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#10412 Newbie's Guide to AQ Connect

Posted by Cat Woods on 29 October 2010 - 07:00 AM

Ditto-ing AQCrew's welcome.

The biggest tip I learned as a beginner on this awesome site is this:

Don't be afraid, be respectful.

In other words, your opinion matters. How you view something or what you feel about something is uniquely yours and it is not wrong. So, don't be afraid to voice your opinion and don't be afraid if someone contradicts you. Instead, respectfully listen to the thoughts and opinions of others. You might be surprised by what you learn--or what you can teach.

The writing biz is complicated. Every day I learn something new and I've been at this for a long time. In fact, one of the most valuable things I've learned about my writing came from a peer so new to the process she hadn't even finished her own novel yet.

Don't be afraid. If you have a question ask it. If you have an opinion share it.

Be respectful. Treat others as you would like them to treat you. If you want a critique, give one. If you disagree with commentary, listen to it then ignore it.

In the process, you'll learn great things, meet great people and be a part of the best writing community on the web.

Oh yeah, and if you write for kids, PM me and I'll provide a password so you can learn a little more about the nuances of the juvenile biz. We've got great members who can help answer questions and address concerns specific to this age group.


#7784 How to Get Other AQC Members to Critique Your Query

Posted by Jean Oram on 13 October 2010 - 10:08 AM

Some tips to get help on your query from other AQC Members:

Remember that critiquing someone's query takes time--time away from one's own writing.

You are asking a favor from a complete stranger. Make it feel worth their time by not posting a rough draft of your query.

People want to see your best work so they can help you make it better. Why spend their time helping you bring your query up to something you could have done by creating another draft?

Also, pay it forward by critiquing other people's queries.

Even if you aren't an "expert" mention some things that work for you as a reader or don't work for you as a reader--even if you can't explain why or give suggestions on what could improve it. People help people who help them.

P.S. Copying and pasting your query into the topic has, historically, been much more successful that attaching a file of your query.


#5802 ******QUERY POSTING RULES******

Posted by Jean Oram on 29 September 2010 - 08:30 PM

TO POST YOUR QUERY FOR CRITIQUE BY OTHER AQC MEMBERS, BE SURE YOU ARE IN THE PROPER FORUM: QUERY CRITIQUES

 

(Not here reading this thread...!)


THEN:

Post a copy of your full query for critique in this group ONLY.

Start a new topic by clicking on the START NEW TOPIC button, and then title it using the following format:  YOUR BOOK's TITLE (your book's genre) 

ALL revisions to your original query must be posted in the SAME thread. 

 

WARNING: New threads for the same query will be reported by members and deleted by the Administrators.

ADDITIONAL TIPS TO MAXIMIZE THE NUMBER OF CRITIQUES YOU RECEIVE:


How to Change Your Topic's Title in order to include its (Genre): Click on the "edit" button just below your first post. USE FULL EDITOR. Click on it to edit your original topic title or subtitle. Make your changes and click on save.

Don't include attachments: You will gain better results by copying and pasting your query into the body of the post, rather than attaching a file. 

Not getting critiques?: Check out this thread for tips.


Thanks and good luck!

P.S. If you need help from a moderator (there are a bunch of us hanging around here) and are referencing a specific post or thread, please use the URL/link of the thread or post you are referencing. It saves us all a ton of time and makes sure we're all on the same page. :wink: Thanks.

NOTE: AQC is a PUBLIC forum. Posting your query in the query critique group on AQC WILL result in your query being searchable via the internet.




#10644 Newbie's Guide to AQ Connect

Posted by EMDelaney on 30 October 2010 - 10:49 AM

I'll take a stab at it. I'm not new per say, in that I was on the old site for a short time before the transition, but I'm new enough I imagine.

I would think the most apprehension lies in the area of being hesitant to critique others. I was slightly apprehensive because I didn't feel like I had the experience to comment on other's work. I'm not a heavy now, yet I do comment on certain threads. I find, that a lot of the crit I give mirrors that of what has been offered to me at some point to a certain degreee. I have however, begun to incorporate my own opinions into it. I've learned one very valuable lesson about querying. TAKE YOUR TIME! Evaluate carefully. With this particular part of your journey, slow down.

One thing I have started doing is NEVER writing a revision the day I recieve the critique. I find myself reading the crit several times before I respond, IF I respond at all. You have to evaluate the crit carefully because despite the seeming experience level of the critiquer, it is your story and YOU know it best.

