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.)
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…
✨ avery marsh ✨ @Avery_Marsh@msmariavicente At what point does a larger than normal word count become an auto reject? Asking for a friend... who is me.
I typically shy away from projects over 100k. But keep in mind, I work mostly in children’s books so the word count is shorter. It would have to be a very special YA novel for me to want to read 100k words of it.
Maria Vicente @msmariavicenteYour query letter is your first (and sometimes only) impression. Spend time revising it. Make sure it’s as stunning as your actual project. twitter.com/marlalesage/st…
Also (I’m cheating and giving two pieces of advice), agents are just as eager to find and connect with the right potential clients as you are to find the right representation. We need you and your work!
Marla Lesage @MarlaLesage@msmariavicente If you could give querying writers/illustrators one piece of advice - what would it be? (Aside from all the great tips on your website)
Your query letter is your first (and sometimes only) impression. Spend time revising it. Make sure it’s as stunning as your actual project.
Erica Davis Secor @thedavisgirl@msmariavicente What do you wish you had known about agenting BEFORE you became an agent?
That the day is often filled with negativity! Editors saying no to client projects, writers deciding to sign with other agents, having to deliver bad news to clients, sending out rejections to requested material... Some days are tough.
S J Vinks Children’s Author @TJKfantasybooks@msmariavicente If you have recommendation for your middle grade fantasy novel illustrations should you include in submission or wait till acceptance to discuss? Thank you.
That’s something you bring up later on. It’s not so important in a query letter.
FYI: it’s often the publisher that decides on an illustrator for a book, so be aware that you may not have a say in the matter.
Cal Black @thatCalamity@msmariavicente I know for regular prose to only query when you have a polished copy, are Graphic novels the same? It's much harder to find info on them for agent querying.
You should have a pitch package put together, as well as a polished sample chapter or two of the script (at least).
I’m going to write a longer blog post on querying graphic novels, because I agree that there isn’t as much info out there.
Malik Turley @MalikTurley@msmariavicente What factors do you think authors should consider to make the decision between self-pub and traditional?
You need to decide what success looks like for you as a published author. Can you achieve those things on your own? Do you have the skills and/or resources to tackle all the various publishing roles? Or do you need assistance?
Bailee @bailee_sg@msmariavicente What do you think makes a story stand out enough to make its way past the “slush” pile?
It needs to bring something new to the table. When you read so many pitches, the stories all start to sound the same. I’m always looking for something I haven’t quite read about before.
Daniel Grimes @majorleechubd@msmariavicente When submitting a PB, is it acceptable to add footnotes for what you think the pictures should be, to avoid the need for extra descriptive text in the story? Thanks! #askagent
Illustration notes can definitely help with this. Read this blog post for more on this topic: mariavicente.com/blog/visual-th…
Shelly Jay 💖💜💙 @shellyjshore@msmariavicente tips for defining your genre when the buzzwords you're told to use don't seem to match what you're writing? my WIP is "new adult queer romance," but it's much more "awkward millennials fall in love" than "steamy queer kissing," but that's what i seem to get when i google 🧐🏳️🌈✍🏻
I would just ignore the buzzwords and pitch it as “awkward queer millennials fall in love.” (Which sure sounds like my kind of romance novel!)
Coryl @corylwrites@msmariavicente What's it like working in one geographical location with an author who's in a totally different one? Maybe not even the same country?
Totally normal! Technology makes communicating with my clients easy, whether they prefer emails, phone calls, video chats, etc.
S J Vinks Children’s Author @TJKfantasybooks@msmariavicente Is it more important to emphasis the hook or the plot in the submissions letter? Thank you so much. 😊
I want both! The hook is what grabs me right away (should only be a sentence or two), but after that I want the pitch to tell me about the actual plot.