Pre Pitch Wars Giveaway!

In honor of the upcoming Pitch Wars, I’m doing a mini-giveaway. This is in part a test run of Rafflecopter (or rather a test run for me to see if I’m smart enough to use Rafflecopter) so that I can host bigger giveaways in the future. I have some books that want to be given away (maybe when the blog reaches 200 followers).

My apologies for the fact that WordPress does not take Javascript (I think that’s why my techie friend said it wouldn’t just display the Rafflecopter thing on the blog page). Anyway, here’s the link to the giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Q&A Sending Revisions?

I recently received this question from a reader. If you have a question related to agenting (or writing, or really any  publishing related. My experience is fairly diverse.) feel free to send it to me at

Q: I’ve had two agents request my full manuscript (yippee!). Agent One turned it down with feedback. I’ve done some revisions based on her notes. Should I resend the updated manuscript to Agent Two or will that pester him?

A: Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s an easy answer for this one, as I think it would depend a lot on the individual agent and what they want. The short answer, what I would probably do in the situation, is hold off on sending the updated version.

At some point, Agent Two will email (or call you) back. That would be a good time to casually mention that you’ve made some changes to the manuscript. If Agent Two also says no to the book, he’ll probably also give you feedback (I can’t guarantee this, but I believe most agents you take the time to make comments on a full, even if they’re not interested in it). If the feedback is similar to Agent One’s feedback, you can mention that you have updated the manuscript and politely ask if the agent is interested, though there’s a good chance he will decline. Worth asking, though.
Even if Agent Two wants to represent the manuscript, there’s a good chance he’ll want revisions anyway, and that’s also a good time to talk about the changes you made for the other agent.
Hopefully that helps. Good luck!

Query Critique 15

Dear Ms. Nelson,

Melissa Stratten puked on a senior basketball player while hooking up, and nobody will stop whispering about it. This is a great hook. I would include her age. Is she a senior? Or was this basketball player older than her?  Even worse her mom’s ex-boyfriend stole her college money.  Now she has to find a way to pay for college or else she’ll never get out of Valley Pines. Maybe just clarify that she needs to get out of Valley Pines because the puking thing was so humiliating.

When her best friend Jack, the school drug dealer, suggests they create an app based on school scandals, an ostracized Melissa is all for exacting revenge on her classmates. The app, Chaos, anonymously unveils the hottest dirt to everyone at school, gives Melissa a way to make some cash, and shows off her design skills to colleges.  It’s epic. I am a little confused as to what the app actually does. Like it just tells users about scandals? Do Melissa and Jack have to find the scandals for the app? This is really the only part of the query that is confusing to me.

Then Melissa finds out Jack wants to use Chaos to release a sex tape of a student and a teacher, who knows about his dealing. If Melissa doesn’t go along with Jack, she can spare a girl’s reputation–like she wishes someone spared hers.

But, the more Melissa pushes Jack to kill Chaos, the more paranoid and threatening he becomes, pinning the entire app, and the video on her. Melissa has to stop Jack before she ends up expelled, in jail, and kissing her college dreams goodbye.

IF ONLY YOU KNEW, is a 60,000 word YA contemporary novel.  It will appeal to fans of ABC’s Revenge for it’s theme of betrayal and The Social Network for it’s This should be its without the apostrophe  intellectual property battle.  Thank you for your consideration.


Master Condor


I talked with the author a little before the query was submitted because the material is grittier. Now, plenty of grittier YA books get published (Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, Ellen Hopkins Crank). But it is important to be aware that it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Not that anything is everyone’s cup of tea, but you know what I mean.

Like with anything else, this requires some research. I’ve seen agents who specifically say they like edgy stuff and some who specifically say they avoid it. If an agent doesn’t specifically say, it’s good to look at what other books the agent represents.

Overall, though, a solid query. Lots of good conflict.

Let’s Talk Trends

When it comes to publishing, trends can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Sometimes a book will get really hot and there will be a honeymoon period where everyone is looking for that type of book. Then the market gets over-saturated and nobody wants it.

YA dystopia is the best example of this that I can think of. Obviously, The Hunger Games was a mega success. In it’s wake followed Divergent, The Maze Runner, Matched, Legend, The Selection, and Delirium. All books that did very well, and that’s not a comprehensive list.

So if you happened to be querying a dystopia just as Hunger Games was taking off, you had a nice advantage. Everyone wanted books like that. Now, everyone is over the craze. I won’t say YA dystopia never sells anymore, because I think it still does. Especially if the premise is unique. But it is hard to sell.

I don’t really believe you can write towards trends. Contemporary is hot right now, but if you were to start writing contemporary today, the fad would probably be over before you have a chance to query (which, again, isn’t to say they’ll stop publishing contemporary. But it won’t be the hot thing anymore).

Basically, write what you love. And if you hit the downward end of a trend, write another book (always write another book). Save the first one for when that particular type of book rolls back into style (genres are sort of like fashion that way. Remember when 80s styles were suddenly in vogue again? And now 50s vintage is all the rage? I think. I don’t actually know that much about clothes).

And don’t worry if you’re book isn’t in the genre that’s hot either. Maybe everyone says they’re looking for a certain thing, and your book isn’t that thing. That’s okay. Agents and editors aren’t usually looking exclusively for one thing. They’re looking for what’s hot right now, but also for the next big thing. And sometimes they don’t even know they’re looking for something until they find it.

So basically, screw trends. Just keep writing.