I forgot to prep one for today.
By way of excuse, I'm cat sitting (not for the Duchess of Yowl) and was too busy petting His Whiskerness to write a post.
Back on track tomorrow.
|His Whiskerness, the Prince of Orange|
Uh-oh... Who stole Panda-In-Chief's snugglies? Someone's gonna get in trou-ble!
Θάνατος στη Δήλο, ένα άλλο μυστήριο Αθηναϊκή
3D puzzle of that building...
A cuddly tarantula with poor circulation.
I spy bear-ly visible spider cozies on them there feet!
All in all, I think
those two tacks in the wall.
It's literally in “this photo”. Rearrange letters to “hip to shot”, meaning he brought whiskey and two glasses. A good drinking partner is a gift.
A spider friend had chilly feet
and lamented to a shark.
A client heard the spider's woe
and it tugged upon their heart.
While whiskey warms the belly
it does nothing for the toes.
The client knew that panda socks
were the only way to go.
(Over the 25 word limit, but the socks were too inspiring. Please forgive me, your sharkliness.)
It was bad enough being the only furry octopus in existence, but having to wear hand-knitted panda socks in public was mortifying.
Dum, dum, da, dum...Spider is getting married!! See the garter? To throw at the reception! Socks? Destination wedding, China. Floppy butt thing? Spider veil.
You all think this is cute. It's not cute. You try navigating a tower of books with two legs crammed into one sock. I demand four more socks!
Socktapus in the wild.
This makes me want to find a little stuffed shark for Janet and dress it in a panda costume.
Why on earth would your client give you ten copies of the same book? Didn't they know that you can reread a book over and over? Good for the environment.
I wouldn't want to play poker with it.
He's got 4 of a kind showing, waiting on the river card.
My spidey sense is tingling.
They're searching for the results from the last contest.errr...I'll get right on that.
Alot: Cute Otter picture on wallThat's the centerpiece art for I Am Otter which I love so much I have it hanging in my office. It's the aftermath of the toast restaurant.
queries current only through 3/20/2017yea well, I've been busy not judging contests.
I can't think up a caption. I'm thoroughly diverted and dumbstruck by the condition of that laptop. What the hell did you do to it?Well, it's kinda old so it needed a truss.
We're gonna need a bigger slush pile.
Shark: Janet out-Scotched us.Special recognition for an entry that breaks all the rules, with style and charm
I keep hoping that one day- ONE DAY - we will get a caption contest with a 30 word maximum, so I can do a "my nayme is" poem (I love that meme with an undying passion.) Well, I'm armed with both a splitting headache and a devil-may-care attitude today, so I'm doing it anyway.Ardenwolfe
Our nayme is plush,
an wen its nite,
an our grate shark
turns off the lite,
we crank some tunes
we know by heart-
We let a Wilde
*spray paints "Vive le Revolution" onto the wall and runs cackling into the distance*
"Take me, you beast!"
"Not so rough!"
"What the hell? I thought this was a literary agency, not The Lifestyles of the Sick and Stuffed."
"when the phone rang, they all froze; who was going to be query shark this time?!"Cheryl
Spiderina still hasn't quite got the hang of playing hopScotch.
Missed Connections: You were a leggy 18 year old with a killer smile and alot of charm. Pity I only heard your voice.Rio
Moments before finding out why you never play spin the bottle with a spider.
Over the past few years, I've ghostwritten/edited nearly a dozen romance novels with a friend who then self-publishes them. The way this has worked for us is she acts as a James Patterson type: she has great high-concept ideas that she then hires out to writers to fill in. I have no qualms about saying I'm very good at what I do (confidence--what a new notion for me!), especially as I've recently expanded my clientele to do the same work for another romance writer. I'm paid fairly well as a work-for-hire when there are projects to be had, and I love this work as it's fun, comes naturally to me, and is far from what I write/want to write as far as my own books, so there's no competition.