That is not to say that you should not listen to the fine folks' advice on here. Personally, my query isn't anywhere near the same as the first one I offered. This has come as a result of advice and direction I have rec'd here. There are some wonderful, talented people on here who are gracious with their time and can be very helpful. You have to decide who, which and what critique is important to you and how to use it. Ironically, even a poor critique at times, can be helpful.

Be mindful, involvement is what makes this site go round. Please take, we welcome it, but give as well. It is understood that most will stack up on the side of take at first but once you have picked up a thing or two and feel you have something to offer, please do.

Good Luck to you all.


#10404 Newbie's Guide to AQ Connect

Posted by AQCrew on 29 October 2010 - 04:55 AM

Hey there all you AQC new members,

Welcome to AQConnect. As new members of the forums, you have an unique perspective on what it's like to join our writing community, and for this reason, we'd love to hear from you.

Feel free to post a few tips and suggestions in this thread for the reading pleasure all your fellow newbie members who would like to get involved, but just don't know how or where to start.

Every single member of AQConnect was once a "new member," so we value everyone's contributions.

Happy AQConnecting...


#10895 Newbie's Guide to AQ Connect

Posted by Clippership on 01 November 2010 - 03:11 PM

One thing I learned as a newbie on the site was to take my time and look around. Read posts, see if my questions had already been asked and answered, get a feel for the way things work. It's intimidating to want to post a question or even offer a tidbit of advice. It's intimidating to approach a bunch of strangers and strike up a conversation sometimes. Fortunately, I've met a lot of people here who are warm, welcoming, and are in for the long-haul. They love to help, and they need things too. Yes, even from a newcomer. Everyone has their own level of experience. And then there's the good old adage that you get what you give. The more you give in a community like this, the more you'll get back. And this is one of those sites that are worth it.


#119861 Use Common Sense When Sharing Your Work

Posted by Jean Oram on 27 June 2012 - 12:53 PM

AQC is a great writing community. That said, from time to time "strangers" pop in and offer to critique work and then disappear or people don't get what they expected. It happens. Life happens.

I'm here to say--use common sense when sharing your work. Even though this community is full of top of the line awesome folks who love to give--be smart. Occasionally the odd bad apple may get through the gates.

Things to think about before sharing your work:
  • Do you know this person? Have they posted much on AQC already? (Check the number below their image on their posts--it says how many posts they have.) As well, check out the query critique group as a lot of critiquers hang out there. Or, even better, go to their profile and click on the blue "Find Content" button to check out things they have posted.
  • Now that you have snooped around their profile, do you think you might mesh with this person? I.e. will their crit style leave you sobbing? Or will it be the best thing to ever happen to your writing this year?
  • How much do they want to critique? A few pages is generally safe, but if they want your WHOLE ms right off the bat, make sure you perform due diligence. Just in case. This is the Internet after all.
Other things to consider:
  • What is their turnaround timeline?
  • What do they like to read? If they read horror and write horror they might not be the best person to tell you whether your sex scene will fit Harlequin's guidelines.
  • How in-depth are you looking for? A quick read or an edit?
  • Start small. Send small bits and work your way up to a bigger commitment. (Unless it is a beta read--in which case it still may be smart to offer the first chapter to see if you two are a good fit and they want to keep reading.)
  • Is it sharing? If so, are you a good fit or will you regret the time you spend working with this person?
  • WHAT IS YOUR GUT FEELING? If your spidey-senses are saying "no," listen even if the person is talking a good game that feels irresistible.
But most of all--be smart. I don't want to hear about anyone getting screwed over or finding someone has taken their work as their own or posted it somewhere online without permission. Got it?

What else? Share your tips and ideas.

RECENTLY ADDED TIP: Once you have found a beta reader/critiquer, be sure to let them know if you need 'soft' criticism or if you want 'hard' criticism. If you are just starting out, you might want to only hear about the biggest overarching issue you have and not every little crushing nitpick. If you are a veteran, you might want to hear every little thing that isn't working. It is your responsibility to let them know what you need and want.


#306391 15 full requests, 5 offers of representation, and now several major publisher...

