Archive for the ‘lit agencies’ Category

again with the queries?

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009


yes. again.

If you read this blog because you are a newish writer, like myself, then this post is for you.  If you’ve been querying endlessly and never seem to get a bite, this post is for you as well.  If you are super-awesome queryman/woman then read this anyway and add your helpful comments.  The topic of queries will be on-going throughout the week and the more info available, the better.

A Twitter friend and I were jabbering about the difficulty of condensing her 90,000+ word novel into two hundred much-too-short, must-be-stunning words.  The conversation eventually devolved to us writing “Dear Agent” letters–what is in on the surface of our hearts or pretty much for me, what I thought was funny.

7:56 PM Me: dear agent, please read my least ask for a partial so i wont cry myself to sleep. thank you.
p.s. you don’t have to read it really. just pretend.

7:57 PM My Twitter Friend: Dear Agent, You will be blessed with good luck and be able to sleep with a clear conscious if you read my novel. P.S. Ignore the stalker type chick following you. Really…she won’t hurt you.

7:59 PM Me: dear agent, my husband wants me to get a real job. help!

My Twitter Friend: Dear Agent, Don’t you want the warm fuzzy feeling that comes with helping someone like me?
MTF is so sweet, isn’t she?  Of course an agent would be appalled by these appeals.
K, back to business.

Excellent Links –-

Written by agents (these are the people who actually read the queries, so it’s a good idea to listen to what they have to say):

Rants & Ramblings On Life as a Literary Agent by Rachelle Gardner

Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent

If you learn better by seeing actual query letters torn apart by an agent try: Query Shark by Janet Reid

More visual learning can be found at Upstart Crow’s site

Query basics from

These are the best I’ve found.  What have you seen?

spotlight: aq connect

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009


Agent Query Connect is a website billed as “the internet’s most interactive social networking community for the publishing industry”.  I don’t know for a fact that it’s the MOST interactive blah blah…but it is very helpful indeed.  And best of all, IT’S FREE.

My favorite groups:

AQ Connect – Query Critique Corner- when you put your query up here people from all over will swoop in to give you advice.  Some of it is very helpful and some of it requires a thick skin.  But if you didn’t have a thick skin you wouldn’t be putting your writing out for all to see…right?  Take it with a grain of salt.  Use what sounds right for you and matches what the helpful literary agents say they want in a query.  Remember, some of the people commenting are just as novice as you, so don’t take everything to heart.  (Oh, and paste your query into the body of your discussion.  Many people don’t want to open attachments for obvious reasons.)

First Page Critique – Put your first page up and see how many people would like to keep reading.

First Chapter(s) Critique - Same as above, only you have slightly longer to hook a reader.

The five most popular groups:

AQ Connect – Query Critique Corner

First Page Critique

AQ Connect – Agent Updates

First Chapter(s) Critique

AQ Connect – New Member Shout-Out!

I spent quite a bit of time last week on AQ Connect polishing my query which was so covered in soot, it was really hard to know it was a query at all.  In other words, I learned a whole heckuva lot about query writing.  This is not to say that I’m an expert or that I can’t learn any more.  I’ve lived long enough to know that you never know everything about even one subject.  More on queries later this week…

fifteen for friday

Friday, September 4th, 2009

flu-like symptoms and super tweet edition

1. Ah, fever…chills how I hate thee.

2. What Ann Curry tweeted earlier: Here we go. Last week of August flu cases rose sharply. H1N1 is believed to be most of those cases. Wash your hands.”

3. Been working on my query all day for  this contest…

4. Another embarrassing video.  I love to humiliate myself…why?

5. Thanks to Jolyn Palliata for letting me beta read her awesome novel, Amber Eyes…watch out for this one.

6. Um, Danae (pronounced Dani) Ayusso is one of the most interesting people I have ever “met”.  She can write 10,000 words, send out 75 query letters–twitter and email all in ONE day…not kidding.  And she just got a request for a full!  Way to go Danae!

7. @johannaharness wants everyone to take a pic of their workspaces and tweet to #amwriting, she was so nice to say something positive about mine.