Recently, I was on Upwork looking for editing jobs and noticed there are quite a few requests for ghostwriters who are given the concept and then asked to run with writing the story. I'm led to believe that the majority of self-published authors in certain genres are using ghostwriters. I'm wondering how this works in traditional publishing and if it's similar. More than that, I'm wondering if it's possible to break into traditional publishing as a ghostwriter and if it's lucrative to do so.
So I suppose that's the question, which I'm hoping with your knowledge might provide some much-needed guidance. Can writers break into the industry as ghostwriters and is it financially lucrative for them? Or should I stay the course and continue as-is?
I just got in a request for a revise and resubmit. The agent wants to set up a phone call to discuss the potential changes, which I'm all for. But in the letter they sent me, they said they had some significant issues with the manuscript, including not feeling connected to any of the characters, feeling like the characters all blended together and had no outstanding personality traits, that most of my plot was over done and convoluted, and then listed out for me the similarities they found between my manuscript and a very popular series in the genre. Is this typically how R&R letters go?
I've had beta testers read this, and the one problem I never had was anyone telling me they thought my characters blended together. Some of the agent's suggestions were quite helpful but others left me lost. I also noticed that in the agent's notes, there's a handful of times where they point out that I forgot to introduce something to the story before using it later, but every time they had pointed it out, I had actually introduced it previously in the story, sometimes only paragraphs before. They also spelled the name of one character incorrectly consistently through the letter. I feel both grateful for the time they've spent on my manuscript as well as confused. If they had a problem connecting to my characters and thought my plot was over done, is there really anything I can do for an R&R? I don't drink booze, should I start?
So I have two fulls out with agents right now and a handful of query letters. I've been really excited and hopeful about the process, but I recently saw that a new ARC had been released in my same genre. It has a pretty different plot line than mine, but I thought up a snappy name for a potion in mine that's pivotal to the plot, and it turns out they have the same exact name for their own potion that's pivotal to the plot. Now I'm worried that the agents reading my manuscript will see this and assume I somehow either copied it or that my story is too similar to this ARC for it to sell, even though the plots are different. I'm also pretty upset that I'll now have to go into my own story and find a new name for my potion when I was so happy with what I'd come up with. I know this seems like such a small thing, but can it have a big impact on the agents reading my work? Do I contact those two agents, or just leave them alone and hope they don't get turned off by it?
What's the worst possible thing that could happen if you did this?
I have a friend (how many of your blog entries start this way?) who is self-published. She has several (nine) books out, and they've done fair to middling, as best I can tell. I don't know how to tell precisely how well they've sold, but they're in the mid-hundreds in their categories on Amazon.
She read one of my manuscripts ages ago before she started self-publishing, and, to get quickly to the point, she wants to publish my manuscript.
She has never published anything for anyone else.
My gut says this is a bad idea. But on the other hand, the manuscript in question doesn't fit easily on the shelf - it's a tough shop. She's willing to take on the publishing and marketing costs. And she wants 50/50 profits.
My question for the blog is this: regardless of details (who gets what, etc.), this doesn't fit easily into traditional or self-publishing. With a manuscript that is likely never to see the light of day otherwise, can I still shoot myself in the foot with traditional publishers on other projects in other genres by doing this?
In other words, is this as horrible an idea as I think it might be?
Since completing my third novel (it is the first one I queried with, because no author would ever query their very first novel, right? Right??), I have received over 9 full requests (seeing as how I queried just a little over 60 agents, that's a decent number of full requests).
Each agent has had wonderful things to say about the novel: "creative and awe inspiring", "most imaginative writing I have read in a while", "very talented writer", "amazing detail and incredible world building", "I found myself loving the characters as if they were my own kids", "Please tell me this is a series in the making!", "smart writing", etc., etc., thank you, thank you.
Although their responses back had so many nice things to say, each one of them ultimately turned it down. Not one of them wanted to take a chance on the MS. In EVERY SINGLE case (requesting agents), there wasn't anything wrong with the novel that they put to paper - nothing that involved a R and R or extensive plot changes or character revamping or hair pulling or binge drinking/brownie scarfing/late night red bull fueled editing please stop crying you'll ruin your laptop sessions - they just didn't think it was a fit for them/their agency "at this time".