Posted by CarlieNoel on 09 November 2015 - 11:05 AM

I re-drafted my query several times, and it took over a month to get it to this stage. I just signed with Claire Wilson at Rogers, Coleridge and White, and this is the version that she saw. (For anyone interested in stats, I sent this out to 32 agents all at once.) The book is actually going to be slightly different from this query, but still, I hope that this helps anyone beginning on their journey towards representation! Thank you to everyone in this lovely community who helped me along the way. 

 

Update on 1/19/16: I just accepted a two-book deal with a major publishing house!

 

Update 8/1/2016: The new title is IF BIRDS FLY BACK and will be available in Summer 2017 from HarperCollins in the US, Macmillan in the UK, Penguin Random House in Spain, etc. Here's the Goodreads, if you're interested: 

https://www.goodread...rom_search=true

 

This query does contain spoilers!

 

 

 

Dear Claire,

 

Sixteen-year-old Linny has spent all of high school as “camera girl,” filming her friends’ escapades while craving adventures of her own. So when Álvaro Herrera (star of Linny’s favorite film, the 1960’s cult classic Midnight in Miami) seemingly rises from the dead before her eyes, she believes it’s finally, finally her chance to break away from the sidelines. Three years ago, Álvaro vanished from a yacht in the Gulf of Mexico, and reporters and FBI agents alike are hell-bent on uncovering the secret of those missing years. Armed with a lifetime’s worth of pent-up wishes for excitement, Linny resolves to unravel the mystery first—no matter what it takes.

 

Enter seventeen-year-old Sebastian, an aspiring astrophysicist with melodramatic tendencies, whose mother just dropped the bomb that Álvaro is his father. Álvaro has no idea that he has a son, and because of his rapidly progressing Alzheimer’s, maybe never will. Now Sebastian has to get to know his dad before it’s too late, but (much to Sebastian’s chagrin) some girl keeps interrupting their father-son time…

 

Álvaro’s mystery soon leads Linny and Sebastian on an entangled obstacle course through suburban Miami. What they end up discovering—and what they keep from each other—might drive them apart forever.

 

WHY BIRDS FLY BACK is a 64,000-word literary young adult novel told in Linny and Sebastian’s alternating perspectives. It will perhaps appeal to readers of Rainbow Rowell and Sarah Dessen, and anyone who celebrates diverse books.

 

I have an MSt. in English from Oxford University and an MA in Creative Writing and Publishing from City University London, where I was mentored by Carnegie Medal nominee _______. I was recently a finalist for the Orlando Prize for Short Fiction, and I currently work as a Children’s Editorial Assistant at ______. We actually met when you came to the ______ office with the ultra-talented _______. Because your submissions are of the best that we receive (I absolutely adored _______), I hope you will consider representing me as well.

 

I have attached my synopsis and first fifty pages to this email. Thanks so much for your time.

 

Sincerely,




#258059 Fantasy creatures that agents don't want

Posted by Guest on 09 September 2014 - 08:53 PM

Vampires/werewolves and angels/demons are the main ones I hear that are currently suffering fatigue.

 

Personally I'm going to write erotica with a sleezy unicorn and a slutty mermaid and create a whole new trend  :cool:




#242468 For all who are struggling with their Query, check this out

Posted by AQCrew on 06 May 2014 - 11:33 AM

We could have easily offered this service years ago -- cornered the market and become millionaires...However, it is notable that she offers blog tour services at reasonable prices and we do think paying the right person to coordinate a blog tour targeting influential bloggers within your genre is worth it (disclaimer: please research all your option before hiring any blog tour organizer).  http://blogtoursbyel...blog-tours.html

 

But the nifty thing about query letters -- and everything else about the process -- it weeds out writers.

 

Not necessarily all the bad writers, but all the writers who are fundamentally not willing to dig in and never give up on the learning process.

 

Because slogging through the learning process is what it takes to succeed... Yes, you can use a service like this to help get you there. But, we would also argue that writers who are paying for these services are much more likely to immediately quit when it doesn't result in their ideal endgame scenario -- agent and book deal -- on the first try.

 

Let's remember: it's not only about the dream of being a writer, it's also about the love and desire to be a part of the professional publishing industry (which means: a whole lot more than just scoring a book deal... many published authors will tell you THAT's just the beginning).

 

These days -- the professional publishing world includes traditional publishing and agents as well as small presses as well as self-publishing successfully... the bottom-line is that you have to know -- or learn -- the market, your audience, the basic plot that you're selling and your genre.  

