Wednesday, February 28, 2007

How Can You Judge My Novel by My Query?

In additon to writing these last two posts (and having Jenny Rappaport, my fellow agent, do the same over at her blog, for our new intern, I also wrote these posts as the long answer to the inevitable writer's conference question, "How can you tell if you like my book if you only read the query." I am hoping that by sharing these long personal diatribes about what goes into our decision to read something and, perhaps, take it and/or the writer on, you'll understand that most of the time it really is a case of "it's not you, it's me." The short answer to this question that I often give at writer's conferences is that I've been doing this for a long time and I really know what I like and what I do well.

Now, in the same way I told you so much about who I am and what I like, and why, I also try, over the years, to get to know my authors as well as they know me, so that when we brainstorm for book ideas, we are on the same page and I can sell their work well. I know that every agent doesn't work this way, but my representation is really a collaborative effort. I see us as partners for the long haul. I am really not interested in doing just one book, even if it will make me a lot of money.


Anonymous said...

I've been trying to read your blog for several weeks now. Great information--horrible color palette. My eyes, they burn!

In an early comment, you mentioned that you really like purple. May I humbly suggest that you try #eeccff or #eeddff for the background color?

Tyhitia Green said...

Do most of your writers come to you with story ideas when you sign them, or do you help them think of ideas as they progress in their careers?

I have several ideas to last me for years and years to come. I think of novel, short story, and screenplay ideas all the time. Most I keep, some I throw away.

Anonymous said...

So subjective is exactly what it means!! Thank you for these posts.

DanStrohschein said...

What about the other query letter boo-boos - if the basic mechanics in the query letter are wrong, most likely the novel is too. If the writer bounces all over the place or mis-classify their novel, they don't know their work well enough. If they didn't follow the submission guidelines, they can't take direction. Doesn't this also factor in to eliminate some queries right off the bat?