Ask Daphne! Speed Round!

January 28th, 2008 • Kate

It’s an exciting day around Unfeasible Enterprises, as boxes are piled around us and we wait for the movers to arrive. While we wait, let’s tackle some of your questions, shall we? Time for a SPEED ROUND!

For my romance writing, I know all about Romance Writers of America and page counts and such, but what about for novels for teens and pre-teens? Any associations you would recommend? What are the targeted page/word counts for such books?

SCBWI, baby. It’s THE organization for writers and illustrators of children’s books. Their boards are a fantastic place to get info on word counts, among other things — although I’d say 40- 50,000 words is a good estimate. Next!

Daphne, you mention in your bio that your interests include urban fantasy, yet on your submissions page that’s not a genre you’re looking to represent. Or am I reading your list wrong for “what we’re looking for”?

Our submissions page lists age ranges and categories rather than genres. Within YA and middle grade fiction, for instance, I’m looking for romance, mystery, adventure, and fantasy of all kinds. Urban fantasy, or magical realism, is one of my favorite genres to read, even if I’m not currently representing much.
Next, Ursula Unreasonable asks:

Can you please explain (perhaps with one or two egs) what you mean by ‘narrative non-fiction’?

Ursula, there may be a more specific definition I could look up online in two seconds, but basically I mean a true story, whether it’s an adventure, like Into Thin Air, a romance, like Around the World in 80 Dates, or a travelogue, like McCarthy’s Bar. It doesn’t need to the author’s own narrative, but it should read like a novel, even though it’s fact. Susan Orlean (The Orchid Thief, among others)is another great author of narrative nonfiction. Do my readers have any other great suggestions of narrative nonfiction?

From the time you accept a client, how many drafts does a manuscript go through before it becomes an actual published book?

First of all, even if the author’s done a lot of work on the book before sending it out to agents, I often request a revision before I sign them on. After that, say we send it out to editors, someone loves it and buys it, then there’s often another draft with the editor’s big picture comments, followed by a line edit for more specifics, then a copy edit and careful read of proofs before you get a book. That’s the pretty standard short form. Your experience may vary. Some authors, once they become giant bestsellers whose new books are trumpeted by sales and marketing departments as simply “the next Joe Bestseller!”, basically turn in a draft and it’s published. That’s rare though. You’re more likely to do more revisions than less.
Ok, we have time for one more!

I am wondering if you are accepting short story collections.

I have to say, without knowing anything more about the project, my gut reaction is no. Short story collections, even in adult publishing, are very difficult to place and promote. Even there, they’re usually sold in connection with a novel. Except for anthologies which are often put together by publishers, who then reach out to several authors for contributions, short story collections for teens and younger readers are almost nonexistent. Sorry!
Thanks for tuning into the speed round, folks. Back to some more detailed question-answering soon.

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2 Responses to “Ask Daphne! Speed Round!”

  1. Caryn Says:

    Whew! I think I'm out of breath from reading all of that! Thanks for the great info.

  2. Alyson Says:

    IN COLD BLOOD– one of my favorite narrative non-fiction works. . .
    Good luck with the move!