 

Yes, you can constantly rely on someone else to do this for you, or you can be obsessed with gaining the skills and knowledge to do it yourself.  We would argue that writers who do the latter have a better chance of ultimately being successful at whatever publishing path they choose.  It's not always about initial talent. Sometimes,  it's about your ability to understand what you don't know and being interested enough -- day after day -- to continue to learn and grow.

 

Hundreds and hundreds of AQ members have been members for years.  Years.  Why?  Because they are writers who realize how much there is to learn and how doing so makes them true writers -- book deal or not.  

 

Learning to write a 200-word description of your book is just the beginning...but if you're really in this for the long-haul, you'll soon realize that nothing beats knowing how to do it -- and do it well -- whether it's to score an agent, draft a book blurb, or market yourself on social media.  Understanding plot, genre, voice, character motivation, and how to distill it down into a nice tight summary is a skill of both literary confidence and agility, like shooting a bull's eye with a single arrow.  You don't know how good it feels to do it -- until you aim, shoot, and BAM... score.




#237744 Agent Responses

Posted by Storymatic on 30 March 2014 - 03:58 PM

Hi, Hazel -- just a "my two cents" suggestion about your querying process going forward.  Sending out sixty queries in one day is a LOT.  In fact, while querying widely is to your advantage, I'd suggest that you make your next volley much smaller.  I started off sending out between five and eight queries at a time, and finally settled on eight as the magic number I wanted to have "open" at any time.  As soon as I got a negative or positive back and fell below that eight, I would send out another one or two to get back up to that number.

 

My logic was stolen from other writers here on the AQC boards:  if you query in smaller batches, it can become easier to see patterns in rejections (people seem to like the query letter, but are cool on the pages themselves; only queries with pages get attention; and so on).  This was really important for me after month 2 of querying, when I realized my letter was the problem and did one more overhaul.  After that, I started seeing a lot more requests.

 

My only concern for you might be that you'll run through your list of researched agents very quickly sending out sixty at once, and possibly not be able to use your rejections to help you make strategic revisions. 

 

Anyway, this is me butting in with a comment you didn't ask for, so please disregard if I'm overstepping. . . But since I know I wish I could have those early queries back and start over with those agents with my improved query package, I wouldn't wish that feeling on anyone else!

 

Good luck!




#45005 Links for Successful Synopsis Writing

Posted by tibby on 12 May 2011 - 02:23 PM

I found these links helpful when writing my synopsis. Maybe they will help someone else.

This one has lots of links, mostly for romance novels, but they can be used for any type. It includes a bunch of successful synopses as well.
http://www.charlotte...m/synopsis.html

A one step at a time link
http://www.writing-w.../synopsis.shtml

Hope this can help anyone struggling (like I was) with a first draft! :biggrin:


#307461 Rough guestimate of percentage writers actually get from their books?

Posted by Thrash on 24 November 2015 - 01:57 PM

You might find this informative in terms of how payments work, from a great agent: http://jetreidlitera...-make-some.html

 

But putting aside the propriety of the question, let's talk some hypothetical math in hopes of demonstrating why your search for figures to get a ball park idea of what you might make is completely futile.

 

Take 10 authors with completed novels of clean prose and good story arcs.  It's subjective business, but for the sake of argument, say they're basically equal in quality.

 

Author A gets an agent from the slush pile, the agent sells to publisher and gets a two-book contract for 20K.  (see link for how that would divy up)

Author B queries for a year, has a baby or gets overwhelmed at day job, and puts the efforts to publish aside,0 dollars.

Author C gets agent from the slush pile, agent sells one-time book to publisher for $1500. It never pays out.

Author D gets agent from connection at convention, sells book and movie rights in one year for a combined $750,000.

Author E digitally self-publishes after paying an editor $500 for a read over and digital formatting and a cover designer $250. (Really cheap for both, all things considered).  The book sells a 1000 copies in the first year at $5.99, mostly thanks to grass roots efforts by the author. Amazon KDP take 30% leaving the author around $4000 (-$750 in pre-production costs, netting around $3250).

Author F doesn't get an agent in the first 2 years of trying, but eventually gets one, who sells the book for $5000, and it meets advance and starts paying out in royalty checks of about $500 every three months for 3 years before trickling off.

