dan delurey @dandelurey@Sarah_Nicolas I am writing kidlit on climate change - and only on that. The topic is surprisingly not showing up as on Wishlists. How do I find agents that want a book on climate without going through the query process - which may not tell me if it was the book or the topic they rejected?
climate change is literally on my wishlist haha. query the ones who want other elements that apply to your book (such as character types, plots). you can't know for sure why they rejected you unless they send a personalized rejection, which is rare.
Michael Gilroy is querying @VanguardsMike@Sarah_Nicolas Should the professional edit come before or after getting an agent? I’ve heard conflicting opinions
you do not have to pay for a professional edit before querying. some people do, and if you have the money to spare, that's fine. most people use critique partners before querying.
Justin Creps @BuckeyeInsomnia@Sarah_Nicolas Newbie here. Please forgive this question if it’s ridiculous
1) when you’re doing comp titles, is it more important to compare writing style/voice or plot structure/characters/setting
2) on a related note, would it ever be acceptable to comp to another medium. ie: tv show/movie
1) yes! haha. you can even indicate that in the query like "the style of x meets the world building of y"
2) some agents hate it, some agents love it. it's never going to result in auto rejection though
Manya I'M SUPPOSED TO BE DOING MY CHARTS Lisse @mfnlisse@Sarah_Nicolas is it acceptable to comp to authors as opposed to specific books? "For readers who enjoy...."
100% especially if the author has a strong brand
? from DM: do you need to have a connection to the person querying before you check out their query? (i answered your first ? earlier; someone else asked).
Ans: nope! everyone I've offered to except for one, I had never been aware of their existence before they queried
Jai @FirstCityLine@Sarah_Nicolas Is adult dystopian a turn-off genre right now? I'm querying a "lite dystopian" novel with an upmarket feel and am not sure whether I should embrace the dystopian elements in my query letter.
it's tough but not impossible! i would just make sure the query reflects what the book actually is. if you downplay the dystopian elements in the query but the book reads like a dystopian, that's not a good thing.
Kristin Durfee @KristinDurfee@Sarah_Nicolas Is it industry standard to always have two comp titles? Is three okay or a single if it's really strong?
there's no hard and fast rule. I personally like "will appeal to fans of [one title]" and x meets y for two titles. Three can work, but it's best to indicate what element the comp is for, something like "the atmosphere of x, the found family of y, and the pacing of z"
Sarah Nicolas aka Sarah N Fisk @Sarah_Nicolas? from DM: Is it better to have a synopsis that is a little shorter (a little beyond a single page) but presents the core of the story in simple terms, or a synopsis that uses the two pages fully and covers more details but risks getting less concise and clear?
since a one-page synopsis should be single-spaced and a two-page synopsis should be double spaced, these should actually be the same length! (i know this is not what you asked). go with whichever one helps the agent understand the story and character arcs best
Sarah Nicolas aka Sarah N Fisk @Sarah_Nicolas? from DM: Do comp titles have to be strictly in genres you write? Also if you give a non-eng song if asked as additional question for playlist/vibes with eng captions, does it work?
no, but it's nice to combine them with a book in the genre you write. so you could say like "This is a YA Circe which will appeal to fans of [ya author/title]." BUT if you're torn between a comp in your genre and comp outside your genre, choose the one in your genre.
Ashlee MacCallum @_ashleedani@Sarah_Nicolas What catches your eye in a query letter?
conflict, stakes, and anything that makes the book sound different from any given 15 other books in its genre.
Madison Sasser @Madiii03@Sarah_Nicolas #askagent Is it possible to start querying your young adult novel before it's finished?
nope! all books should be finished and polished before querying. the only exception is an author with a solid trad publication history.
N West Moss, Algonquin author @scoutandhuck@Sarah_Nicolas And... do agents ever help place short works like essays in addition to books?
most won't get involved in this -- the outlets usually prefer to work with the author directly anyway! but if there's a connection the agent has or if the outlet prefers agent pitches, they often will
? from DM: I’m curious what makes you offer an R&R vs an offer / bc I keep getting R&Rs
Ans: I offer if I'm confident the writer can nail the revisions I want. I R&R if I'm not sure they can nail them.
Anna McEwan @ShaolindianTale@Sarah_Nicolas First time I queried was over five years ago. Is it okay to still start with salutations and then the book portion of the query? I've been seeing some want taglines and book details first now. Is the order make or break for a query?
taglines are optional. you can put book details at beginning or end, agents prefer different things so if you see that adjust, but it will never be make or break. queries are pretty much the same as 5 years ago
Sarah Nicolas aka Sarah N Fisk @Sarah_Nicolas? from DM: I’ve recently had publishing offers from 2 small press publishers for a MG novel. If I go with 1 of the offers and the book sells poorly, will an agent touch me after (for a new work)? Or will I have branded myself unsellable?
Ans: this is a tough one. Publishers do look at past sales when deciding on whether or not to make an offer, so it can make it a bit harder for you if you have a history of low sales. BUT, as I always say, a great book is a great book
E. Edmond Tucker @etuckerwrites@Sarah_Nicolas How important is the first line of a manuscript?
for some agents it's literally the most important thing. most agents will give you at least a good quarter page at the very least though :-)
Ana Mae Wright @anamaewright@Sarah_Nicolas Thank you so much for doing this & I hope you feel better soon!
Q: Recommendation for how to address in query a MS that takes place during pandemic and includes covid as part of the setting/"culture"? Are agents turned off by this/is anyone publishing these types of MSs?
i think a lot of agents are turned off by it right now, but you still want to mention it in the query. i remember hearing about how literature after the 1918 pandemic basically ignored it and i wonder if that will happen here too? IDK. there's not a clear answer on this
Megan is waiting on a miracle 🦋 #amwriting @StadnikMegan@Sarah_Nicolas What is a question you ask every author before/when you're offering representation?
umm, "do you have any questions for me?" haha. i usually give a little pitch about myself and then most of the time is spent answering their questions. if they don't tell me, i sometimes ask what they're working on next and what all genres they want to write
Aaron J. Cole @aaron_j_cole@Sarah_Nicolas Do you have any questions you’d recommend writers ask agents when they are looking for rep during “The Call”? (Stuff outside the norm.)
@FineAngeline had a great tip for writers on @QQQpodcast; she said to ask "what was the sit up and take notice moment when you read my book?" I also think it's most important to ask about communication style and probe for if the agent is open to adjusting their com to your needs
Elizabeth Doman @ElizDoman@UweStenderPhD How much does it help to know or have talked to an agent before querying them? Related question; how important are in-person meetings at cons?
For me, it doesn't, as long as you are not a jerk. If you are a jerk, I don't want to work with you. Your writing is important to me. But I don't want to, nor will I, work with a jerk.