QueryTracker Blog

Helping Authors Find Literary Agents

Monday, April 6, 2009

Today We'd Like to Interview YOU


Today we're going to do something a little different.

What: We want to interview you!
Where: We'll post our questions below, and you can answer in the comments section.
When: We'll be watching today's post April 6 through April 12th, so you can answer the questions anytime over the next week!  (You can also answer more than once, if you feel like it.)
Bonus: You can win a book just by commenting! We're going to do a drawing from among commenters for Steve Weber's fantastic marketing book, Plug Your Book! Online Book Marketing for Authors.  (Even better, Steve's going to join us on April 23rd for an interview and even more book giveaways!)

Ok, let's get started!

Question 1:  What do you like to write?  What do you like to read? Tell us a little bit about yourself!

A few months ago, we asked for suggestions for future posts.  We'd like to take this opportunity to do that again.

Question 2:  What do you want to see the QueryTracker Bloggers write about?  What have we covered that you'd like to see us talk more about?  What areas haven't we covered that you want us to address?

Question 3: If you could interview anybody in publishing, whether that be an author, an agent, or someone else, who would that be?  Why?  (Yes, we're asking you to name names here.)

QueryTracker.net Blog is going to start interviewing the kinds of professionals we asked about in the question above, so we want to know...

Question 4:

a. What questions would you like us to ask the fiction-representing agents we interview?  


b. What questions would you like us to ask the nonfiction-representing agents we interview?  


Question 5: 
a. What questions would you like us to ask the fiction writers we interview?  (Please feel free to ask genre-specific questions, or even to add questions for particular writers. You never know, we might be planning to talk with them!)

b. What questions would you like us to ask the nonfiction writers we interview? (Think about what kinds of nonfiction writers you'd like us to talk to.  For example, Steve Weber is going to talk about marketing.  But what other kind of nonfiction authors would you like us to interview?  People who teach you to put together proposals?  People who write how-to books?  And so on.  What would you ask them?)


Question 6:  What haven't we asked you that you wish we had?  Answer that question, too!


Thanks in advance, everyone!  We're looking forward to reading your answers!

20 comments:

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Oh no! You mean I have to actually think and not just absorb your wonderful advice. :D

Mandy said...

If I could ask an agent a question right now, I'd ask about trends. What is the trend that agents are looking for right now? YA is hot, but what else? Paranormal, espionage, historical romance, horror - what is projected to be the 'next big thing' in publishing?

Brian said...

Wow! What a first comment on QueryTracker. A contest!.

1.I like to write what I like to read: Middle grade or YA Fantasy, like Harry Potter, Eragon, 13th Reality, or Farworld. And that's a lot of what I do. I read a lot, and write occasionally. I also use the internet a lot, and I love to fence (epee).

3. I'd want to interview JK Rowling for writing tips. She's probably pretty hard to get though.

5a. I'd want to read information about future books, analysis of current books, and writing tips from fantasy authors.

Angela said...

Question 1: What do you like to write? What do you like to read? Tell us a little bit about yourself!

I like to write about sarcastic, witty characters. I write pretty much anything that is a melding pot of funny, adventurous, scary or different.

Reading, I love a great plot. I LOVE reading something unique-- Savvy, The Hunger Games, The Lightning Thief...anything with new ideas or great, genuine voices.

Question 2: What do you want to see the QueryTracker Bloggers write about? What have we covered that you'd like to see us talk more about? What areas haven't we covered that you want us to address?

I'd like to see more about author platform, especially for writers with a great product (especially NF) but who have a small platform.

More interviews with eds from different houses--what they see too much of, what they want to see more of, what is selling and what suprising trends are emerging that maybe they didn't see coming. Too, I'd like to see more about where things are headed--is the recession the death of the advance, what does it mean for publisher promotion, etc.

Question 3: If you could interview anybody in publishing, whether that be an author, an agent, or someone else, who would that be? Oh boy--so many choices. Um...Stephen King. I just adore the man, and feel like he's a tell-it-as-it-is type of guy. I think any advice or perspective from an icon like him is pure platinum.

