Donald Maass Literary Agency
Literary Agent @MaassLitAgency . Author. SCREAMS FROM THE VOID out now. Opinions & sarcasm my own.
Sophie Bradley @5235Bradleys@AnneTibbets Hi! Thanks for doing this :) Would you be okay with someone submitting a query to you again (as in, queried more than six months ago, and query package has been significantly revised) or is that always a no-go? Question 2: what’s your favorite thing about being a lit agent? ☺️
Q1: It depends on why I passed which should be noted in my pass email. If I passed because of the concept, and that remains the same - then don't re-query. However, if I passed because the writing needed work and it's been revised, then yes.
Q2: My clients.
Aisling Door is querying @AislingDoor@AnneTibbets In case you’re still answering, I have a pretty good grasp on querying agents but am realizing I have no concept of what happens after. I are editors tied to publishers?
Apologies if this is too long to answer here.
Your agent will then submit you to editors, who work for imprints in publishing houses. The editors will read and pass for the entire imprint, but not the entire publishing company, or they will offer and your agent will negotiate the deal for you. In a nutshell.
Ryan F. Love @rlove327@AnneTibbets Is publication of a small portion of a novel in a lit journal a positive when querying (as a sign of quality and market) or a deterring complication? Thank you :)
As long as you retain copyright of the work, this should not work against you. This should be considered a plus.
Kevin Denelsbeck @NerdySeahorse@AnneTibbets Do you take queries strictly in order, or do you scan the list for recognizable names, perhaps followers/follows from social media, and give them an informal precedence?
I take them in order.
Rebecca Minelga @RebeccaMinelga@AnneTibbets @deana_kay_2013 Don’t know if you’re still on here doing this, but how much (if at all) is editor interest in a story a selling point in a query? Like “so and so at such and such is interested in this once agented,” or just let the query stand for itself? Thanks!
I'd put it in the query for sure! It might not make ALL the difference, but it may make some.
Dark Southern Land @southern_dark@AnneTibbets If you request pages/full and ultimately reject - what is the most likely reason? Not polished enough? Story ultimately didn't grab you? Dumpster fire ending?
Sometimes the MS starts out great and then kinda falls apart or I've lost interest while reading it. Or, I've researched editors and pub houses and realized the MS isn't as hot a commodity as I'd hoped. Or, the author is a jerk on social media. Many reasons.
Michael Owl @MICHAELHHARRIS@AnneTibbets Thanks 4 this. Graduating next week MFA. Have a 10 min zoom call with an agent. They'll have my bio and synopsis. What should I ask them? I have a basic understanding of the business & will have researched them. wip is a literary amateur detective. / coming of age story.
Ask them for recommendations on if they feel the manuscript is ready for querying, and if so, what agents and/or agencies would this agent recommend you query. Ask anything you can do to make the manuscript more marketable. Ask about timelines and what are realistic expectations.
Sarah M. Anderson @SarahMAnderson1@AnneTibbets I'm working on a YA contemp ghost story and heard recently that contemp word counts went down. Can you give me an approx range I should be aiming for? I'm naturally wordy and was already struggling to keep it under 100K!
YA Contemp at 100k is a bit much. I'd keep it around the 75k or less marker, if you want my honest opinion. You might be able to get away with 85k if it's supernatural?? But 100k? Ooof. That's going to be a tough sell.
Atifa @atifalikeathena@AnneTibbets @TCWestminster How often (if at all) do agents refer queries to a diff agent if they think it’s better fit for them?
It does happen! We've got a company chat group where we toss up the query we like but can't rep for one reason or another, and the other agents tag it if they want a referral.
It's not daily, but it does happen.
Christopher Buecheler @cwbuecheler@AnneTibbets Is the market starting to open back up a bit? I know things were backlogged due to COVID, which slowed down both reading requested material and actually requesting material for a lot of agents. Is that loosening at all?
Still moving like molasses.
Deana @deana_kay_2013@AnneTibbets Do you prefer to sign clients with manuscripts that are basically sub ready? Or will you still sign someone if the MS needs more work but you love the premise?
I've signed clients both ways.
I'd have to say, now, if I think the MS needs more work, I'm more inclined to offer a Revise and Resubmit first, before offering rep, to see how the writer handles revisions.
Carolyn? In this economy? @CarolynKWrites@AnneTibbets I'm very new, so sorry if this is an obvious question: should you look for beta readers before or after you send your manuscript to an editor?
I'd say before.
Get out all the kinks and smooth out as much as you can before sending it to editors, be them freelance or from a pub house. A great beta reader can make ALL THE DIFFERENCE. They're seriously worth gold if you've got a good one.
Treat them well.
Nicole is querying The Amulet of Amun @nmainardiauthor@AnneTibbets I’ll ask another, since I’m here: do you know what you’ll be looking for when you open back up (mine is unfortunately out of the running since it does have N*zis, like the Indiana Jones kind, but I’m sure others are wondering!)
Specifically I'll be looking for:
Mystery: especially Police Procedural
Thrillers: all kinds
Women's Historical: sweeping/romantic, supernatural twist OK: think Susanna Kearsley/Kate Morton
Science Fiction/Fantasy: unique trope twists and compelling emotional arcs
Nicole is querying The Amulet of Amun @nmainardiauthor@AnneTibbets What’s something in a query that makes you auto-reject? *Sorry if you’ve answered this one before*
Even if I have, it's not your fault you didn't see my answer!
Flirting in query.
Violence against women as plot devices.
Nazis of any kind. Hate em. Don't care.
Bashing on other books in a query.
Marie Lestrange @LestrangeBooks@AnneTibbets I’ve got a straggler question if you’ve got the time!
Trigger warnings. Should we include them in a query for Adult Horror?
Although TWs are not mandatory, I know they are appreciated.
Lily Mehallick she/her @LilyMehallick@AnneTibbets If you’re still answering questions, I was wondering how you prefer scene breaks? Paragraph line, hashtag, stars, etc.
An extra line at the very least
Patrick Brettell @PatchBrettell@AnneTibbets Hope it's not too late: On your query form, you ask for the sub's favorite books in the genre in which they're submitting. You're the only agent I've seen w/ that, and I was wondering, what was the purpose? (I liked answering it but didn't think my sub related to those I listed.)
I like to see if the writer is well read (or even somewhat "read") in their category and genre.
kate rowan is querying! @katerowanwrites@AnneTibbets because querymanager has a separate bio box, should authors omit a bio paragraph from the "query letter" box?
I've seen authors leave it in, and I've seen authors leave it out...either is fine.
If I had my way a short bio would be in the query, and a more detailed one would be in the separate bio box.
But this isn't a deal breaker. Just a suggestion.
Maya Darjani, Pitch Wars ready @DarjaniMaya@AnneTibbets Is it obnoxious to nudge an agent or pub on a full if an acceptable amount of time has passed (6+m) but you also can tell from things like query tracker that they're working on making a dent in their pile so haven't forgotten you?
I don't think nudges are obnoxious if it's 6+m as long as you're professional.
Annemarie DeClark @AuthorDeClark@AnneTibbets When writers query you, do you prefer them to compare their work to other titles or to other authors in the same genre?
Never really considered this, but actually, I think I prefer comparative to other authors.
...might change my query form based on this question.
P.S. This is a persona preference, and honestly, either will suffice.