Monday, November 22, 2010

Open Forum

For the life of me, I can't seem to think up a new blog post.

So I'll let YOU do it.

Post your questions below and I'll either make a blog post of it, or I'll answer it flat out in the comments section. Win win!

Oh, right...but only the first...20 posts! Go!


  1. I'm curious about the timeline on a debut novel that's in the first rounds of revision with a newly signed client. As an agent, do you typically shoot for a certain word count per week?

    Also, when your working with a new author on a second or third book, what's your timeline on getting that new book? Again, do you try to get the author to send a certain word count per week or do you wait until they've written a set number of chapters?

    One last question. Do you think paranormal romance will still be popular in five years? Maybe something with a fresh look on a topic that is totally new or so old it will seem new?

    Thanks for the open forum!

  2. Any advice/wisdom/enlightenment on how to determine a story's genre? This area really gets me more confused than anything else.

  3. Hi -- I enjoy your blog. Can you talk about historical fiction in the children's/middle grade market? I've heard this genre is very slow right now. Can a new author debut in this genre? More generally, do you think it's worthwhile for a writer to invest time in a project when the genre is supposedly "not selling"? I value your opinion because I know you've sold historical.

  4. Along the lines of what Michelle Merrill asked, I'm curious about the process involved once an author has been signed-more specifically, about what happens after an author's first book.

    Since a signed author already has an agent, he or she would not need to send out a query letter for subsequent books. Do these books, however, need to be approved by the agent? And how does this work? Would a signed author tell his/her agent an idea for the next book before the writing process even begins, once there is an outline, once the book is written, etc?

    Also, I'm a big fan of fairy tales/fairy tale spin-offs, and I saw that you too are a fan! So I was just wondering what your favorite fairy tale is. :-)

    Thanks for any response!

  5. What's the best thing to do if one queries you, and gets a request from office assistant T who has since begun taking on her own clients, and you're not sure your full was received (because you mailed it from another country), so you resend via email (as the agency has now gone to email), but you're still not sure it's been seen yet? Wait a month and then ask/nudge?

  6. Hi, Natalie!

    We've been discussing this over on my blog--some bleeps recently were approached by agents who'd read samples of their writing on their blogs. (Like they got full MS requests from samples.)

    We were wondering:
    #1-how common is this? (agents trolling blogs/reading writing samples)
    #2-are there any dangers? (self publishing concerns, etc.)
    #3-any advice here? (if we do this, what should we post? First 250? The most exciting part?)

    Thanks so much! And have a super Thanksgiving~ :o)

  7. How important is a blog following for a fiction writer? Are blogs really seen as credible, or do you roll your eyes when someone says, "I blog!"

  8. I know most agents hate the trend question, but are editors buzzing about any genre in particular right now? Something that they're just dying to have?

  9. If an agent gives feedback (but ultimately passes) on a partial or full, is it all right to requery them after making major changes? And, after making major changes, is it okay to requery other agents who passed on the query and sample pages alone?

    Thanks so much!

  10. What, in particular, are you looking for in your historical romance submissions? Is there a particular time period or periods you especially enjoy? Thanks!

  11. What are your favorite books right now in the young adult, middle grade and picture book genres? Just in general, not necessarily your own clients'

  12. What would you like to see in your slushpile right now?

  13. Do you ever get the impression that some writers look at publication a little like winning the lottery, in that they think it's not as much about skill and craft, but more about the luck of the draw?

  14. I hate to ask another question, but this new one came to mind last night after I already submitted my post.

    At writeoncon you mentioned that you like princess stories. What is your favorite thing about them?

  15. If you like something about the story (voice, characters, etc), will you request a revise and re-submit or just pass? Also how long will you wait on said revision before moving on?

  16. Hi Natalie,
    Discovered your blog via twitter. Thanks for columns on perseverance.
    Back to point: Will you address how much a writer should post of their work on blogs, writing sites (i.e. Author's Den), and the like? As well as how it may, or may not, affect future publication through agents; and any other issues it might cause?
    Thanks for your time. Wishing you an abundant Thanksgiving.

  17. Hi when you are successfully querying an agent, do you have to tell them what pub houses you are targeting with that manuscript or do they just look at it and think this will be good for Simon &Schuster or Harlequin?

  18. An agent says "I am not taking any more new writers at the present time." Is it the correct thing to write and ask them if they could let you know when they are going to take new clients because (a) you really want to be represented by them and (b) this is what you have to offer? Is this considered rude, too pushy, an indication that you do not listen to advice or just that you are determined to try?

  19. Mine is a multi-part question (aka several questions secretly disguised as one):

    What do you think is the most important thing for fairy tale writers to know about the market? Is it different for writers of original fairy tales than for retellings/reimaginings/reperspectivisms?

    How do you feel about made-up words like reperspectivisms?

    I just saw a news story that said Disney is off of princesses after Tangled for the foreseeable future. Are princesses going out of style or are they timeless like vampires?


  20. Thanks for opening up for questions--I'm looking forward to seeing the answers to lots of these!

    My question is about how you work with clients on second/third/later books. Do you look at their ideas together and choose a project, or brainstorm? Do you advise on what might work best for them or the market?

  21. Hi, Natalie. Not sure if I'm number 21 because the same posters may ahve had more than one post. I'm curious, too, about how much of my book I can post on my blog. I'm also curious about word count, in general. What is a typical minimum word count thwt an agent will accept for a MG and for a YA novel?

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  23. Lol, cute pics! I can't wait to see how you answer the above questions (now you have 20 posts to help guide your bloggie mind!)


    Happy Thanksgiving!

    ~Elizabeth :)

  24. Hi Natalie, I am curious about what makes an agent decide whether to ask for a partial or the complete manuscript. Is the agent guided by a gut feeling that this manuscript will be a brilliant one, is it a killer synopsis, or does the writer's credentials come into focus?.

    How do you go about deciding that?

  25. Hi Rachna,

    I'm closed to the questions, but check out this post for my answer on the top three things I look for in a submission and what determines if it becomes a pass!