Question 4:

a. What questions would you like us to ask the fiction-representing agents we interview?


What they typically see as a response to agented submissions. Are they read right away, do they have to nudge in order for them to be read, how long does it take to hear back, how an agent decides when to push for an auction, why so many deals are pre-empted and how that can be better than going to auction...stuff like that.


b. What questions would you like us to ask the nonfiction-representing agents we interview? Building platforms

Question 5:
a. What questions would you like us to ask the fiction writers we interview? (Please feel free to ask genre-specific questions, or even to add questions for particular writers. You never know, we might be planning to talk with them!)


I'm going to stay away from the 'usual stuff'. How about what was hardest for them, did they ever lose hope, if they did, what got them back on track, what inspired them, did they ever fear success, what was the darkest moment and the brightest moment, what is the favorite/most memorable thing a fan has ever written to them...


b. What questions would you like us to ask the nonfiction writers we interview? (Think about what kinds of nonfiction writers you'd like us to talk to. For example, Steve Weber is going to talk about marketing. But what other kind of nonfiction authors would you like us to interview? People who teach you to put together proposals? People who write how-to books? And so on. What would you ask them?)

Whether they sold on proposal, the timeline to have the book ready, promotion from the publisher, creating a solid online presense, the most helpful marketing advice they received, etc.

Question 6: What haven't we asked you that you wish we had? Answer that question, too!

Maybe, "Why do you do this (writing/striving for publication)?"

For me the answer beyond the 'because I love writing' would be that I want to show my children that if you have a dream, to never give up on it, no matter how long you have to work for it or how long it takes.

Suzette Saxton said...

Wow, these are some great questions! I have one of my own I'd like to add.

I have heard that it is nearly impossible to break into the picture book market, especially for first time authors. Is this true?

Deana said...

I like to write what I like to read, which is Christian romance. Nothing better. I like it to be funny but not over the top campy like so much is today.

I'd like to interview Karen Kingsbury and James Patterson. Sorry, couldn't choose.

I'd like more information about writing for television. I want to create, write, and produce television and have no idea where to start.

Lady Glamis said...

Question 1: What do you like to write? What do you like to read? Tell us a little bit about yourself!

I like to write contemporary fiction. Mostly suspense/women's/literary.

I like to read the same stuff I write, plus all the classics.

I'm a stay at home mom, writer, blogger, and photographer. I love the Internet, chocolate, popcorn, and chips. Yeah, lots of junk stuff.


Question 2: What do you want to see the QueryTracker Bloggers write about? What have we covered that you'd like to see us talk more about? What areas haven't we covered that you want us to address?

You already do a fine job of this! You blog about things that matter to most writers, and your posts are clear and helpful.

Maybe an area you could address are writer's conferences. I've always wondered about those.


Question 3: If you could interview anybody in publishing, whether that be an author, an agent, or someone else, who would that be? Why? (Yes, we're asking you to name names here.)

If I had to just pick one I suppose it would be John Grisham. I know that sounds weird, but he is a great author I admire a lot.


Question 4:

a. What questions would you like us to ask the fiction-representing agents we interview?


Is it true that people who know you have a better chance of being represented? And if not, do you feel that some agents may do this?

Do you often choose to represent works that only you would personally read and enjoy or do you aim to represent works that you know will sell, even if you don't like them?

Question 5:
a. What questions would you like us to ask the fiction writers we interview? (Please feel free to ask genre-specific questions, or even to add questions for particular writers. You never know, we might be planning to talk with them!)


How do you know when your manuscript is really finished?

How much editing do you do? And how long does it take you to write a novel (completely polished).

J.N. Future Author said...

Ok, here are my own comments ^.~ I hope by the end it doesn't get too long!

1) Honestly, I like reading more Fantasy & Fiction than anything else. Something with lots of imagination!

I like to write fantasy because it allows me to create my own worlds, laws, plants, ect. but I also like writing fiction because it allows me to write about a fictional character using the guidelines of earth.