So my question(s) is/are, why would agent after requesting agent keep turning it down when they seem to like it so much? Am I to assume that the market isn't in a place right now that could support this kind of book (upper MG fantasy) and that is why they ultimately turn it down? I know that agents aren't immune to rejection themselves - it can take them months or even a year or more to find a publisher too - so why wouldn't they want to sign me and gamble with the market in hopes trends will swing or that a publisher will love it as much as they do and buck the whole market trend thing? (BTW - I do NOT/WILL NOT write for market trends - that's what a writer does. I am an author. I write for me and for the stories in my head and that will never stop regardless of all the rejections. Ok, moving on...)
While I appreciate the accolades, I'd like to see this "creative and awe inspiring" book of mine on the shelf!
Any help/insight/agent mind reading would be ever so appreciated!
I recently signed with a terrific agent for my nonfiction work. I’m thrilled – I already have a book deal, she represents authors who are highly regarded in my field, and she’s a perfect fit for what I do.This is not running on your woodland creature rodent wheel. This is a real problem, and it's one I'm seeing more and more.
But I also write fiction, and while my agent does represent some children's fiction, neither she nor anyone at her agency represents the category of my soon-to-be-finished first novel (adult crime fiction). My agent has said she’d be happy to look at anything I write, but that she understands completely if I’d rather look elsewhere for fiction representation.
Working with her has been a dream come true – she got me more money and better terms than I had hoped for on the nonfiction book, and I just really respect her and enjoy working with her. I need to decide (maybe?) whether I’d be better off sticking with her even though she usually doesn’t represent or read crime fic (if the novel is even up to her standards), or querying other agents once the manuscript is ready to go. I also want to do what's best for my agent, and I don’t want to saddle her with a novel she’s not excited about. Am I overthinking this? Should I just give her the manuscript and let her make the call? What should I have for lunch? Oh God, why are writers like this?
Here’s a question that’s been nibbling at my mind recently and one, only you can answer.
A while back I remember reading on your blog, (thanks for all you do for us), that posts to your blog belong to the blog. At that time I took the statement as meaning, if you ever wrote a book on writery, agentey, publishey stuff, you could use our comments as fodder. (That would be an honor BTW).
Because my new WIP continues the, ‘why I wrote what I wrote and what happened after’ format, are my quips, comments and amazing (ha) words of wisdom, now owned by you, or am I able to reuse? Re: their force and fallout, in my new memoir/essay project.
In other words, I was just wondering if all my brilliant attempts at enlightenment, shared as comments on your blog, are now yours. (No one accuses me of being humble).
"To share an overflowing plate is admirable. To give away that which you covet is honorable. To donate knowledge, entertainment and escape is most noble"
I do hate to point this out, but unless that's Mosag then your she is a he. Poor Aragog. Always getting confused for something he's not. First an octopus, then his wife.My spider is not restricted to just one gender. In fact, today she's wearing a black garter.
Jeff Somers' missing pants
The obvious answer is Gwyneth Paltrow's head.I must be missing the joke about Gwyneth Paltrow's head, but any reference to The Shawshank Redemption gets my vote!
But since it's Brooks, and he was the librarian at Shawshank, I'm gonna say it's a rock hammer hidden inside a bible.
Shrodinger's Cat. Not to be confused with the Duchess of Yowl. I hope.
|Confuse me with some OTHER, lesser cat? I should think NOT.|
Your order for Waffle HouseI haven't been to The Waffle House in far too long. I better track down a writing conference near one and beg for an invitation!
The Macguffin, of course!
It's the crushed hopes and dreams of a thousand writers, lightly seasoned with their bitter tears.
Nah, that's your favourite snack food.
Plus, probably he has his own.
Oh, the irony of it all! It's heavy, it's July...it's none other than my great-grandmother's special recipe Christmas fruitcake that I sent you back in December. It's obvious the spider knows a good thing when he sees one. And you didn't even have a piece. At least Brooks knows what goes good with a nice bourbon.
Happy Christmas in July, Brooks! Enjoy the fruitcake.
I am in the box.
