Some Tweet-Qs, part 1

07Mar09

I put out a call for any questions from writers via Twitter and got some terrific ones with great applications for a wide variety of readers. If you’ve got one (of the general variety, I can’t help as much with very specific questions unique to your book), feel free to leave it in the comments–or Tweet it my way!

So: here we go with the first round!

Q: An agent recently told me that YA is reaching saturation point. Do you agree?

A: I definitely see where this agent was coming from. I still see room for growth there, but that’s also a reflection of my tastes and list. I think awareness of it as a viable writing option is growing/has grown by leaps and bounds, so there are more people lining up to take a crack at it–which means a project I, or another agent, could’ve felt very confident about placing two years ago may not feel as fresh or unique now–because we’ve read a lot in that time, and a lot has been published in that time.

Q: In this tough climate – are you finding it harder to sell debuts? Are houses more reluctant to take chances on an unproven author?

A: The opposite in fact. For novelists, it’s easier for me to sell a debut than it is to reup an author two or three books in with a rough sales track. A debut is a blank slate, all expectations and optimism; bad sell-through numbers are tougher to overcome (an agent who really believes in your work can help you do so), but the honest truth is that everyone’s still looking for that great debut.

That said, if you are writing nonfiction,this is not quite the same situation. We say it all the time but platform, platform, platform; “unproven” for nonfiction is not a synonym for a lack of platform.

Q: What is the #1 thing you look for when previewing a MS or query?

A: Me personally–voice. I’ll go along for any story if I like the teller. And in virtually every case, if you go back and look at my clients’ original emails to me–whether they were cold queries or following up on a referral–the voice is there, 100%.

Thanks to my Twitter-teers; more soon!

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3 Responses to “Some Tweet-Qs, part 1”

  1. Great answers, thanks.

    Going back the YA saturation–are you seeing anything in particular that there aren’t enough of? I’m sure that everyone is on the sparkly vampire bandwagon now–but what young readers are getting missed by the YA wave? Serious and dramatic? Contemporary? Fantasy? (please don’t say more Gossip Girls)

  2. 2 Pablo

    When an agent says they didn’t connect with the manuscript enough to offer representation what does that mean?

    I’ve had three agents pass on my full manuscript. They all said that the writing was strong but they didn’t connect with the manuscript enough to offer representation. Two asked to see future work.

    I sent my second novel to one of those agents, again he complimented my writing but said he didn’t connect enough with it to offer representation. I sent 30 pages of my second novel to the other agent who requested future work and he said I was a talented writer and was sure I’d find a home for my work but that this story was right for him.

    Should I keep sending queries out for my two novels or should I pull back and revise? I’m still getting a steady stream of requests but I don’t want to burn bridges with writing that isn’t ready.

  3. 3 Janet

    And where can we find you on Twitter?


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