Secret Agenting

April 20th, 2009 • Kate

hitchcock_secret_agentIn addition to going through a bunch of my own queries for Queryday last week, I also made a secret guest appearance on Miss Snark’s First Victim as her monthly Secret Agent. Authoress, aka the aforementioned first victim of Miss Snark, opened submissions early in the week and posted 50 first pages — about 250 words each. Over the course of the week, I looked at each submission and made my own comments, naming the winners today.

Much like Nathan Bransford’s Agent for a Day contest last week, I think events like this are a great way for authors — or anyone interested in what agents do — get a sense of what our days are like, workwise.

In looking at the other authors’ comments on the first pages on Authoress’ blog, the biggest thing I noticed was how often the readers remarked that they were “hooked.” I think many of them confused “hooked” with “curious,” and said as much. I may be curious about what’s going to happen in a story, but am I hooked? Do I NEED to know what happens next? Not all that often.

Out of the 50 first pages I looked at, I expressed further interest in 8 of them. This is a much higher percentage of requests than I normally make on queries, but I only specifically asked for material on two runners-up and one winner.

Want to play Secret Agent? Take a look at the 50 first pages on Authoress’ blog, without looking at the comments or the post with my winners, and see if your favorites match mine! (Start here, and click “newer post” at the bottom of each page after you’ve made your decision.) Let me know how you did in the comments below.

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4 Responses to “Secret Agenting”

  1. Karen Says:

    Oh darn, I've already looked at the ones you've requested so I can't play 🙁 I get email updates from Authoress's blog.

    Of the ones you chose, Control Issues caught my attention over the others. It's probably because it seems more my genre, but I did like Touching the Surface as well.

  2. dust Says:

    This is awesome.

    Lessons learned…So far, I see I give people about four-five sentences before I'm bored.

    Grammar issues are grating.

    I hate running into a plethora of weird names.

    Irony is good. I want to start off with character + action, not just action.


    After a series of pages without action, a page that handles action well is a breath of fresh air.

    People who talk down to MG audiences make my teeth grate (Hello? Remember fourth grade? You were SMARTER than that).

    I want to say I just don't care for women's fiction, but it's not true–but I know that's not true–but the women's fiction barely gets a sentence or two before I'm tired of it.

    Fiction vs. the moral of the story = give me fiction!

    Control Issues and No Pet is Worth All This! are the two I hope get published, so I can read the rest.

  3. D. Robert Pease Says:

    Since I was in the contest I can't play by the rules, but I can say that Touching the Surface was my favorite, before you posted your winners.

    I am working on my submission for you, I just need to get the synopsis in order. I hope to have something for you by the end of the week.

    Thanks for all your work with the contest, and for your kind thoughts about my entry.

  4. Jamie Harrington Says:

    I fell in love with 'Control Issues.' I am dying to know what happens in the rest of that story. I think it's just fabulous. I love the author's spin on things, and I think she has a real winner on her hands. To me, it seems like something you would rep. My guess is she has a spunky little picture somewhere to fit in with all the other super fun clients you have.

    I know you will sign this girl. Her writing's great and I need to hear the rest of the story. How could you not?