I guess poor Mr. Sherman didn't realize when he cheekily told you, "Feel free to send along anything off-beat, slightly disturbing, and/or not quite right in the head you run across," you'd take him literally.
It's John Frain's manuscript of course. And Sox the Spoctoper (spider-octopus) knows that NOTHING is worthy to share a box with THE MANUSCRIPT.
(Yes, I named him Sox, because every flash fiction contest, he gets blown away.)
To be using a flat rate box for crosstown, it is something heavy.
For the pet spider to be terrified to enter the box, it is something spiders instinctively fear and avoid at all costs.
Duh, it's obvious.
You're sending Brooks Sherman a vacuum cleaner.
Don't feel bad folks, I'm a trained professional.
Uh, guys? I think you're missing the obvious.
Byobrooks is an agent. What do agents need more than anything else?
Honestly, it's not that tough a riddle!
Agents need MORE TIME. Janet is sending him more time.
Why the flat rate envelope? To disguise it, of course. Most people want more time, so Janet has to pretend it's a box of books, so no one will steal it.
Why didn't the spider climb in?
Geez, do I have to do all the thinking here? Did you ever see a spider wearing a watch?
He didn't climb in because SPIDERS DON'T NEED MORE TIME!
You're welcome. ;)
Okay, so I really want to know what's in that box.
Everyone who has read Harry Potter knows that spiders flee from a basilisk, but why would you be sending Brooks a deadly snake? You like Brooks. You would not want to see him petrified.
I hear there are ARCs available of Nick Petrie's new book, but if you got your fins on one I can't imagine you sharing it.
So now I've determined the two things that are not in the box.
Though you share Sean Ferrel as a client, I know he's not in the box because he tweeted something today that was not "Help! I'm n a box."
Liquor you would have packed and shipped directly from the store.
Spider is afraid of it. Not an ARC. Not Sean. Not alcohol.
So obviously it's ---
*background noise of ferocious struggle as beloved iPad is ripped away*
Hi. This is Jenny's daughter. Mom made me promise to keep her off Twitter and all other forms of social media until she's completed draft 1 of her WIP. And besides, it's a beautiful day. You people should be outside or something.
I have been following the advice of the Shark and reading much more widely than I used to in my chosen category/genre. It's brilliant. I get to read outstanding stories, I constantly reaffirm how much I enjoy my category/genre, I support authors in it by attending their events and buying their books (and sometimes I make direct connections with them), and I learn something from almost every book that helps me refine my own writing. One recent book gave me ideas on how to handle dual POV that are directly applicable to my WIP. Another was notable for its outstanding voice and characterizations, yet another for its creation of a beautifully strange world that was both like our own and not.As you might suspect, having won one yourself, my favorite ploy for reducing inventory is running a flash fiction contest and sending books to the winner.
The only downside is that shelf space at home is growing tighter and tighter. I would be happy to give away some of these books, but I am mindful of not wanting to cannibalize sales of new books. Do you have favorite ways to pass books on to others that maximize the benefits for both authors and readers?
How do agents decide whether a book is right for their list? Some people tell me agents want books similar to those on their list, others tell me agents want books in the same genre but they should not be similar to any other books on their list. When querying, is it worth taking a look at an agent's list or should we be guided by genre alone?
Also, if I look through tweets with the #MSWL hash tag, I see rather specific requests with regard to plot, characters, setting and even the ethnic background of the writer. One could get the impression that agents look through the slush pile not just for good stories in the genre they represent, but for good stories containing specific traits. If that's true, where do they get the list of traits they want? Is it gut instinct? Opinion polls? Requests from editors and publishers? Has the market become so fractured that agents only represent books in certain genres possessing certain traits?
Your recent blog posts about manuscript requests and R&R’s spurred me into action to respond to a longstanding response to requested materials. Here is the timeline of our correspondence:
I queried with sample pages.
A week later she sent a very complimentary response enthusiastically requesting the full. I responded that day.
She sent an immediate response, thank you, she had it and would get back to me shortly.
Three months later I sent a nudge and asked if she wanted to see a version incorporating some revisions.
