WE’RE BACK! JJ and Kelly have at long last found a way to be together…on the metaphorical airwaves, so to speak. Some catching and answering of questions are owed y’all. We think this is the return to our regularly scheduled podcast episodes, so stay tuned!
Is querying for picture books different from querying for middle grade, young adult, and adult?
Short answer: Yes. Longer answer: No, but yes. Research is crucial, not just agent guidelines, but the genre itself. The more you know about picture books, who is published, why, etc. the easier it will be to query.
How do you tighten up your writing? How do you condense each sentence, each paragraph, to be most powerful?
READ YOUR WORK ALOUD. Reading your work aloud will do WONDERS for your writing. It will point out places where your sentences go on too long, or when they don’t make sense, or when you write redundant phrases (and concepts) into your work.
How soon after your book starts should the inciting incident happen?
If you think your story is taking too long to get started…you’re probably right. If you’re looking for a firmer guideline, generally inciting incidents should happen no later than the end of the second chapter, which gives you some time to set up the stakes and the world before everything changes. But if you’re focused on setting the stage, on getting to know the characters—all these things can be learned as the story moves along.
How do you read for blurbs? How do blurbs work in general?
If you can establish some sort of buffer, that would be great. JJ floats blurb requests through her agent and/or editor, unless you know her personally, which is a slightly different situation. To be honest, most of the time, she doesn’t actually have time to read a lot for blurbs, but she tries her best. Publishing is a business of managing relationships, and however you want to manage those relationships is up to you.
What We’re Reading
- Dear Martin by Nic Stone
- The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F. C. Yee
- The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
- They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera*
- One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake
- Warcross by Marie Lu*
- As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
- What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton
- Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray
- Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
- The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
- Inferno by Dan Brown
- The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo*
* PubCrawl alum
What We’re Working On
- Kelly has a secret thing in the works with a client that she can’t share
- JJ is working on first pass pages for Shadowsong and once those are turned in, she will start drafting the first book in her new series
Off Menu Recommendations
- The Good Place
- Halt and Catch Fire
- Stranger Things 2
- Dragon Age: Inquisition
- Life is Strange
- King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
- The King’s Case Note (Korean film)
- Thor: Ragnarok
- Spiderman: Homecoming
- What We Do in the Shadows
- Hunt for the Wilderpeople
That’s all for this week! Next week we will be discussing Conferences and Festivals! So as always if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below, send us an ask on Tumblr, or tweet using the hashtag #askpubcrawl!