8. Am I trying to be the queen of links?  No, but you can call me the princess if you want.

9. OMK (kittens) I haven’t read a published book all week…weird.

10. Gonna remedy that with my 40% off coupon to Borders!

11. Not adding pics today…so sorry.

12. My oldest caught the video bug and started filming a 6 min. video for each of our pets.  They are surprisingly funny.

13. The animals aren’t as funny as my son’s comments.

14. What I want to read ASAP: The Hunger Games

15. Comment people–I get lonely. :)

fifteen for friday 8/28/09

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Here it is!  The much awaited return of fifteen for friday!

first day of school09 0021.  School is in.

first day of school09 0042.  Yesterday I noticed three blooms on my flower.  Normally it only has two, and when I see another about to bloom I know that one flower will fall off before it gets a chance to open.  This is the first time there have been three blooms all at once actually attached to the plant.  I was pondering the reason why this made me so happy.  It has to be that it was unexpected and it involved a pretty lilac colored flower that has a perfect yellow circle in the middle.

3.  A BIG thank you to Jodi, Coy and Amy this week for reading and giving me invaluable feedback.  You guys are great!!!

4. Fun site of the week -

5.  As You Wish came out this week.  Don’t forget to pick up a copy.

6.  Finally read Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen.  I’m noticing that I like her books almost in copyright date order, favorites being the newest.  In other words, I really didn’t like Keeping the Moon so much.  But I’m looking forward to Along for the Ride, the only one I haven’t read yet and her newest.

first day of school09 0067.  The forget-me-nots have grown, but why aren’t they flowering?

8.  I feel like I’m forgetting something.

9.  Good Girls by Laura Ruby –Wow, very modern.  I guess kids these days are having to deal with the issues covered in this book–everything you do can be photographed and sent to everyone you know–yikes.

10.  the sweet, terrible, glorious year i truly, completely lost it by Lisa Shanahan–I really liked this book especially following the heaviness of Good Girls…not that the sweet… isn’t heavy in its own way.  But it has a lot of very funny moments and some outrageous ones.  Gemma’s older sister is getting married and decides her theme will be animals who mate for life.  Sis dresses Gemma up as a SWAN for her flower girl outfit.  The story is set in Australia and has a few quirky words and phrases, but it’s all very followable.  I was a little confused about “the tip” which I could only surmise was a piece of undesirable land that smelled awful.

11.  Girl in Development by Jordan Roter made me realize that the way I tend to write (casual writing, mind you) in “valley girl” may not be the best idea.  Yeah, it’s cute for a little while, but it’s looking more and more immature when I read it from someone else.  I was excited about this book and picked it up because of the blurbs on the back.  It was an okay read.

12.  The three books I picked up at the library all had a copyright date of 2006.  Is that weird or what?

13.  When will I wise up and make it FIVE for Friday?

14.  Random thought (I told you this might happen…no, I did…back in the beginning) is dim sum the same thing as dumplings and pot stickers?  I could look that up, I know…just killing numbers here.

15.  Could someone please please publish me please?! Thanks.

11 things not to do when starting a writing career

Thursday, August 6th, 2009
  1. For fiction, a good idea is gold.  So make sure you start querying any and every literary agent you can get your cursor over, even the ones that only work with non-fiction books…heck, go for it and query other types of agents too…you never know.  Whatever you do, don’t actually have anything written yet; you’ll just have to rewrite it all later anyway.
  2. Proper punctuation and spelling are for English teachers.  Those squiggly lines under your words on the computer?  They’re for decoration.
  3. Can’t type?  No prob.  Pencil written manuscripts are perfectly fine to send in.  That coffee stain?  Don’t worry about it.  You are an artiste; you have grander things to think about than neatness.
  4. Do not follow the query writing / submission guidelines.  Your way is MUCH better.
  5. Rejection letters are a personal assault on your sensibilities.  Any agent who turns you down is a drooling dope and everyone deserves to know it.  Call, email, blog, and twitter about the injustice that has been done to you and the unsavory traits of the person who offended you.
  6. As soon as you send a query, and especially if you’ve been asked to send a manuscript, call the agent DAILY to check up on the status.  When they start to get a little firm with you that just means you’ve got their attention!  When they threaten to call the police, only then is it time to stop calling.
  7. If you have the good fortune to attend a writer’s conference, zoom in on your dream agent and never leave her side.  Share personal stories, the more intimate the better.  Make her think you’ve been best friends for ages.
  8. Make sure you start a blog that thrashes the publishing industry completely.  Tweet your links to the nation and sit back while you single-handedly revolutionize every negative thing about it.  It may hurt now, but they will thank you later.  There might even be a statue in your future.
  9. On your shiny blog, don’t forget to list out the crappy authors who somehow, by some crazy twist of fate, became published before you.  Make sure to tell the reasons why their writing sucks too.  Everyone can use some constructive criticism.