A month later she sent a reply, she was very sorry she hadn’t got to this, but still wanted to read it, please send the revision and she would get back soon. I responded that day.
Three months later I sent a nudge, only to learn that she had switched agencies. Ack!
Three months after that I sent a nudge.
A few days after that I had a happenstance twitter DM conversation with one of her authors. The author mentioned that she had asked her agent about my MS, and that the agent had been very excited to read it, but had been very busy (selling this authors book for one, and changing agencies.) The author suggested I contact the agent again after Christmas.
I sent an after Christmas nudge. The agent responded after a month. Yes the transition to the new agency had been chaotic. She still wanted to read my MS, but in the transition had lost access to the version I sent. Could I resend? I replied that day. (Also perhaps this was some indication that the agency shift had not been an entirely happy affair?)
Another three months, another nudge.
A month later, since I hadn’t heard back, I sent another nudge.
All in all this has been going on for almost a year now.
Her author loves her, and they have three book deals in two years. The agent is making good deals with major publishers, which I see as a great sign. She expressed a lot of enthusiasm on several occasions, thus I feel a sense of obligation to not just give up. But I also don’t want to be rude.
Q1 Should I continue to send nudges? If so, how often and how many before I give up?
Q2 I have maintained a twitter connection to her author and we have DM’d on several occasions. Should I discuss this with her via DM? If so, what should I say or ask?
Q3 The agent and I are mutual Twitter followers, so I could/should I break the rule and DM the agent on the assumption that my inquiries are getting lost in the junk-mail folder, and that she would want to know that she had lost track? I tried this one other time with an agent and it actually lead to a great conversation.
My hamster wheel is spinning full speed ahead, but the bearings are getting a little wobbly.
America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.
This is related to your post from the person who wants to self-pub/post his short stories as a way of gaining presence and followers. My question for you is, could this be done in a comparable way with excerpts from a novel that hasn’t been published yet? How much could be posted as a teaser without the book being considered published and, therefore, tainted goods for any self-respecting shark or agent?
"What did you think of breakfast?"Claire Bobrow
"You mean the goat-meal? It was baaaaad. You?"
"I'm on the fence."
Well, Nibbles, they didn't name me Barb for nothin'.Dena Pawling
I am horse. Here me roar!
You're a goat.
I am horse!
Horse, horse, HORSE, HOR-!
You win. You're hoarse.
[It took waaaay too long for my sleep-deprived brain to realize "royalty shenanigans" had nothing to do with the House of Windsor.]
Introducing the new Fencitarian Diet. Gluten-free, carb-free, and (eventually) goat free.
My name is Adam, and this is my friend Sandler. If you Google Sandler's goat song, you'll understand why we'd like to legally change our names to Baklava and Sandoval.And here are the finalists:
Laundry on the line or weeds in the pen. A feast in or out. No sheep in sight. No idiot boy to cry wolf. It's a good day to be a goat.
Bust a friend out and she will be free once.
Teach a friend to eat a fence and she will be free forever.
Read faster, that last story was delicious.Janice Grinyer
"When Susan’s vexatious kids finally showed up for lunch, she recognized her new neighbor wasn’t kidding about being a witch..."
“I don't take my fence chewing too seriously.”
“That's right. It's just business.”
“Uhh... wrong Wire.”
With my third novel (a thriller), after two weeks of querying, I have 10 agents reading my full manuscript, and 2 partials out.
Question 1: I know you've addressed this a couple of times on the blog, but if I get additional full requests, should I let them know ten other agents are reading? More recently you said a writer should only reveal that information if an agent asks, but in a previous post a few years ago "When to reveal you're popular," you said it was okay to tell an agent if they request a full. I want to know if I can mention this without coming across as rude.
Question 2: Before I sent the manuscript out the first time, I believed it was completely ready, but after reading it again several times, I've found a handful of errors (for example, peak instead of peek). These happen after page 100, and I know you've mentioned that this is unacceptable, but I'm wondering if an agent will stop reading if they encounter an error or two past page 100.
