Tracy WANTS A NAP Marchini
Jillian @jmacknzie@TracyMarchini Great post, thanks for sharing! Question- for pbs- what’s the “Harry Potter” equivalent? I feel like I can think of so many fantastic and super popular picture books that then I start to wonder- are these all off limits as comps? Curious for your thoughts- thx!!
Ty! With picture books, your best bet would be to avoid series and/or licensed characters as comps and try to find stand-alones - or say something like, "the x of :this well pub'd author: with the y of :this one:" #askagent #picturebooks
Jessica Faust @BookEndsJessica@boop1967 Since you’re asking specifically about #YA & #MG I’m going to pass this to @TracyMarchini & @SoCalledYALife from @bookendslit Jr. They’ll be able to answer better. Good luck! #askagent
The 1990s are definitely historical fiction, though some might feel that the early 2000s are, too. The grey area that I would avoid is the last ten years. 2008-2018 would be too late to be contemporary and too soon to be historical. #askagent
Tamara Rittershaus @TRittershaus@bookendslit #askagent As a PB writer, most guidelines ask for the full manuscript, so I never get a "request for full" or any other indicator that I'm on the right track. Is it ever appropriate to respond to a form rejection and ask, "Was my MS even close?"
Unfortunately, agents just don't have time to give individualized feedback. (I receive about 3,000 queries a year, other agents receive more.) The best people to ask if your manuscript is marketable is your critique group, a writing class, or a crit partner, etc. #askagent
NosferSCOTTu @scorhoLast night's #mglitchat was about short stories. What's the market like for MG short story collections? #askagent
Tamara Rittershaus @TRittershausAfter Jeff Bezos' $2bil pledge for new Montessori preschools, are agents/publishers looking for what books Montessorians want in their classrooms? Would mentioning my Montessori background and this recent headline benefit my query letter? @bookendslit #askagent
If you're writing for children, it's always a benefit to mention in your query if you are a teacher, children's librarian, etc. So yes to your background, but I don't know that the news item would really change anything. #askbookendsjr #askagent
MJ @MJWheelerNU#AskAgent if someone had custom concept art for a MS pinned to their twitter or other social media, do you enjoy looking at it? Does it add anything to your experience when considering a MS?
Angie Hawkins @th_littlebirdie#AskAgent I have seen announcement deals that say things like "acquired...in a 3 book deal." Are these follow-up books already written? Are they pitched to publishers together? Just wondering how these multiple book deals come about. *This question pertains to pb's
These books are not usually written in advance, and with picture books they might be completely unrelated to the 1st. The additional books are negotiated/offered with the initial offer as a way for pub to commit to that author over more than one book. #askagent #askbookendsjr
Picture Book PI @book_piMay I query one of your agents with two totally different projects at the same time? Or should I send one project and wait for a response before sending the other? #askagent #askbookendsjr
You should only query one agent at the same agency at a time, even if they're different projects. You can't have two agents, and we're more likely to pass than to fight with our colleagues. #askagent #askbookendjr
Tianna Mignogna @queerwitchesI’ve heard varying answers; is it ever okay to resubmit the same ms to an agency after extensive revising? It’s been 3 yrs since my last query and I’ve super revamped. #AskBookEndsJr
Every agent or agency is going to feel differently about this. I think three years and an extensive revision is fine to requery - and any way, the worst that can happen is a pass. (Which happens anyway if you don't requery!) #askagent #askbookendsjr
🎃 Becky Shillington 🍂 @BeckyShillingtn#AskBookEndsJr Are early chapter books with boy main characters selling right now? I know chapter books in general can be a hard sell... #askagent #picturebooks
Amy The Headless Hillman 🍂 @ArHillman#askbookendsjr #askagent
I'm working on/researching a nf pb idea with series potential. Should I write just a proposal? the first book? or the first couple before querying?
For a nonfiction picturebook, just write the first manuscript. It's extremely unlikely that you'd be able to sell a debut pb on proposal, and you wouldn't want to invest time in writing follow ups if the first doesn't sell. #askagent #askbookendsjr
Anna Lissiman @AnnaLissiman#AskAgent + #AskBookEnds How should one specifically resolve problems w/ a ms if feedback suggests the agent cannot connect with a mc? It's a vague question, perhaps - are there good articles we can reference? ((Feel like I'm over-thinking this))
This might be a personal/subjective thing, but it might also mean the character needs more development. If they come on really strong, do we also see their vulnerabilities? Do we understand the motivations for why they do what they do? etc. #askagent #askbookends #askbookendsjr
Marc Poliquin @Marc_Writes@bookendslit I’ve heard that, these days, slice of life picture books are harder sells than PBs with more traditional narratives. Any truth to that? Would it be advisable to try and sell a more traditionally structured book first if you’re an unpublished writer? #AskBookEndsJr #Askagent
I think slice of life are (and have been) more difficult for a while now, so as a debut if you do write both character-driven narratives and slice-of-lifes, I probably would start with the character-driven book! #AskAgent #askbookendsjr #picturebooks
Most of the fiction pbs I've sold as an agent are around 450 words, and they're all the standard 32 pages. But, at the same time, you have to tell the story with the words you need. It's just that in picture books, *every* word has to be the *right* word.
I'm not hating on PLP specifically, but if you submitted that as a debut picture book today, it would be rejected. Today's picture book fiction sweet spot is around 300 - 500 words. There's always exceptions, but they are rare. (CHICKEN WANTS A NAP is 165, over 24 pages)
But yes - the trend in publishing has been towards shorter picture books. If you read some of our classics - like Poky Little Puppy - there's so much about that book that wouldn't be published today. It's too long, the arc isn't layered, the puppy doesn't solve their own problem.
Publishers are *not* making a shift towards primarily author-illos. They just want the best picture book projects they can find, be it from an author or an author-illustrator. As an agent, I'm open to authors, illustrators and author-illustrators.