Loads of times last year, and several times this year I’ve encountered a bit of a problem in my query email. I would request a full and days later the authors would come back with offers from small presses. Which is fine. Wooohoo! Offers! But I have to drop everything and read quickly, then the author normally doesn’t want to ‘risk’ the deal to go on a long sub. So as an agent I”m stuck and I have to turn down the MS.
I’ve often wondered why authors submit to presses and agents simultaneously. It seems to be two career paths. Having a vibrant small/medium press career is nothing to scoff at, but I think the author has to choose what they want for each MS.
I get behind in my box trying to keep up with all of these. I try to read each MS in the order they are received. Yeah, stuff happens! Other agents offer and one has to be bumped up and other things like that, but adding in the I have an offer for publication makes it more complicated. Because as I stated before the author generally wants you to negotiate this contract for them instead of subbing the MS.
From this point forward I will bow out of any race that would require me to drop everything only to be the negotiator of a contract. If you are submitting to presses while querying I am probably not the agent for you. I have to think of my time management and how I want to sign authors and racing against a contract on short submissions or no submission at all is not for me.
Six months ago I was saying New Adult would ever happen. Not because I didn’t want it to happen but because things move at a snail’s pace in publishing. Plus, I think the name is stupid.
But authors who had these stories and couldn’t get representation took to self publishing and made amazing leaps and bounds with their sales numbers. They proved that there is definitely a market for these books. They made it possible for me, as an agent, to ask for these books to consider for representation.
When your kids are nine you buy them books about twelve year olds. Your twelve year olds read books about sixteen year olds. The kids want to know what happens next. I’m in grade school, what happens in middle school. I’m in middle school, what happens in high school?
Why is ‘I’m in high school, what happens in college?’ not a natural progression?
I think this category is going to thrive, with or without there being a special shelves or sections at bookstores.
I was an intern. For four years I interned at two Bay Area agencies. I answered mail, e-mail, sent form rejections, read manuscripts, wrote pitches, and even sent some clients out on submission. You probably don’t remember any of that, and that is because I never talked about it. The first rule of interning has always been that you never talk about interning. It goes on your resume, not social media.
I have my own awesome intern. A lot of agencies keep their intern identities secret but I (and I was allowed at Kimberly Cameron) allow John to say that he does things for me. What John and I don’t do is say exactly what he does for me (besides making me coffee, which he can’t do but I would totally dig that).
Recently I’ve been seeing interns crop up on Twitter doing #askagent, #pubtips, and #tenqueries. I would have been fired for doing this and rightly so. Even while I was an assistant agent I didn’t dare. I didn’t know enough about what I was talking about to give really well thought out answers. I still at times refer to other agents before answering a question.
Writers, interns are not gatekeepers to get to the agent. Most agents, regardless of whether their interns know or not, check in on their own stuff. Most agents do not want their interns giving you advice. And interns are not cooler than anyone else, nor do they need to be put up on a pedestal.
As Lady Grantham would say, these youngsters should stop giving themselves airs.
The point of this entire ramble is this: make sure you are getting advice from a reputable source who has spent time in the trenches and has moved up to work as an agent.
Guys. I almost forgot (ok I did forget) my five year blogging anniversary. It has been an AMAZING five years. From my very first spoiler filled review, to my new job, I have shared it all with you. Now, like always on my blog birthday I want to give back.
Leave me a comment about how you found this blog, met me, or any other anecdote about these past five years of bookish abandon and win the books picture below. Contest ends the 11th at midnight.
I’ve been thinking a lot over these past few months about gender and books. When the SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF OUR BOY CHILDREN cry began about two years ago for a second I was thought, oh my gosh, I don’t read anything where the MC has a penis! The immediately I realized, wait, why can’t the people with penises read about people with vaginas? It works the other way around and no one cares.
At what point did reading become something we can call masculine or feminine? Then I wondered how many men read Jane Austen… not that many. “She is too fond of books and it has addled her brain.” Men had to read about war, and history, and Greek myth. Novels were for people with lady parts who observed the holy rite of tea time and wore kid gloves.
I went into Toys R Us this holiday season with my daughter so that she could get her friend a toy for her birthday. The first thing I noticed were the stark sides to the store. Pink on one side and clearly labeled as GIRL and the other side a polar opposite in blue and labeled BOY. The problem came when my daughter realized the Spiderman Web Shooter her girlfriend wanted was a boy toy, she wanted to buy her a nice doll instead. So I wondered, how did my daughter come to think like that? School, where your child will learn every societal thing you never wanted them to learn. YAY HIGHER EDUCATION. We bought the web shooter, and on the way out we stopped by the GIRL side with my toddler son who loves Tinkerbell and got him a little something as well.
My plea is near to yours. Just take the BOY out. SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN! Take them out of this girl vs boy mentality. Let boys read about girls like Katniss having amazing adventures and being strong without telling him he is feminine. Start earlier! If your little boy wants to read Pinkalicious, then let him. I certainly do and my toddler son (who also likes to have his nails painted the color of his favorite cars) is perfectly well adjusted.
Boy books are boy books because we say they are. Girl books are girl books because we say they are and for some reason being a girl book is LESS THAN.
Dear Parents, just STFU and let your kids read.