Among my top 5 favorite books are: Maze Runner, Three Secrets, The Belgariad Series, Pendragon, Golden Compass Series (His Dark Materials).

2) Uh, I think if this blog would offer snippets of Queried stories, you would get alot more followers.

Also, most people honestly don't know what a Query is, or why the would want to seek it out. I still am not exactly sure what a Query is.

Lastly, the site looks too...professional? It looks complicated, and most likely scares off anyone that would want to read anything.

3) The author I would like to talk to most is David Eddings. He has a wonderful imagination, and his books are usually very clean!

Among his books are The Belgariad series. Originally, his books were my number 1 top favorite series I had ever read.

4) I would like to ask an off-topic question: Has the recent down-turn of the economy affected your job? I know publishers are being limited, but wouldn't that mean you would want an agent even more?

5) A question in general to authors:
-Why did you want to write?
-Did you have an author-hero?
-What do you think about the people that totally and completely bash your story and call it garbage?

6) Do you think Adam & Eve had bellybuttons? ^.~

Thanks!

Wiggy said...

1. I like to write YA. I prefer there to be a fantasy element. I like to read YA also, though I like all types of YA. Thirdly, I am a mom with three kids who doesn't get to write nearly as much as she wants! My 7yo is begging me to write something for her, so maybe I'll try my hand at chapter books???

2. I want to see more agent involvement on the blog, if possible. Also, I wouldn't mind more query help blogs!

3. I would like to read interviews by people in the literary world who know what the up and coming "thing" is. I also like hearing about the road to getting published for first time authors.

4. What's hot now? What will be in the near future? How do we get agents to look beyond the query letter? Is it possible to do YA without the "Edgy" element? As for non fiction??? No clue.

5. How did you get your main character? What inspired you to write your book? How long did it take to get an agent? To write your book? How many books did you write before you found an agent for your first published work? Do you have a hard time focusing on the mundane while writing?

6. ???

Archetype said...

I just want to thank everyone who's posted so far -- lots of GREAT information! And we're looking forward to hearing from more of you, so keep posting!

Angie said...

1. I write sci-fi mostly, and some fantasy. It's been short fiction for many years, but I'm getting back into novels now. I love to read sci-fi and fantasy, too, but my current book is Fighter Combat: Tatics and Maneuvering -- for research purposes.

2. I think more posts about writing basics are always good. The interviews are fun and helpful.

3. I can't think of anyone specific.

4a. What they are looking for right now; how to stand out in the slushpile.

5a. I'd like to know why they got into writing, how they get their inspiration, and how many rejections they've collected.

6. Well, can't think of anything here.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

What do you like to write? What do you like to read? Tell us a little bit about yourself!

I write YA urban fantasy and paranormal for girls 14 and older with romance as either a major element or as a subplot. These are the books I like to read as well. Go figure. I also love Jane Austen.

I’m a stay at home mom, blogger, photographer, and chocoholic (hmmm . . . Lady Glamis could be my twin sister ;0) ).

If you could interview anybody in publishing, whether that be an author, an agent, or someone else, who would that be? Why? (Yes, we're asking you to name names here.)


Agents from smaller agencies/boutiques who rep YA (but not just contemporary). Sorry, I don’t have specific names in mind. Maybe Marlene Stringer.
Authors: Lisa McMann, Melissa Marr, Claudia Gray, Richelle Mead, Libba Bray, Bethany Griffin, Stephenie Meyer, Cassandra Clare, Ann Brashares


What questions would you like us to ask the fiction-representing agents we interview?


With the economic slow down as it is, are you signing fewer new clients and focusing on the ones you already have? Has it slowed you down in responding to queries and requested partials/fulls from potential clients? How do you feel about status queries on queries or requested materials? What is your view on YA urban fantasies and paranormals? Are they fading away as some agents are suggesting or do they continue to be hot? What is too edgy in YA? If you are interested in a YA novel, but you feel it might be too edgy or too romantic, would they pass on it, or suggest it be toned down and sign the author?


What questions would you like us to ask the fiction writers we interview?


