Sunday, January 11, 2015

Week in Review

On Monday's blog post I made mention of the 38 queriers waiting forme to read their fulls. That garnered quite a round of sympathy from the comments column.

Sadly, those people are going to wait a while longer because there isn't a lot of reading time on the date book this month. January is busy!

Mostly we're getting ready to move next door. None of our contact info will change which makes this the easiest move I've ever had even before it starts. Painting commenced on Friday, and proceeded on Saturday, and continues today. I love the smell of primer in the morning!

These pictures got posted on my Facebook page first. You do know about my Facebook page, right?

On Tuesday when we talked about things getting too twisted, it was interesting to see  this is not a fixed point on the Ewww barometer. What's "too much" can vary both with the reader and the writer. I often struggle with the idea of violence as entertainment, particularly on days like Wednesday when the violence is all too real.

On Wednesday I ranted about people not using the guidelines to write their queries. I'm absolutely convinced after 18 months of Chum Bucket that the people who don't follow the directions when they query haven't even read them, or maybe not even looked for them. The people who ARE paying attention are almost universally giving me what I need to evaluate their queries. I guess the question now becomes, how do you get people to read the directions first?

Thursday was just filled with sorrow as the news from Paris became bleaker and bleaker. The question that keeps coming back to me is the moment on the street when the attackers forced someone to open the door. Masked men with automatic weapons….would you open the door? I have no idea if I would. I can't imagine being that scared.

And all through the week, the work continued. I always laugh when people say things like "you read queries all day" or "must be nice to be able to read all day." Here's the partial list of things I did this week, things that are the core business of an agent, and the things no one ever really talks about:

1. Auditing royalty statements. Did the correct rate get charged on ebooks? Did the reserve for returns held back on the last statement get accounted for on this statement.

2. Making sure royalty statements are sent. Some smaller publishers get behind like everyone else. My job is to make sure they don't forget entirely.

3. Hatching plans for a non-fiction proposal.

4. Helping a client build a blog

5. Calling editors who've changed jobs recently to catch up on what's on their wish list at the new place.

6. Discussing flap copy with editors and clients.

7. Soliciting blurbs for upcoming books

8. Negotiating contracts

There are some really terrific questions coming up on the blog next week and a couple that really got me jumping up and down.

See you Monday for contest results!


Kitty said...

how do you get people to read the directions first?

Maybe you could add "Read the directions" on the rejection.

stacy said...

I first read number 4 as "Helping a client build a dog." o.O

DLM said...

Kitty, honestly, I kind of love that. :) People will feel personally stung, but the lesson would get through (to the right authors ... then again, there'd be hell to pay with the Special Snowflakes ...).

Stacy, that too is awesome.

Amy Schaefer said...

More useful would be helping a dog build a client - then you wouldn't need queries at all.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

"Must be nice to be able to read all day."

Ah, the smell of sour grapes in the morning.

Congrats on the new Shark Tank. Was the old one too gnawed on? The walls too stained with writers' tears?

Looking forward to next week's questions.


Colin Smith said...

@DLM: Hello, Diane! Your blog was unusually quiet this week. I hope everything's okay.

@Everyone else: I mentioned this past week that I'm concerned people read "old advice" in otherwise great craft books like ON WRITING and think, "If Stephen King said this is how I should query, then what else do I need to know?" I have to say, that's the only semi-legitimate case of not reading the rules I can come up with. Only semi, though, since people should know better and check the agents/agencies for current guidelines.

As for the agent's work, I think the Barbara Poelle quote from the latest Writer's Digest is worth repeating:

"Saying an agent only finds a publisher and negotiates a contract is kind of like saying a spouse just buys you a ring and then hangs out with you until you're dead."

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Painting walls is therapeutic. Like folding towels, stacking wood and praying, it can be done while experiencing mindless inner dialog which sooths the soul and calms a busy mind. Stack of towels, nice neat wood pile, dialog with God, gets your world in order.

Would I open the door? I have no idea if I would, but regardless, I’d probably pee my pants.

Our world of late: Paris, Nigeria, Syria, just breaks my aching heart.

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Cheers, Can't wait for the upcoming questions that make a shark jump up and down. I hope I spew coffee all over my computer screen and pee my pants laughing.

