Saturday, March 15, 2014

Pitchmadness, Editing and Working for an Agent

It's that time of year again. The time where we unpublished authors submit our finished works to the pitchmadness contest and patiently wait to see if our manuscripts made it. Did I enter on the 10th? Of course I did, with the backing of my CP who insisted I enter this year. I probably would have entered anyway, but I love my CP, Janet Wrenn. She'll be published later this year and if you aren't following her, you should! She's amazing!

So, now I'm sitting here, biting my nails until the 18th when we find out who's manuscripts got chosen. In the mean time, I'd like to answer a few emails that I've gotten since I started this blog about my journey into writing and getting published. They're quite random, and a few seem to be based off of my tweets, but that's okay. They're what make me who I am, right?

Question Number One:
Do you really work for an agent?

I guess I've mentioned this a few times, but let me clarify a few things. Right now I'm interning for an agent, but I'm not going to mention who. I don't really know if I should anyway, so we'll leave it at that. What do I do for said agent? I sort through query letters. What does that mean? It means I get to see a lots of queries. Back when agent was backlogged, a few months ago, there were close to a thousand that needed sorting. Yikes!
It has also opened my eyes to a lot of things. There are some really great stories out there that I wish I'd written. The agent I'm interning for only works with adult and I write YA/NA, but I still wish I could read the full on some of the manuscripts instead of the first ten pages. 

What else has it opened my eyes to? Well, a lot of people can't follow direction. I'm surprised by how many manuscripts out there don't have a summary, as the guideline states, or the first ten pages. Some people don't even remember to put their names and return information. You may think it's not important to write, "Hey, my name is such and such and this is my email address", but it really is. It's hard to write a letter saying "I love your work, er, what's your name?" In my experience, which hasn't been a ton, that's an automatic rejection. When I was in school, back in the day, we learned to write our return addresses when we were taught to write letters. Emails shouldn't be any different. Just because there isn't postage doesn't mean this isn't a letter as well. 

It's hard to request a full or a partial if there isn't much to go on, or if you can't follow directions. Or at least I'd think so. I'm not the agent, so I can't say for sure. I do think your manuscript has to be pretty magical, sparks flying, glitter dusting the air, a bright shaft of light with an angelic chorus, for you to pass without a query, summary, or the first ten pages. Or a combination of the three. It put me off when I was sorting. I imagine an agent would feel the same.

Question Number Two:
Do you edit?

I'm not an editor. Let's make that clear. I just work as an intern for a literary agent. That being said, I love to proofread and critique. If you'd like me to take a look at your work, email me at Here. I'll send you instructions and other information.

Question Number Three:
You tweet a bit about food. Do you cook? Can you share some recipes?

Yes. I love to cook. I'm queen of copycat cooking. Some of my favorite recipes include Texas Roadhouse Rolls, Chili's Buffalo Wings, Ihop Pankcakes and Outback Steakhouse onion ring dipping sauce. I also have a lot of favorite recipes that aren't restaurant associated. I grew up with my parents, both of them, cooking and have cooked nearly every day for my own husband. Sometimes it feels like a burden. There are days I don't want to cook prime rib, or deep fry chicken, but for the most part I enjoy creating something from scratch.

My favorite right now has to be my bistro scalloped potatoes. Mmm. Now I'm getting hungry. As for recipes, I'll post a few individually over the next few days, so be on the look out for something different to try! I'll start with Philly Cheesesteak Stew in bread bowls....
Recipe credited to the The Cozy Apron

Well, that's the questions I've seen so far. If you want to ask me something, anything at all, please email me Here. I'd love to answer any and all questions to the best of my ability.

Good luck to all of those who've entered pitchmadness! Reading the feed has been taking up a lot of my time, lol. It seems that agents are looking for natural diversity, something that doesn't involve being in a specific setting, or something super dark, or at least that's my opinion on things. If I've learned anything from the writing community, it is that this business is super subjective. I know that you hear that a lot from various agents and editors, but it's true. It's all about personal taste and opinions. The slush readers from pitchmadess have been going on about how they don't all agree on the same queries. I think things would be less interesting if they did. We wouldn't have the great variety of books we have now. Don't let a rejection discourage you.

It's all a matter of opinion.

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