Did you find an agent quickly or was it a slow process? What kept you going through the rejections/the long waits (both on the agent side of things and with publishers)? What factors helped shape your voice and style? What kind of things helped improve your writing? For Cassandra specifically, how do you come up with such incredible metaphors and similes? What are your writing strengths and weaknesses? With the latter, what did you do to overcome them?

I'll get back to you if I come up with more questions :0)

'Shroom said...

Question 1: I like to write fantasy. I like to read just about anything besides stuffy history books.

Question 2: I would like to see snippets of success stories, all the important details I want to hear about what is going on in the writing lives of the blog authors. The basics, like what the crap is a query?

Question 3: Gary Paulsen because he's totally awesome.

Question 5:
a. Gary Paulsen writes both NF and fiction, so I want to know which one he liked writing better.

Question 6: How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Ritu said...

1. I like to write YA/Mid Grade fantasy. I like to read bestsellers and new releases in a variety of fiction genres, including thriller/ crime/ general bestseller/ YA fantasy/ any type of children's book.

2. Recent big publishing deals - especially for 'unknown' or first-time authors, and the $ amounts of the sales. Also, I would like to learn how many books of best-selling titles are sold.

What is the next BIG idea that YA agents and publishers are looking for right now?

3. JK Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, Neil Gamain. Their agents.

4. What is the next big thing in YA publishing? Currently, it is vampires, were-wolves, zombies.

How does an agent decide whether a manuscript merits a bidding war? What are the 5 big $ amounts that bidding wars have ended at, each quarter? What are the genres of these titles - e.g. YA Fantasy vampires.

5.a. Ask a "break-through" novelist/and their agent, when and how they knew that their novel was going to break through? What process did the writing take? How long did it take them to write the first complete draft, the 2nd draft, and how long did they leave the script alone?

5.b. What ideas are selling really well right now in non-fiction?

6. What is the next big idea? What are publishers paying big bucks for? Yes Audrey Niffenegger's next novel. But are any first-time novelists winning publisher attention and bids?

QT is doing a great job! You guys are the best. Keep it up.

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

This is a great way to interview your readers. I love finding blogs that are a little different from what everyone else is already doing.

To answer the first question, I write historical fiction. My debut novel, Highland Blessings, will be released May 2010.

shorty411 said...

I'm not going to answer all the questions, whew, they're long, but here goes:

Question 1: I also like to write what I like to read, YA urban fantasy, paranormal, literary, pretty much anything YA.

Question 2: I'd really like to see more posts on World Building. Specifically as it applies to both fantasy and urban fantasy. Not, like how to come up with ideas, etc., although that'd be fine, but more like pacing, how you weave in the world building aspects seamlessly, how you decide what aspects of the world absolutely need to be in the story and that sort of thing without info dumping. I've read Orson Scott Card's book on Scifi/fantasy world building and it was helpful, but there was only a small chapter on what actually goes into the writing of the world building, it delved more into how to create the world itself.

Question 3: I'd love an interview with agent Jodi Reamer. There just aren't that many out there and I'd love an interview with her that didn't focus on Twilight and Stephenie Meyer.

Question 5a: Again, I'd love it if you could ask fiction writers more about how they weave in their world building into their stories.

Thanks QueryTracker!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'd also like an interview from Jodi Reamer and Catherine Drayton. I understand Jodi hasn't evaluated potential clients for quite some time (this news comes from her assistant regarding partials and fulls), so my previous questions are especially relevant to her (though I'm sure they're true for most agents).

This post is a great idea, btw.

redplume said...

Question for fiction-representing agents: If I were your client (historical romance) and open to new ideas, what would you recommend I write for my next book? (Genre, subgenre, hook)

Archetype said...

I just spent some time reading through your comments so far. I'm learning so much! Keep 'em coming!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Oooh, I have another question for authors. Most people, including writers, think that once you land an agent, your book is guaranteed to be published. Sadly that's not so (as a writer friend of mine recently discovered). What I'd like to know from authors, is if this has ever happened to them. Did they write a book that an agent was eager to represent, but it never sold? If it was their first book, what happened to their author/agent relationship? How did they move on?