experience, attitude, enthusiasm, and boundless optimism

A New Start! (and a look back)

I’m standing at what feels like a fresh new start, even though we’ve been running now for over a year (and I went through 410 posts this weekend updating tags to prove it!). But having a new site, both visually and on the back end, where the technical stuff and webmonkey resides, feels like a new beginning. A commencement, so to speak.

And so, as one often does at a commencement ceremony, I wanted to take a look back. As I mentioned, I went through all my old posts this past weekend, making sure most of the pictures worked, and updating the tags so you can do an easy search for all my “advice” posts, or ones with links to interviews. And though I like to think I’ve had some readers with me since the beginning, others are more recent additions to my online following. For them, and because I liked reading them, I’m going to post a week of reposts. Don’t worry, there’ll be new stuff too, but all this week, you can look forward to a dumpster dive through the kt literary archives, where we’re hoping we will find some true gems. Like this one:

No Means No… Unless It Doesn’t

It’s a fact of the Agenting business that if we want to ever do anything with our time other than respond to queries, we often have to send form responses. Sometimes, this is enough. I’ve done my best to craft a thoughtful form response that is generic enough to send to most of the people who send queries — occasionally I’ll edit it for a more personal response, and if circumstances change, I may toss it entirely for a different generic response.

And many times, a writer may receive one of our responses and think, “But WHY?”

Unfortunately, in much the same way that I can’t respond more personally to every query, I can’t respond personally to every writer I’ve rejected who asks for a more detailed rejection. But I can give you some hints here.

Genre Did you email me about a densely plotted political thriller? Sorry, my first reaction is no. And this is a good thing — you want to find an agent that specializes in thrillers, or at least has a strong list of editorial contacts who publish thrillers. My favorite editors and I get together and talk about strappy shoes, pink faux-fur throw rugs, and wedding planning. Not the global ramifications of a errant terrorist with a nuclear bomb plotting to take over a post office in Clearwater, FL. No offense to Clearwater.

Familiarity You may have written a brilliant book in one of my genres, and you might have no way of knowing this, but it just so happens to be similar in style, or basic plot outline, or easy Hollywood pitch (Die Hard meets Gosford Park!) to a book I’ve already taken on. Around the time I signed Matthew Cody, I was getting a LOT of superhero themed stories. And while we hope there’s room in the bookstores for a delicious plethora of superhero novels, there’s not room in my small list.

There’s more, if you want to keep reading. Check it out!