10.  When you finally have an agent (this should take 1-2 months-tops) DO NOT BUDGE on anything.  Take all you can get, but give as little back as you can.  Rewrites, schmewrites.  Oh, and don’t forget, these are big city folk, they only respond to rudeness.

11.  Do not ever try to help any other writer on their road to publication.  They are the competition, never forget that.  If you have the opportunity to sabotage them -do it.

hodge podge

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

I usually reserve my stream of consciousness posts for my fifteen for friday…but hey, it’s my blog I can break a rule every now and then.  Plus, there’s the fact that 3 boys, one of which I did not give birth to are shooting each other with Nerf guns all over the house.  It’s a good thing all our good stuff was broken long ago.  But still, it’s a little distracting for a deep meaningful post.  Yeah, yeah, I know I haven’t made a deep and meaningful post yet, but someday I will and I probably wont have suction cup-tipped bullets whizzing by my head when I do.

stopvoldeysign, does that mean that he's the only one who has to stop at this intersection? Cool.

I have a memory like a sieve.  If it is to be remembered by me, it must be written, or at least repeated many many times.  I’ve always been loudly in awe of anyone who can spew meaningful quotes at any given moment.  Quote Shakespeare and I will follow you into the depths, well not really.  But it is a gift that I wish I had.  I mention this short coming because, like many people, my best ideas materialize out of thin air while I’m in the shower.  What is it about the shower?  Anyway, I find that in order to remember the grand ideas I have, I have to repeat them over and over and over until the time that I can dry off and write them down.  I wonder how many ideas I miss while I’m remembering the one?annie

So anyway, I have this grand idea for a book…boy, I’m fickle.  I haven’t even finished my short story (although it’s turning more and more into a long one) and here I am excited about the next thing…and I haven’t gotten an agent on my first manu. yet.  Yet, there is always hope.  Sea Rose will get representation and will be sold.  Someday!  K, everyone join in…Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya tomorrow, you’re only a day away!

My site may be changing a little bit.  I tell you this so that you will not think that you are losing your mind, because that’s where I would go if I saw small things changing little by little on a much frequented site.  And this is a much frequented site, right?  right?  There may be subtle changes, and there may be larger ones as well.  And it may take a while ’cause my trustworthy husband/IT department is wayyyyyyy too busy to assist.  So I get to venture into blog tweaking territory all on my own.

Crud, I gotta go.  I think the boys are trying to figure out how to waterboard each other.

a week in the Life

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

I’m set up on twitter and I got a new follower this week, Sterling House Publications. I’m sure they did some sort of complicated search to find out who wants to be published…still it was an interesting thing to have happen.

Rejection number two faced me as I opened my email this morning. I love the feeling I get when I’m just about to open a reply to a query and there’s this excitement at the possibility that I could be picked up. Then I read it, and mild disappointment hits. And it is very mild, I’m not sure why…I’ve never really taken rejection from strangers all that hard. I guess it could be that the rejections are just so gosh darn nice….see the example below…


Dear Ms. Parker,

Many thanks for your email regarding your novel SEA ROSE, which I am declining with my regrets.

Given the demands of running a boutique agency and continuing to best represent my current clients, I must make difficult decisions every day regarding what new projects I can sign. I appreciate your thinking of me, and wish you the best of luck in your search for representation.


Kate Schafer Testerman