Open Thread

September 9th, 2009 • Kate

threadI know I keep teasing you with news to come, but I don’t want this blog to be all teases, or even all news. What I love is when we come together on a topic and actually converse. To that end, I want to throw today’s blog post out to you. Call it an Open Thread, call it a chance to ask whatever you want of me, of my clients, of your fellow readers. Don’t want to stay on topic about publishing? No worries! Talk about anything you want: politics, celebrity crushes, the change in season and your urge to buy boots…

Like these: I want.

So. What’s on your mind?

Filed Under: Slushpile

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23 Responses to “Open Thread”

  1. Jeanie Says:

    I love series books. In fact, I'm kind of obsessed with them. I also (hiding) love if they're a vampire series with "real" romance between a legal male and female. Patiently waiting for the next Sookie Stackhouse. (Badly I might add) Are there any series books out there you can recommend to me? I'm going to be poolside in Mexico next month and would like a couple books to bring to read with my margarita.

  2. Kate Says:

    I love the "Undead" books by MaryJanice Davidson, about Betsy, Queen of the Vampires. Hot AND funny.

  3. Sherrie Petersen Says:

    People keep talking about the importance of having a platform. I can see why that's important for nonfiction. Do you think it matters for children's fiction? I mean, I don't imagine the 8-to-10-year-olds I write for are going to be checking out my blog. But I'm wondering how you see it as an agent.

  4. Kate Says:

    I don't think you need to worry about "platform" in order to sell a book to a publisher as a children's author. However, once you've done that and are working towards publication, I think it behooves you to build an active website and attempt to grow a community that will (hopefully) support you and your book!

  5. Becca Martin Says:

    Should I worry about building a following before I am published? On my website, I posted a partial of my manuscript and people are asking me for the whole thing. Should I hold off until I'm published, or would it help me to have more followers?

  6. Kate Says:

    I highly recommend against posting your entire manuscript to your blog — at any time. Find other ways to build followers — talk about your process, your self, your characters. Treat your blog as the "special features" on a DVD of your book. What can you add that makes the book better, without giving the story away?

    If you really must post your manuscript on your blog, consider that that's where it will remain. Which may work, if you want to do a special online exclusive novel, but not if your prmary goal is traditional publication.

  7. Leslie Ann Says:

    Okay excuse my teen lingo. Will not having the hook up with other authors and people in the publishing business make my query sound lame? You know. My bio is just a "blah blah is my first novel." do agents think that's uncool when they read the query. And if it is how does a seventeen year old wannabe author get the hook up. (Also that seventeen year old wannabe author has not really won any awards for writing stuff)

  8. Kate Says:

    Leslie Ann –

    You have to know that your query is looked at on the same scale as every other writer, many of whom don't have any publishing credentials either. You need to focus not on a connection with other writers, but on making your query stand out for its strong writing and catchy hook.

    I don't mean to pick on you, but a query, for example, is not the place for teen lingo. It's a professional letter and should be treated as such.

  9. Leslie Ann Says:

    Thank you. I know you were not picking on me but when it comes to queries and other things I am professional. Which comes to my next question. I have yet to send a synopsis to any agents. Though I have one completed, it’s bland. I’ve read in books and websites that I should write the synopsis in the same type of tone as the novel itself. I’m thinking about rewording it in the cute and slightly sarcastic tone my novel is written in. Would that be too unprofessional or is there another way to make my synopsis sound interesting?

  10. Casey McCormick Says:

    I need a new pair of boots!

    My blog is growing and very much geared towards writers. I know I'm getting ahead of myself here, but, if I publish in the future, what is the best course of action for my blog? Get rid of it, transition it, or keep it and create another blog for my YA reader base? I'm afraid the writing community would be disappointed if I discontinued it.

    Any thoughts? Oh, and what's your all-time favorite pair of shoes? I've wondered for some time now.

  11. Anna Says:

    I'm mildly depressed because although I am used to query rejections, I may have allowed myself to get a little excited at a full manuscript request (my first!) but just got it back and it was rejected…so again I am back to being depressed :).

  12. Anna Says:

    Am wondering if I should just hold off on querying anymore until the economy picks up, because once you've queried agents with one project and been rejected you can't query them again…but maybe part of the rejection is the economy??

