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JJ and Kelly are back with another Half Pint Happy Hour (that’s more like a full size pint this time around. We’re chatty). We answer questions about social media in fiction, how to finish a draft, and how (not) to personalize your query for agents. Also, snail slime face cream! This is Kelly’s first time editing the podcast (standing ovation for JJ, who has edited every single other episode to date) so her apologies if the audio quality is not what you’re used to. She’s learning.
How often do you offer representation for a book that never finds a publisher?
We don’t have a statistic for that, but it does happen. No agent has a 100% sell rate.
What percentage of agents also write?
Again, we don’t have a statistic for this, but a lot of publishing professionals write–we all got into this business because we love books, after all. There are a few industry professionals who are published authors as well, but again, we don’t have statistics for you.
Do you have multiple form rejections or just one?
Form letters suck and we know it. Kelly uses just one, though she tried to make it as kind and professional as possible. Rarely she will include a personal note along with the form rejection. She can’t do that for everyone, but if she’s moved to give some personal feedback on a particular query she will.
How do you personalize your query for agents?
DO: mention direct interactions you’ve had with that agent at conferences or on social media. DON’T: say “On your website is says that you like thrillers, and I’m seeking representation for my thriller, so I’m sending you my thriller.” Don’t force a personal connection if one doesn’t exist.
If social media is a big part of the story should I mention real platforms (twitter, instagram, etc) or make up my own?
It depends? If the story is contemporary and the social media is incidental to the story, it’s probably fine to slip it in there. Although be aware that it will date your work fast. If social media is a major plot point, it’s probably better to make up your own.
What do you do if you lose steam for your story? Should you give up or push through?
JJ swoops in with the tough love: Have you ever finished a draft? If you’ve finished plenty of books before and something’s just not clicking with this one? Eh–toss it. Move on. But. If you routinely bail on manuscripts you need to take a hard look at why. And if you really want to write and can’t seem to get through a draft, you’ve GOT to push through and get all the way to the end. Even if it’s terrible. That’s fine. But you’ve got to finish one book or you’ll never finish another.
Other Stuff We Chat About:
That’s all for this week! We’ll be back next week with another Half-Pint Happy Hour, so send us your questions on twitter via #askpubcrawl, send us an email, or leave a comment below! And we’re still planning to do a live query critique as soon as we return to full-length episodes, so there’s still time to send in your query for consideration!