Thursday, July 01, 2010

For Your Information, Again

If you've self-published several terrible books in what's probably a mystery/adventure/YA series, complete with your self-drawn cover, it's really only necessary to send one unsolicited book with your query, not all 3 plus some soundtracks you've composed. Be assured that if our socks were knocked off by the first poorly-edited book with its hilariously bad cover art, we would request the rest. Until then, save on postage.

I'm always in favor of people saving on postage, and yet ...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Money for Reviews

Dear Rejecter,

Having recently completed my YA novel and believing it to be original, inventive, yadda yadda, I'll be sending my query letters out to potential agents soon. My question to you is: We Book's Page to Fame, good idea or not?

The premise: for $9.95 a writer puts up the first page of their novel. It's then anonymously rated by other writers participating in the program. If the page is rated highly enough, it passes to the next level where the next few pages are put up and rated, and so on. At each level, the novel page or pages will be rated by at least one literary agent, and, if the novel "wins," the writer will receive exposure, potential offers of representation and whatever other good things may follow.

Good idea or not?

In general, I am against authors spending money. Aside from that whole "money flows to the author" principle, we live in an age where pretty much everything that a potential author could possibly want is online and free. Sure, if you want to develop your craft, it might not be a bad idea to take a course or buy a book on craft that's well-reviewed, and a grammar book wouldn't hurt, but really, save your money. Even if you get published, the money won't be rolling in anyway. $9.95 will probably cover all of the stamps for your queries and SASEs and partials if the agencies don't accept email queries, but especially when you send a requested manuscript.

As to the program itself, I've never heard of it, so that may say something about the exposure you'll be getting. Agents don't regularly kill time on the web looking at the work of unpublished authors. As for feedback, is it from other unpublished authors? How good is that, anyway?

If anyone knows more about the program, post it in the comments.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Revising Your Word Count

What if you rejected for no other reason than a too-low 50k word count?(though -oops-the author-doesn't know for sure it was this, God forbid an agent give feedback) would a revised 70k get the auto-dump as well?

There's a short answer to this, but I felt it deserved some discussion anyway.

At my agency, 50K will make me suspicious but I will not immediately throw it out, even though maybe I should. It depends on the genre; my boss is a little looser about word count. I know of at least two other agencies that absolutely would throw out a 50K novel, so maybe it's not a great thing to be pitching.

On the other hand, padding your novel doesn't make it good. It probably makes it bad (or worse).

There was a case a few weeks ago where someone sent in a query saying she had revised her novel to our specifications and now would we please look at it? As best as we can figure, she had originally sent a query (a partial or full we would have remembered) that one of us rejected, but written "too short" on the side or as a PS. Some agencies do this sometimes, if the writer needs a leg up, but in this case it came to bite us in the tuchus, which it usually does. She assumed this wasn't the only problem with the novel and spent a ton of time revising it, then resent the query. Rejected again - it was still a bad novel idea. I guess our (I don't know if my boss or I did it) helpfulness was misleading, making her think she had a chance if she added 20K of blather, or simply lied about the word count and hoped we really, really loved the partial.

I really hope, as a person, that she hadn't pinned her hopes on us. As I writer, I know she probably did.