Author G knows a guy who knows a guy at Penguin, sells book direct for $100,000, it tanks and never pays out from that advance, guaranteeing he'll never publish a second no matter who he knows..

Author H: is touted as the next JK Rowling, sells first three of a series for $500,000, movie rights for $3 million, continues to write and sell at top dollar, and retires a millionaire at age 40.

Author I gets an agent from the slush pile, the agent sells to publisher for $1000 advance, but it explodes, earns out immediately, and pays $90,000 in royalties for 4 years. 

Author J sends out a bunch of queries with no bites. Self-publishes with preproduction costs of $4000 and breaks even after the second year.

 

All of these scenarios are plausible. The average of $0 and $50 million is not useful to know. Bell-curving it won't help either. Note that these ten scenarios are actually really skewed--it's more like for every Author C, you have a thousand Author B.  If you want to actually calculate the numbers of authors who try to make as much as a single dollar and fail, good luck with that, a place to start might be with agents who share their rejection statistics. There is no way to predict your possible earnings by looking at other writers.

 

I applaud you for insisting that people deserve to make their due for a job, but writing isn't a job, it's a craft. You can't insist on making what you earn from writing until you have a product to sell, and even then you can't insist people buy it any more than you can make them buy your hand-crafted scented soaps (except the family & friends you guilt--which, much like soap-makers at craft fairs, is how many self-publishers break even in the end).  

 

Editing, marketing, agenting, distributing, selling--these are book jobs and those who do that work deserve to make their due, even if the product they're working with is your precious brain child. If you want to cut out some of those middle men, it comes with the caveats of having to do more work yourself and having fewer people invested in the success of your product. The relative merits of the various paths to publication are extolled and debated throughout these boards and many others like them.

 

Whatever path you choose, there’s no way around the fact that you are working very hard to essentially enter a lottery.  The more you enter and the longer you try, the better your chances of winning. And the prize can be anywhere from $5 to $50 million based on an mysterious algorithm determined by market trends, teenage dreams, and sun spots.

 

It’s a nightmare. It’s a privilege belonging to those who have figured out other ways to pay rent for now. It’s not fair. But neither is the fact that most scented soap artisans never get past the white-tent at the fall fair stage of their careers.

 

I wrote this on my lunch break at my day job. (Honestly, because the chapter I was supposed to write was stumping me and I got distracted.)  I chose this job because I don’t hate it and I can coast on it, betting on myself and my future as a published author. And in all realistic expectations wise, I hope that I can use a couple published books as leverage to get the kind of University job that will allow me to actually open a 401K one day. Speculation investing is always risky.




#252797 is it true that only 1% of querying writers land book deals?

Posted by RC Lewis on 22 July 2014 - 04:45 PM

Yeah, I've always heard the 2% figure, too, but that's splitting hairs.

 

Here's the thing. That 1-2% is coming from a pool that includes the kind of stuff that ends up on SlushPile Hell. And people who query with "Here's my idea for a story! I want you to rep me! Writing the manuscript? No, haven't done that yet." And people whose query is a 500-word single paragraph with no punctuation. And people who send a list of character profiles rather than an actual query.

 

My agent once said at least half the queries she gets are easy rejections. Everything from "I don't rep anything close to this genre" to "I'm not sure this person is literate and/or not a psycho axe murderer." If you're querying intelligently (or heck, just not incredibly stupidly), you're already improving your odds by default.

 

Don't sweat the stats. Do your job—write an awesome book, use critique partners to make it awesomer, write an equally awesome query (you're in the right place to get help with that!), and do your homework to figure out which awesome agents might actually be interested.

 

Then if that manuscript doesn't land you an agent ... rinse, repeat. You'll get better and stronger each time.

 

That's what I did. EVENTUALLY, it worked.




#228051 The query and the tweet that got me an agent and a deal on the same day.

Posted by Paul Krueger on 22 January 2014 - 01:22 PM

Adult Pitchfest, or #AdPit, is an event on twitter where you post up a logline for your work with a hashtag for publishing professionals to follow.  I wasn't really aware of its existence, even, but someone had posted a status about it here on AQC.  Figuring I had nothing to lose, I tweeted the following:

 

"UF/NA. Fighting Chicago's monsters with alcohol-fueled magic. Not bad for a first job out of college. #AdPit"

 

It got me two bites: one from Jennie Goloboy of Red Sofa Literary, and one from Blair Thornburgh, an editor at Quirk Books.