None of the agents have responded so far, and I know you advise sending a revised manuscript, but I can't help but feel like the agent will think I would make a bad client if I do. Or will think it's annoying. If the changes are a few typo fixes is it worth sending a revised copy? If I do, how do I phrase that email?
I’m the kind of guy who’s always been of the mindset that traditional publishing is the way to go. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had opportunities to speak with several indie authors and I love that they’re earning a living (far more of a living than I am with my day job) doing something they love. If I were any other kind of person I’d be jealous and rushing to join their ranks. Thankfully, patience is my middle name.
I’ve written and “trunked” three novels over the past four years for various reasons. I’ve had some short stories published, but nothing professional (i.e., no payment for the publishing). I’m currently working on (what I plan and hope to be) a series of novels I believe will not find themselves in the trunk. (In other words, I feel like I’m on the brink of some kind of success).
With this series, and more importantly the first book, I’m on the fence about whether to pursue self-publishing. For reasons stated here and here, I feel I want to continue with my die-hard pursuit of a traditional publishing contract. However, given all the buzz from the indie world (and some buzz from folks I’ve spoken with in the traditional world) I fully understand the need for an author to have an ability to promote and market his or her work, despite publishing options. With that in mind, I’ve been developing a website and working toward building an email list specifically to help with this promotion and marketing.
I realize this seems more a self-publishing tradition, but I assume (perhaps wrongly) that it wouldn’t hurt a traditionally published author to have a bit of a following. To help generate that following, I intend to offer short stories as a lead magnet to entice people to join my mailing list, etc. I’m also toying with the notion of self-publishing several other short stories and novellas to continue generating interest until (not if – fingers crossed) the first book is published.
Here's my question: given all the talk we’ve had about how bad self-publishing gives you baggage (and realizing that I would treat these short stories as professionally as I would a novel) would self-publishing shorts in this way be detrimental to a future traditionally published career? (i.e., I’m concerned about all the talk we have about sales figures from a previously self-published author with a second book being the “baggage” agents and publishers won’t want to touch.) I want to be proactive, but I’m also afraid (woodland creature)
My instinct tells me to be cautious, but it also says that shorts are a different animal than novels so I might be okay.
I would like to think that all my works have international reader-appeal, but I am originally from England, currently live in Australia and have two completed creative NF WW2 stories (a PB and an 8+/YA) that have English main characters, and a creative historical biography in progress that’s set in London. While they will be submitted to Australian publishers, I have a feeling that a UK publisher could well be most likely to make an offer. I also have five ‘normal’ picture book texts completed for any readership and one that is distinctively Australian. Would you advise attempting to partner with an Australian agent, one in the UK and one in the US? Do most US agents have co-agent partners in the UK for stories that will probably find a first home there, rather than for a sale of rights after initial release in America?
I am putting together a query plan, and one of the agents I'd like to query (because she has sold books similar to mine) has the following requirements:I'm sure you know my position on exclusives. They stink.
- she accepts queries by snail mail only (50 pages plus synopsis plus SASE)
- if she requests a full, her site says, "we require one-month exclusivity"
I am of course hoping that agents will swarm over this book like sharks over chum, so where do I put this agent in the plan? I'm leaning toward dead last so her exclusivity requirement doesn't cause me issues, but again there's that whole "has sold books like mine" thing. Plus she'll receive the query later than the e-query agents (which is all the rest) so perhaps I'll already have an agent by the time she contacts me. (Heh. I am hilarious.) But if not, if others have the full, what do I say to her? If I tell her others have it and then later tell her she can have the exclusive, that tells her nobody else wanted it. Which isn't information I necessarily want her to know.
I run a blog where I analyze books from a writing perspective to find a lesson, of sorts, for other writers. Mostly the posts show what a book did right, but occasionally they highlight where (I thought) the book went wrong. How careful do I need to be about highlighting negative aspects? I'm passionate about what I read, good or bad, and that (should) show in my writing. But I don't want to alienate a potential agent if I disliked a book they repped- especially since the main point of my posts isn't to review a story, but to learn from it.You're right to know this is squishy territory. I am very fond of my clients, and the books they write. However, I do not confuse that fondness with the idea that all the books they write are perfect.