Saturday, September 01, 2007

Anyone Want to Help?

Dear Rejecter:

I have a friend who is a professional book reviewer ( read by millions through the U.S. and Canada. She's promised to blurb my book when it's published. Is this something I should mention in a query letter?

I'm very skeptical of people I've never heard of. After all, there are a lot of places that basically just give everything a thumbs-up because a publishing company pays them to. Anyone heard of this person?

PS: Why have all the best bloggers in the publishing industry cut so far back on their blogging?

We're busy/on vacation.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Revisions Without A Contract

Hi there. I don't want to take up too much of your time, so I'll get straight to the point. An executive editor at a major publishing company requested my manuscript. During the process of waiting, her editorial assistant was kind enough to tell me the executive editor loved the book and that she was just as adamant about working with me as I am with her. Her editorial assistant even asked me to critique a piece of her work, which I did.

The editor sent me a list of revisions she would like to see, which don't seem impossible to make, but my question is whether or not it's a good idea to make revisions to a manuscript that hasn't been accepted or rejected.

I've been in this situation a couple times with agents and been burned a couple times, so I'll give you my advice.

From your description, she seems pretty interested. Also if she recommends revisions and is very specific about them and they seem sensible to you, you should probably be making them anyway. That said, she hasn't made you an offer yet, so don't be surprised if you turn around and she says no after you did the revisions. On the other hand, you come out with a better manuscript for other editors based on what was probably good feedback, so it's not necessary win-win (i.e. this might not immediately result in a publishing deal) but I would make the revisions and resubmit.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bad Sign: Genres I've Never Heard of

What are your thoughts on stories using anthropomorphic fantasy? Is this a sub-genre all by itself and is it popular enough to be marketable?

Anything that is good enough can be marketable. That said, it is not to me knowledge an official sub-genre, so you shouldn't say that's your genre in your query.

What is an official sub-genre? It gets a bit hard to tell. Genres are actually pretty much determined these days by in what section the bookstores places them, and a lot of things get lumped together. Why some things are in sci-fi/fantasy and some things are in fiction & literature (i.e. general fiction) are a mystery to me, but that's why I'm not a Barnes and Noble buyer. As for sub-genres, they're only really relevant in certain cases particular to the genre, and generally they're not worth thinking about in the query because we can probably figure out the sub-genre from the summary. If it's about elves in New York, it's urban fantasy. If it's about a small-town amateur detective who solves crimes, it's a cozy. If it's a fictionalized account of the last days of General Custer, it's historical fiction. You don't really need to tell us that; we know the business, plus we think it's hilarious (in a bad way for you) when you get your sub-genre wrong, or list multiple genres in the hopes that you will convince us that it will be a crossover hit. (Man, I've done that. I was such a dork)

A good way to tell if your genre is "popular" is to go to a large bookstore and see how many titles on the shelves would fall in the same category as your work. I'm guessing in this case it would be very few, and I'm even counting the Dragons of Pern stuff.