 

Both of them received my first three chapters, and the following query:

 

 

 

Dear Ms. Agent,

 

Recent graduate Bailey Chen lives with her parents and serves cocktails to the office workers that were supposed to be her colleagues, not her customers.  She works with Zane Whelan, her one-time best friend who seems to have more than friendship on his mind.  Nothing in her life is going according to plan.

 

Especially since she didn’t plan for monsters.

 

A close call with a chupacabra plunges Bailey into the secret war Zane and other bartenders wage every night, using cocktail-fueled magic to defend Chicago against the supernatural.  It’s the world of the Alechemists, where a properly mixed negroni can give you the toughness of a tank and a screwdriver will let you bench press one.  In other words: drinking really can give you superpowers.

 

That’s fortunate, because Bailey’s going to need all of them.  Someone’s introducing dangerous, exotic beasts to the city, and their presence has escalated the scope of the Alechemists’ job far beyond mere pest control.  If she doesn’t want everyone she loves to end up at the bottom of a grave, Bailey Chen will have to dive to the bottom of a bottle.

 

At 95,000 words, ON THE ROCKS is the first in a series of urban fantasy novels for a new adult audience.

 

My steampunk short story, “Knowing Better,” is due for publication in next year’s Sword & Laser anthology.

 

Thank you for your consideration.  I look forward to connecting soon.

 

Sincerely,

 

Paul Krueger

 

Both of those led to full requests later that day.

 

On November 25th, I received an offer from Quirk.  I parlayed that into representation by Red Sofa, and when the dust settled I had both of them sewn up before lunchtime.

 

Two days ago, my finalized contract crossed my desk, hanging around long enough for my signature.

 

Today, Quirk and Red Sofa made the official announcement, and the book that may or may not be titled "On the Rocks" is set to debut in early 2015.

 

AQC and the wonderful people on it get a generous amount of credit for all of this.  In addition to being the place where I learned that #AdPit was even a thing to begin with, I received a metric ton of excellent querying advice from the users here--on this query and on the ones I'd trotted out before it.

 

If I had to take away two lessons from all this:

 

1) Believe in yourself.  If you don't think you're good enough, no one else will.

 

2) Don't be afraid to ask for help.  No one gets anywhere all by themselves.  I wouldn't have the happy privilege of posting this if I hadn't availed myself to the wisdom and insight of others.

 

Thanks, everyone.  This all started with me, but it wouldn't have gone much further without you and too many others to name.

 

PK




#193486 A question for what I've seen

Posted by A M Pierre on 06 June 2013 - 08:27 AM

MC = main character

POV = point of view

OMGIHWTSAQLTAHTWAWN = Oh my goodness I hate writing the synopsis and query letter, they are harder than writing a whole novel.

 

I may have made up the last one.




#110137 Query that got 17 full requests + 4 offers of representation (and now a publi...

Posted by Stephanie Diaz on 11 May 2012 - 12:49 PM

I guess I could post this here now... :)

This query garnered 26 partials/fulls (mostly fulls) and led to 4 offers of representation.

--


Sixteen-year-old Clementine wants to grow old and live in a place where the moon is a beautiful, glowing orb in the sky instead of an acid-bleeding menace to the planet. So when she wins a shot at life far from the planet surface, she takes it willingly, even if it means leaving her best friend, Logan, behind.

In the planet core, which after centuries has been transformed into a steel-made place of inhabitance more like a space ship, Clementine lives, for the first time, without fear. Underground, there is no starvation, there are no crowbar-wielding security officials, and the moon is far enough away that no one speaks of it.

Then Clementine learns the planet leaders are going to murder Logan.

Now trapped by the steel walls of the underground and the lies that keep her safe, Clementine must find a way to escape and rescue Logan. But the planet leaders don't want her running. They want her subdued.

Complete at 75,000 words, EXTRACTION is a science fiction novel for young adults that will appeal to readers of Veronica Roth's DIVERGENT and Beth Revis's ACROSS THE UNIVERSE.

Thank you very much for your time and attention.




#273681 When they buy a book, are they at least half buying the author?

Posted by RC Lewis on 07 March 2015 - 01:42 PM

I don't even know where to start with this. I just don't.

All I'll say is I can easily think of a dozen major best-selling authors who wouldn't be considered "conventionally attractive" by many people.