@stacy another dyslexic, if so welcome to the club? at least you didn't put the g first and the d last.

Thomas Andrew Green said...

@Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli, is a club for the dyslexic a bulc?

JennyC said...

I was an indie bookseller for 17 years and I heard a lot of "must be nice to be able to read all day" too. Ha ha!

Anonymous said...

I'll repeat, when do you have time to eat, bathe, or sharpen your teeth? I mean, holy all that is moly, and I thought I did a lot in one day, but you make me look as if I'm standing still.

The week in retrospect (aside from reading this blog) was very sad. The woman at the door, from what I recall, had to open it with a security code. Oh, the anguish of such a decision. What overwhelming grief and guilt. I'm sure no one is thinking ill of her. Who can say what any of us would do.

Anyone remember the smell of those test papers back in the day when our teachers used to have one of us go and run copies on the mimeograph? The purplish ink, and the paper still damp and smelling so good. That and paint primer. Long as we're not huffing glue, all's good.

Can't wait for the blog next week and the jumping up and down of The Shark!

And boy, some of those entries! A very talented crowd left their mark again.

Alice said...

thumbs up Keep up the good work.

No. I didn't know you had a Facebook page, and I have liked it.

David Edgerley Gates said...

In re Paris, it's reported they threatened the woman's kid.

french sojourn said...

She was "Brutally threatened", which I would imagine was in the form of the cowardly terrorists placing business end of automatic pistol to daughters cranium.
Yes I would have opened the door if it afforded me the opportunity to have my daughter continue to breathe fresh air.

I imagine her life is shattered, thinking back to her opening that door to hell. I just pray people leave her alone other than to comfort her in some way.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

People say that to us at the library: "It must be nice to sit around read all day." They look confused when I agree with them.

Protip: if you work at the library, especially at the first desk, you do not get to sit around and read all day. You have other, y'know, work to do.

Anonymous said...

Miss Janet,

Congratulations on the new digs. I'm so very pleased for you all. Is the beige on the walls the new color? I confess I was hoping for shark gray.

I follow a lot of agents and editors on twitter, as well as peruse they various writing hashtags. It amazes me how many times agents talk about, "pass, didn't follow directions and I'm not opening that attachment." Then you get something like, "I know you said not to send attachments, but it's easier this way."

Agents reject for all kinds of reasons, too close to something I have (been there, done that--weeps), I'm tired of WWII stuff, I don't like southern fiction, don't like straight male mc, must have strong female characters, I can't sell anything with a ghost in it right now, and the list goes on and these are things not listed on websites. Me, being the curious sort, checked to see. It's all subjective. Even if every single element of your story is exactly what an agent is looking for, the story has to pull them in.

Why on earth would anyone shoot themselves in the foot by not following a few, simple directions? The little gray cells, they boggle.

Re Paris, I've had to stop watching the news. It makes me too furious when people make excuses for the jihadists. I'm sick of making excuses for this bs and the political correct nonsense that just gets people killed. My son was in Iraq when they changed to the new winning the hearts and minds rules of engagement. Commanders tried to explain why changing convoy routes they could patrol to remote roads just to avoid driving through villages and raising dust was a bad thing, to no avail. So, a base that hadn't been attacked and convoy routes that hadn't been attacked in two years went, overnight, to six good men dead in six weeks. We have no idea how many more were lost after that because Will redeployed home and he didn't keep contact with the new unit as it was too depressing to know.

Anyway, rant off.

Would I open the door? Probably not. I would assume they were going to shoot me and my child as soon as they got in anyway. It might not have made a difference in this case, but it would be nice if there was some code that could be punched in with the access number that would send an alarm to the police. Of course, with unarmed police, not sure what good it would do.

The Barbara Poelle quote is spot on about agents. I recently changed phone numbers and wondered if I should contact the agents who have fulls to let them know. I ponder these kinds of things...for days. With one exception, I decided not to because I figured the agents had enough mail to wade through without bugging them. The one I did gave me instructions to let them know if anything changed or if I got an offer.

And in other news, I've discovered I cannot write a novel with the snowflake method. My mind completely revolted at the idea.