Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Agent Q&A

Hey there, everyone. I'm a bit late today thanks to a busy morning, but I have not forgotten that today is Agent Q&A Day! For those of you new to this TKA feature, I drop by once a month and ask you to post all of your burning questions about publishing, writing, getting an agent and so on. Just ask away in the comments section of this thread. Then I'll come back and provide some answers. I'll be sure to answer a minimum of three questions, more if I have time. (Last month I think I answered pretty much everything.)

So, what would you like to know? Post away! I'll probably answer tomorrow morning to give everyone a chance to get their questions up this evening.



Blogger Alwyn said...

Thanks for doing this. Here is my question: Do you think it's a faux pas to start your query letter with the same sentence as your manuscript?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 5:21:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Kismet said...

Thank you for this opportunity. I recently received a rejection from an agent who had requested the entire ms. The rejection made it obvious she didn't read the ms. (placement and era of the novel were way off). I wrote a thank you email and didn't mention her goof. Should I have?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 5:46:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Tana Banana said...

Hi there, I have two questions:

One: When you address the query letter to the TKA Submissions, do you add: QUERY and the title of the project? How exactly should the title bar be set out? And if its to a specific agent?

Two: If an agent requests to read the first three chapters of your manuscript after having seen your query, is the 'Prologue' if the writer has any, included as part of the first three chapters? Should they put it in or leave it out?

Thanks for your time! =D

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 6:18:00 PM EDT  
Blogger mromero said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 6:29:00 PM EDT  
Blogger mromero said...

I am very interested in interning with The Knigh Agency over the summer, how would I get in contact with someone who would be in charge of internships? I am drawn to this agency because of its work with Gena Showalter's Intertwined series and Rachel Caine's Morganville vampire series and would love the opportunity to work for you. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 6:45:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Melissa said...

I've just started the query process, and I've gotten positive comments even from agents who've passed. However, the "really like it, don't think I can sell it" comments are mystifying. I'd like to know more specifically what I can do to make my work marketable. Aside from crit groups and contests, how can writers know what it is about their novel that makes it a good/bad bet?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 6:53:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jessica D. Stampe said...

What is "significant" for author bio?

I’m having a tough time figuring out what to put for my bio on my query letter. The guides all say ‘significant’ or ‘relevant’ experience, but I just don’t know what that really means. I am an unpublished author, but I have been published as a news reporter and have written press releases for a university though the experience was all in college. I also graduated with a communications major and creative writing minor. Are these things significant or would including them be ridiculous?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 7:24:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If my novel places in a contest, but you've already rejected it, could I re-query it? What if I received a publisher offer?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 7:48:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Wendy said...

I would love to be involved in the business,but i don't have any experience (except for being a constant reader) Is there anything you can suggest or do you need some kind of knowledge. Do you ever have volunteers with your agency(such as helping an author with a signing) and do you have a office in Florida?
Tank you for your time. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 7:18:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Nephele Tempest said...

I'm going to focus on queries first, since there are several questions about those. There aren't any hard and fast rules on query structure, other than making sure you've read the submission guidelines for the agency you're submitting to with said query. I recommend putting the project name and/or your name in the subject, simply because when it's in with 200 other queries in someone's inbox, they'll be able to locate it again.

As to the body of the email, I personally prefer queries that give me a couple of sentences before you get to the synopsis of your manuscript. Tell me what you're pitching before you start pitching it--genre, length, audience, that sort of thing. And most of the time, your first sentence from the manuscript won't work as the first sentence of a synopsis. Occasionally it will--only you can really judge--but most times the synopsis should be something you've written specifically for your the purposes of querying.

On rejections. Agents don't always reject a manuscript immediately after reading it (or part of it). If we love something, clearly we're going to jump on it, but if we don't, that sense of urgency fades. And between you and me, we don't particularly like writing rejection letters. So if an agent doesn't remember certain details of your manuscript or gets them wrong, there's not much point in saying anything, because regardless, they didn't love and remember your work enough to want to sign it on. Move on to someone who will.

As for following up if you want to resubmit, most agents very rarely look at a project a second time. They need to have indicated that they'd be open to a second look if you made certain changes, or in some way have seemed VERY encouraging. Otherwise, I wouldn't resubmit unless you've rewritten substantial portions of the work. Winning a contest or even getting an offer isn't going to help much if the agent didn't like the book to begin with. We don't always reject something because we feel it's not salable; some days we just don't like the story. Much of this business really does ride on personal taste.

On working in the business: I fell into agenting kind of backwards, so I can't exactly hold myself up as a shining example of how to enter the business. I did, however, work on the editorial side for a bit right out of college. Then I went off and worked in sales and as a paralegal and in finance and as a freelance writer. I had a lot of experience that provided me with an applicable skill set by the time I came back around to publishing. Plus I was an English major and I read a great deal. For people interested in getting into the business, I recommend reading the trades that list jobs and internships: Publishers Marketplace, Media Bistro, etc.

The Knight Agency's main office is in Georgia. That is where the business end of the agency runs; contracts go there, money, etc. Our support staff works out of the Georgia office. We currently have an intern, hired on by Elaine Spencer. I believe Elaine ran ads locally and contacted the placement offices at local colleges/universities. If you really want to work for the agency and you're in the Atlanta area (the office is technically in Madison), I can only suggest submitting a resume for the files, but we're not looking for anyone right now.

Okay folks, that's it for today. Hope this was helpful, and thanks so much for dropping by with your questions. Have a great day!


I'm in Los Angeles and I have no need for support staff at this time; there's not enough work that I can comfortably hand off to keep another person busy part-time. Lucienne Diver is in Florida and I suspect she's in the same position as I am, but I may be wrong.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 2:42:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Wendy H said...

Thanks for the info..have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 9:14:00 PM EDT  

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