No, I'm not going to list them because ... well, why on earth WOULD I?

There are many factors going into an author's success (or lack thereof), some of which are out of our control. Sure, Veronica had a bit of a "wunderkind" thing going for her in marketing Divergent. But that's all AFTER the book's been written, picked up by an agent, and sold to a publisher.

Other mega-sellers had different paths, different factors playing in.

As far as whether an author must be high-profile or not, it's largely up to the author, at least to a certain point. You do what you can (and are comfortable with) to promote your book.

If you create the next Harry Potter, then yeah, your profile is probably going to skyrocket whether you like it or not.


#260297 AWExley wins Best 2014 Kindle Book Award

Posted by Guest on 05 October 2014 - 10:49 PM

1. What types of books do you write, and how many of them have been published?
 
I write fantasy historical novels. I would call them steampunk-lite, but that description would probably get me banned from the steampunk community for life as there is NO SUCH THING! Lol
To date I have 5 novels out. Three and a novella in my main Artifact Hunters series and a young adult novel. I also have a couple of short stories published in charity anthologies.
 
2. You're a long-time active members on AgentQueryConnect.  Many members find us during the process of refining their query letter and researching the world of literary agents.  What was your journey? 
 
I've been a member of AQC since early 2012 and joined up when I was in the query trenches. I spent a year querying a YA steampunk novel. I had a 35% request rate, partials were upgraded to fulls, success seemed within my grasp and I was already picking outfits to wear to the red carpet for when the movie came out. Then a curious thing happened - those full requests turned into rejects, many of them forms. Ouch.
 
That project got shelved while I licked my wounds and regrouped. I wrote a different novel set in a slightly alternate London involving a serial killer and a legend surrounding Nefertiti. About this time a friend journeyed off into the self-publishing wilderness - a prospect that terrified me. Imagine having to do everything yourself when you had no concept of what exactly everything was! I sent out 4 queries for Nefertiti's Heart, 3 to agents and 1 to a small press. All 4 resulted in requests and the press (Curiosity Quills) offered a contract. Two of the agents offered to negotiate the contract but declined to take me on as a client which felt like another sucker punch. I sat down and had a good think about where I wanted to go with my career. The thing I love about the way the publishing landscape has changed is that there are so many options now. You don't have to pick ONE route and stick to it for life. I decided to take a risk with a young press for that particular novel and see what happened.
 
3. Your Novel NEFERTITI's HEART just won the 2014 Kindle Book Award for Sci-Fi/Fantasy from the Kindle Book Review.  How does that feel?  Was NEFERTITI HEART your first novel?  Has it been a long journey towards success? 
 
Like many writers I have a trunk full of abandoned novels and Nefertiti's Heart wasn't even close to being first! It's the book that landed me a publishing contract and it seems to be carving out its own little niche with readers. The book released last year and has been on the steampunk best seller list ever since and is usually within the top 25.
It was quite surreal to win the award. When I saw my name among the semi-finalists I really thought that was as far as we would get. In 2012 Hugh Howey won and last year was an epic fantasy. I figured we were the long shot and there was some great novels up as finalists.
 
4.  Currently several of your books are published by Curiousity Quills Press, including NEFERTITI'S HEART.  How did you become a Curiousity Quills author? What are the benefits of working with a small publisher like CQ?  
 
I spent time in the query trenches but lost heart for that path after my fulls all turned into rejects. I took a risk going with a small press at a time friends were either self-publishing or being agented. I'm happy to say that in the two years since I signed with CQ the company has continued to grow. For me I liked that somebody else took charge of doing everything (cover art, editing, formatting etc) but being a small press I was still highly involved in every step. Earlier this year CQ sold audio rights for 4 books in my series to Audible/Amazon. Which meant I then had to produce an extra 2 books as I had only written 2 at that stage.
 
5. You also have a novella, THE UNICORN's TAIL that you published on your own and it's currently one of Amazon's Top 10 bestselling books in the steampunk category.  How does that feel? What are the benefits of publishing your own books as an indie author? 
 
I have a long term strategy to own the Steampunk list, currently I have 3 titles in the Top 20 and I challenged myself to see how many spots I can collect…  :cool:
I'm a big believer in not having all your eggs in one basket. CQ is a great fit for my Artifact Hunters series but I want to branch out and understand better how publishing works. Having a self-published title lets me play with Amazon categories, keywords, pricing and other marketing strategies and I can see the direct impact on sales numbers.
Self publishing also lets you dictate your own time frames. I love being able to sit down, write a novella have it edited and then release it for readers without being tied to someone else's schedule.
 
