P.S. Literary Agency
senior literary agent + advisor @psliterary
- #mswl (195)
- #tenqueries (11)
- #100Queries (319)
- #querytip (94)
- #pubtip (13)
- #askagent (108)
- #askPSLA (221)
Anna Wenner @Anna_Wenner@msmariavicente @ericsmithrocks Hello! Thanks for doing this!
Is it rude to do a twitter pitching event if someone has your partial or full? It never occurred to me that it might be but someone mentioned it and now I’m worried.
Nope! I don't think writers should ever send "exclusive" submissions to agents. If you're waiting for an offer of rep, you're of course welcome to pitch to more agents.
KFair Writes @kfairwrites@msmariavicente Do you have any pet peeves when it comes to NF proposals?
I'm working (& working) on my first & every agency seems to have different guidelines, which requires a lot of tailoring. I don't mind that, but it's been difficult to reach the "I'm done" phase. #askagent
I would take NF proposal advice as guidelines to follow. They always look different depending on the topic. I don't have any pet peeves, but I do think many are missing the important information on why YOU should be the one to write the book.
Alexandra Z. Lazar @alexandrazlazar@msmariavicente I know that fantasy books tend to be longer than other genres, but what would you say is the outer edge of acceptable word counts for YA fantasy?
Adam Breckenridge @agbreckenridge@msmariavicente Hi, I'm working on a fantasy novel right now that's the first in a planned trilogy. When I get around to querying do I want to try to pitch the whole trilogy, just focus on the first book, or some combination between the two? I really appreciate you taking the time to do this.
The pitch should focus on the first book and then say it's the first in a planned trilogy.
Kaylen Wade @kaylen_wade@msmariavicente Why might an agent not report all their sales to Publishers Marketplace, assuming enough time has passed that it’s not a secret anymore? #askagent
This is so specific to each agent, client, book. One reason might be that it’s a work-for-hire project, so while the agent may have negotiated an offer/contract, they didn’t technically “sell” the project. That’s just an example though!
Caitlin Cross @caitlincross@msmariavicente @ericsmithrocks I’m getting close to the end of the first draft of my YA contemporary rock stars WIP and I’m wondering as I go into editing mode, how much swearing is too much for YA? Lol not sure if there’s a specific ~limit~ but if you have any insight, that’d be great! Thank you! 😊
I wouldn’t use curse words unnecessarily, but teens definitely swear so I think it makes a ms pretty authentic. It’s something that can always be edited down later depending on the publisher.
SheGoesON @shegoeso@msmariavicente @ericsmithrocks Any advice for someone interested in becoming an agent? Google searches have been very unhelpful.
Internships at agencies are the way to go. You need to learn from someone actually in the role.
Elizabeth @EliMartinsBooks@msmariavicente @ericsmithrocks How long would you like an author to wait to follow up to a query or full request, if at all?
Agency websites typically have guidelines posted for response times, especially for queries. So wait until after that. I’d wait 4-6 months to ask on an update for a full ms request.
KRISTINE ESSER SLENTZ @KESLENTZ@msmariavicente @ericsmithrocks Good morning! I'm a poet but write a lot of hybrid and cross-genre work. Is there a place for me in publishing/obtaining an agent? If so, is there a best strategy?
Of course there is! Find books similar to what you’re writing and see where they were published, who represents those authors. Should be a good starting point.
Ian Roy @ian_roy@msmariavicente Good morning. I've been seeing an increasing number of smaller presses acquiring titles via agents. Is this more common now? Or have I just been oblivious to this practice?
It has always happened. Sometimes they’re the best fit for a book. And even though smaller pubs might accept unagented submissions, creators might want an agent to help negotiate offers, contracts, etc.
Ian Sandusky @IanSandusky@msmariavicente Hi! Horror seems to be a seldom-listed category on most agent's lists - out of curiosity, is there a reason for it?
No reason other than personal preference, I don’t think. Some peoplw just don’t like horror.
I’ve personally noticed an increasing interest in horror. Maybe search for agents looking for “speculative” fiction rather than horror specifically?
Colleen Hennessy @colleenhenness4@msmariavicente Morning, is there any point in querying agents with essay collection or should I focus on trying to get individ essays published in lit journals first? Have previous freelance journ pubs but no literary. Thanks!
Great question! If the overall concept for the collection is unique enough, it will intrigue agents. However, having essays in prominent publications will help sell the book to publishers.
Lisa Katzenberger @FictionCity@msmariavicente Hi Maria! What do you like to see in a chapter book submission package? Pitches for other potential books in the series, or a more fleshed out outline? Thanks!
Just the query is fine at first, but then I’d probably ask to see the full manuscript, a full synopsis for that first book, and then a brief overview of series potential.
Dogs of Doom @SarahWynne25@msmariavicente Do you expect to see comparables in query letters or is a pitch sufficient? If it helps, this question is related to a chapter book (series) query. Thanks!
I’m indifferent when it comes to comp titles. If you have them, great! If not, oh well. The pitch should stand out on its own either way.
Malik Turley @MalikTurley@msmariavicente Thanks so much! It seems like there is more and more expected of the author (from what I’ve gleaned) these days which muddies my answer to those questions!
This is true! The question then becomes, what can this publisher do for me that I can’t? (And the answer will vary drastically by publisher.)
Katie Kaleski @katiekaleski@msmariavicente @ruthanne_snow If I’m subbing an agency and they previously repped me but the agent no longer works there, should I mention that in my query letter?
Peep @PeepBeachGirl@msmariavicente When you consider new writers, are you considering their initial work/project proposal more, or considering the promise of long-term publishing partnership and overall body of work that would grow from it?
A little of both. I obviously need to love the current project that I’ll be pitching first, but I also want to connect with the writer and be sure I can advocate for their work long-term.
Kelsey Down @kladown23@msmariavicente How dire is it for a novel to fall outside the recommended word count range for its genre? Is it a really bad idea to pitch something that's shorter or longer than the typical range?
There are exceptions to every rule. Word count varies drastically by book.
The main concerns are that too high = more expensive to print, and too low = novella, not a novel.
SavannahⓂ️Whitemarsh @savannah_of_7@msmariavicente I think I’ve been pitching my novel as YA when it’s maybe MG? I’m new at this, how do I tell for sure?
How old is the protagonist? What themes are present in the book? Is the content for middle graders or high schoolers?
Your best bet is to read recent YA and MG and compare your work to them. The differences should become clear.
Brandy meinhardt ☃️ @MeinhardtBrandy@msmariavicente How important are comp titles in query? My current WIP is a YA idea based off a tragic historical event (I have a history degree). Can I mention comps in terms of theme rather than comparing directly? Hope this makes sense.
Yes! Comps based on theme are perfectly acceptable. More on comp titles here: mariavicente.com/blog/how-to-us…