  13. Brillig Says:

    Okay, and for me, along the same lines as Casey's question sorta, I've been blogging for nearly three years and my blog has become quite popular, receiving many hundred hits every day. But it has nothing (or very little, anyway) to do with my writing, and while a lot of writers read it, it's not at all geared towards the writing community. It's just a personal blog, but it's done very well. Anyway… as I embark on this journey of YA novelist, do I need to change the blog? Start a new one and keep it separate from the other? Is it okay for an author to use a personal blog (one free of political rants or religious proselytizing or interminable photos of my children, of course) as her "web presence" or should her blog be strictly professional?

  14. ChristaCarol Says:

    Leslie Ann, I think having your voice in the synopsis is best! Also, you should really check out (click on forums), there is a great community there full of help, answers, a plethora of info, plus you can post things like your synopsis or query for them to shred a part (in a good way, tastefully done, but building thick skin in this biz is a must, I say).

    I've noticed the trend of book to movie has grown. I half-wonder if it has anything to do with (or started with) the writer's strike and then just sort of kept going from there?

  15. beth Says:

    I like Casey's question–my blog is all about writing, and while fellow writers have built a network around it, I'm not sure if it would be worthwhile to keep it if I get published–I think readers might expect a different blog from writers. Then again, as a reader, I was always fascinated with how books came to be, so perhaps this won't matter… (and besides, it IS putting the cart a bit before the horse anyway)

  16. Kate Says:

    So many great comments! Keep 'em coming! And do continue to feel free to answer your fellows as well. I'm just one voice here, y'all.

    Leslie Anne, ChristaCarol has a great suggestion about working on your synopsis. Go for it! Having one in the style of your boook can work really well — so long as you follow my main rule of thumb in a synopsis: Tell the whole story.

    For Casey, Brillig, and Beth — it's hard to answer generally, but I feel like if you've devoted your time and energy to building a presence around a blog about writing, it makes sense to grow that community. Once you've got a book deal, consider building a website with your own domain name that has multiple links — to your writing blog for other writers, and to kid-friendly links for your readers. The best blogs are devices to showcase your personality — in any case, let it shine!

    And P.S. to Casey — they may take away my girlie shoes seal of approval, but I love Love LOVE my Blundstone boots (I wear the 550s. I wear them everywhere in the winter. And they're brilliant for dancing — by which I mean Tap Dog style, of course. (No idea what I'm talking about? Go here)

  17. Kate Says:

    Anna –

    If you truly feel you've exhausted all the agents you can with one manuscript, I don't advise holding off on an economic basis. Instead, be working on the next book, so that when that's ready, you have something NEW to query about.

    Even in bad economies, people still buy books. And agents still sell them.

  18. Anna Says:

    Daphne, I know you've told us before on a few of your live-query posting, but is there anything in particular you'd like to see? Is there some genre you think is saleable that you're just not seeing queries for? I'd be interested to hear!

  19. Kate Says:

    For ChristaCarol, who asks if there's a correlation between movie deals for books and the writers' strike: no, that has nothing to do with it. See, writers still have to write the screenplay. So if there's a strike — they're not going to work.

    Anyway, I'm not sure that there are any more books being made into movies. I think you may just be noticing more. Although, some could argue that Hollywood is being kinda derivative lately — but I'd rather have books made into movies than another remake we don't need.

  20. ChristaCarol Says:

    Interesting point, hah, now I feel foolish asking that, I didn't even think of the screenwriters having to adapt. Duh. But I agree, I'd rather have books made into one than remakes.

    Holy cow my baby is about to crawl! Totally random, but had to share, she's up on her knees. I'm in for it now.

  21. Karen Says:

    Drop in on my blog and vote on my Penname! Thanks 😀

  22. Kate Says:

    Anna –

    I feel like I'm still looking for some great mysteries, a la Veronica Mars, but otherwise, I'm still open to any genre within the YA and MG age ranges!

  23. Casey McCormick Says:

    Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions, Kate! I bet those Blundstone boots are really comfy and durable. And wow! Do YOU dance Tap Dog style?