read many times that in standard formatting it should be this way. I'm wondering if that rule has changed.

Thank you!

Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 1:18:00 PM EST  

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