Archive for the 'Literary Agents' Category

Aug 09 2010

Unless I’m missing something, this sounds bogus

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

According to the New York Times, one author got an extraordinarily fast response from agents after starting a blog.  “Within two posts on her blog, which now attracts 30,000 visitors a month, Ms. Dolgoff said, five agents got in touch, and a book idea was born.”  I find that hard to believe.  Interesting even one unsolicited agent is extraordinarily hard.  Five? With two posts?  Unless I’m missing something, that sounds wildly implausible.  For example, author Theodore Beale receives ~200,000 readers per month and has never had an agent solicitation.

I think the NYT should have dug harder here. For example…

  • Who are these agents?
  • Why were none of them interviewed in the article? If they’re real, their perspective on this apparent success story would be pretty interesting.
  • What impressed them about the first two blog posts enough to contact her?
  • Did the agents know her before she started blogging?
  • Did the agents find the website themselves?  If not, who pointed them to it?
  • I have not been able to find any indication that there was a publishers’ auction over her book, nor does the article mention an auction.  If there were five agents potentially interested in representing her after two blog posts, don’t you think it’s a bit strange that the book wouldn’t go to auction?  (Note: I’m assuming “five agents got in touch” means that there were five agents interested in representing her, although an agent could contact an author just to offer friendly advice or chat).

9 responses so far

Jun 27 2010

Today’s Recommended Articles

*An accountant and an alligator saving the world from a deranged cosmeticist… with a Heisman Trophy!  While playing Clue!  IN SPACE!

7 responses so far

Mar 22 2010

The Writing Advice I’m Reading Today

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Mar 17 2010

Specificity Sells Proposals, Says Nathan Bransford

Literary agent Nathan Bransford has some great ideas about how to make book proposals more enticing by adding specificity.  If you’re trying to find a professional publisher for your novel or comic book, I would recommend checking it out.

Here’s an excerpt.

Be as specific as possible about the plot.

I get so many queries that read (literally, though this is made up for the purposes of this post) like this:

Character Name is living peacefully in Hometown. But then a life-changing event occurs that changes everything. Secrets are revealed that turn her life upside down. Character Name faces grave danger as she embarks on a quest to save her people. This novel is filled with humor and passion and suspense and romance, and there’s a shocking twist that leaves the reader breathless.

Being vague leaves an agent with so many questions: What are the secrets? What is the life-changing event? What is the danger she’s facing? What happens that is funny and suspenseful and romantic?

When all of these key details are kept hidden the query ends up sounding like… well, pretty much every novel ever written. And chances are an agent is going to move on to the next query.

No responses yet

Mar 22 2009

I’m really happy

Published by under Literary Agents

My query letter to literary agents is coming along really well!  This is the first major writing success I’ve had in the last month.

8 responses so far

Mar 13 2009

Some Advice for Novelists Seeking Agents

Unfortunately, many literary agents are dishonest and/or incompetent.  Here are some tips to help you select an agent that knows what he’s doing.

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Mar 13 2009

One of the Advantages of Getting a Literary Agent

Good literary agents only accept manuscripts with some potential, so having a good literary agent suggests to publisher that the work is worth looking at more closely.

According to Kris Waldherr

“Of the hundreds (maybe thousand plus) of manuscripts I read during a six month period, only about 2% went onto consideration by an acquiring editor. None of them were acquired. This suggests why so many publishers have stopped reading manuscripts not submitted to them by agents or colleagues. Bottom line: reading unsolicited submissions is simply not cost effective.”

4 responses so far

Aug 28 2008

Mr. Buckell reports: the median advance on a first sci-fi or fantasy novel is $5000

Tobias Buckell gathered some data describing how much authors make on their first advance. The median author in SF or fantasy makes $5000. The average in both categories is slightly higher (about $6500), but that’s probably distorted by a few superstars that skewed the distribution curve.

He also broke the data down by agented vs. unagented submissions. The median advance for an unagented manuscript is $4000, compared to $5500 for an agented manuscript. You might think to yourself “aha! I will make more if I have a superior negotiator on my side!” That’s probably true, but please also consider that a novelist that is good enough to convince an agent to work with him is probably better-than-average to begin with. In addition to that selection bias, you’d also have to factor in the agent’s share of the advance.

That said, I think an agent can be a powerful ally and (all things considered) one that will probably pay for himself.

5 responses so far