6. Any new releases in the works?  How can writers and readers learn more about your work? 
 
NERO'S FIDDLE, book 3 in the Artifact Hunters releases Oct 9. After that I have to finish book 4, which I keep telling readers will be THE END but nobody believes me. I am also involved in a project with several other indie authors. It's all a bit hush hush, but my part involves a pirate, a mermaid and a kraken…
 
Twitter: @AWExley
 
7. What advice can you give to your fellow AQC members who are just joining AQC today and don't know how or where to start?
 
Read, lots. There is a huge learning curve with the industry and how it works. I always suggest to people that regardless of what path they want to ultimately take, spend time in the query trenches. It teaches you skills and you make connections that will pay dividends whether you go agent and trad deal, self-publish or small press.
 
Whatever path you take, I love that AQC has something to offer writers at all stages of their career. I've found loads of information in the forums discussing editors, formatting, covers, marketing and posts where we share tips and hints for reaching a greater audience.



#255299 Caught me one of dem agent-thingys, y'all

Posted by Lora Douglas on 17 August 2014 - 08:10 PM

Some of you might read this and go "wait a minute. i've seen this query before. but the name/avatar don't match." simply, i've updated my profile, changed my anonymous AQ username to my anonymous pen name, & (most exciting) clicked that little box from unagented to AGENTED! Woo Hoo! now that i am an expert in all things Lit Agent (this is sarcasm, folks) I have returned to impart my vast knowledge and advice. 

 

My query went through several revisions (you can read them here). I'll post the "winning" query below. If you haven't posted your query for critique, do it. the amazing forum members here on AQ are your best asset. 

 

Check out http://queryshark.blogspot.com Read through ALL the posts. Yes, ALL the posts. That was the turning point for my query. 

 

My last piece of advice: do your homework. research agents on Predators & Editors  then go over to the Absolute Write Forums and read the forum posts about them. use QueryTracker.net & check the agents stats & comments. THEN, if you haven't been turned off yet, send your query. (this same advice goes if you want to query publishers)

 

My Stats:

Queries Sent: 40

Requests for Fulls: 5 --> most of my requests for fulls came after my agent made her offer. i sent a quick email to ALL agents I hadn't heard from, told them i had an offer, & asked if they had any further interest. It was pouring blood in shark infested waters. 

Why I picked my agent: she's a cheerleader for my story. she's excited, talks about the characters like they're real people, read my MS in 2 days & is eager to get to work. 

 

finally, don't be discourage by rejection (you're thinking: "easy for you to say"). the waiting and the rejection emails suck, i know. but keep at it. you'll find that agent that clicks with you, is passionate about your MS, & that's what you want.

 

i hope my ramblings have been helpful. so here's my query:

 

Dear Agent,

 

Aiden James’ face is everywhere; magazines, t-shirts, posters, billboards — women’s underwear. When you’re Hollywood’s golden boy, that’s how it is. A nuisance? Sure. A problem? Not until the woman he loves confesses she’s in Witness Protection. 

 

After a tense morning on set, Aiden retreats to the wooded backlot of Sanctum Media Studios, hoping to find it deserted. It’s not. 

 

It’s obvious that she recognizes him, but she doesn't say a word when he stumbles across her picnic blanket. In fact, she completely ignores him. Aiden is used to the screamers, the criers. He knows what to do when a fan faints. But it's been years since someone treated him like nothing special. It's bizarre. And exactly what he's looking for. 

 

For days, Aiden cherishes her quiet company, her warm smiles, her shared lunches.  The backlot becomes his sanctuary, “Freckles” his closest friend.

 

Except for one thing: Freckles refuses to talk to him. At all.

 

To Aiden, her silent communication seems like a silly game. Until he uncovers the truth. Freckles, a.k.a. Cassie Steele, a.k.a. Madison Cole, is on the run from her abusive husband. But by now it's too late. Cassie's face appears on the cover of a national tabloid, setting in motion events that lead the devil himself straight to her door.

 

TALK TO ME, is a 104,000 word Adult Romance. I have included {whatever they ask for} below. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 
Sincerely,
 
ME