Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Query question: there are two of us

Is it true that agents are less likely to say yes to queries for collaborated books? If so, why is that? 

Well, I don't think it is, but I will say that two authors means twice the hand holding, twice the email communication (mostly) and twice the work.

Each author is a client of the agency, thus each author has to be signed to a representations agreement, fill out their tax forms, get their 1099 at year end etc.

And books with two authors don't earn twice as much money.

That said, I've never turned something down because there were two authors.

On YOUR end however, you're going to want to make ironclad sure you've got a collaboration agreement in place before you do anything permanent like sign a contract.

Sorting out credit, payment, and promotion responsibility is something you want to discuss sooner rather than later.

I know that three-author anthologies are increasingly common in romance, but that's not collaboration. That's three separate authors writing three separate novellas. Three agents involved too.  The one time I've watched that kind of cirucus unfold was pretty entertaining but mostly ok, since all the agents were good at their jobs.

It can go south VERY quickly if one of the authors is repped by a goofball. I've heard tell of that too.

If you intend to query as a duo, you BOTH sign the query:

Felix Buttonweezer
1 Kale Row
Carkoon 1 

Colin Smith
2 Kale Row
Carkoon 1

Please direct email to: Colin Smith

And you query from the email address you want the agent to use for the reply.



Amy Schaefer said...

Writing a book is hard enough on your own; I don't know how people manage to collaborate successfully. You must need a perfect mesh of personalities.

CynthiaMc said...

I tried it once for my Civil War trilogy. Other than the times we were ready to kill each other, it worked out mostly okay. My partner was an Army lieutenant colonel who wrote war games for a living. I didn't have time to do research. He had access to all the Army archives but his writing style was pretty dry. He wrote all the battle scenes. I wrote all the pretty stuff. We actually got a good response, looking back. Of course anything that wasn't "we love your book, we're making it into the next Gone With the Wind" was a total loss to me (I was a lot younger and used to winning.)

One of the agents we submitted to was Tom Clancy's. Unbeknownst to us, he sent it to Tom, who was a history buff. I ran into Tom in a writer's chat room. He complimented me on the book, said he loved it, and wished us luck. I didn't think it was really him. A mutual friend, who did his taxes and also wrote said "I do his taxes. It's really him."

The agent passed on the book, saying Civil War was a hard sell but asked me to send him something about Scotland. I started one but it ended up depressing and I don't usually do depressing so I never finished it. Years later, I'm kicking myself.

I don't know why I'm telling you all this except it's late, I have a migraine and I'm looking at things that years ago seemed like total disasters and going "Know what? You're a moron." I still love my Civil War debutante turned blockade runner and my Scottish lass on the run (set at hubby's clan castle).

I'm not doing another show until fall (and then two more after that). It's been years since I've written anything (full time jobs only leave so much time and acting has taken up most of it ). May give it another go and see what happens.

Laura Mary said...

Colin - I thought you and Felix were roomies, not neighbours.

What went wrong?

He steal your lima beans?

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Goofball Literary Agency just opened on Carkoon. Closed to queries, calls and all inquiries. Only open on days which do not end in Y.
Check out the author list. Very impressive because there isn't one.
Agent list, nadda.
The business model is taken from the best practices of our government.

Amy Schaefer said...

CynthiaMc, it is never too late. If you still love the story, finish it. If not, move on to something new. But don't give up. Even if you can only write in five-minutes snatches (and, boy, can I relate), if you love doing it, then it is worth doing.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

CynthiaMc, I too had a moronic-moment forty years ago. When I look back it was like the scene in Field of Dreams when Burt Lancaster (Doc/Archie Gram) talks about his dream of diving into third as a dream which brushes by like a stranger in a crowd. You think you'll have other chance. The sadness is that you don't know, when you are young, that there will be no other chances.
That's what happened to me and it sounds like the same happened to you.
I remade my writing-dream and have found a calmer and more satisfying kind of writing success. It took decades but I finally got it.
You can too you know.
Believe and write. Take time from the edges of your life. There's lots there to fill in the picture of what you want to be. Write because you love it. Write because it is who you are. Just fucking write.

french sojourn said...

2N's; I love your line....

"Take time from the edges of your life."

brilliant imagery, header material even.

Cheers Hank

Unknown said...


I agree with Amy! Your steps taken don't expire. Perhaps the window of opportunity shrinks a bit, but I bet if you finished that Irish novel and resent it saying "Voila! I'm done with my book on Ireland!" That agent would remember you.

Books are powerful things. They stick with us. For all you know, that agent tells your story to others from time to time and says "Now it's been a few years and I just hope she finishes the damn thing..."

As to the OP, I wonder why two authors feels necessary? I can certainly think of some reasons (such as Cynthia's above) but not a ton of them.

In my mind, it's sort of like hiring a paid editor. I'd like to edit my book myself, even if it takes forever (with the help of betas of course), if only to learn the skills and rely on them later. Co-authoring for me personally would make me wonder if I even had the ability to finish a book anymore. Or if I'd lost it. Then again, I'm paranoid about that sort of thing. :)

Just something to consider.

Unknown said...

2Nns, you've just killed it. I mean like mic-drop walk-off-stage good-luck-following-me-up killed it.

And your statements remind me of fight club.

"The first rule of write-club is you never talk about write-club -- you just write!"

Julie said...

Brian - HA!
I have a hard enough time wrangling my OWN vioice under control; how could I ecer manage with someone else and their characters' voices as well?

Morning, Sharkbites!
Morning, Mom!
Look, I brought coffee and donuts!

Dena Pawling said...

I have enough trouble getting me, myself, and I to agree on edits. I shudder at the thought of adding another me, myself, and I to the mix. Getting all six of us to consent on a collaboration agreement sounds hard enough. On the actual manuscript? Those of you who can do that are way ahead of me.

CynthiaMc said...

Thanks y'all. I've never stopped writing, I just haven't sent much out (except for a screenplay that placed in the semi-finals of one contest and the finals if another one. And my blog and always my journals. Right now I'm just gathering up everything I stashed in various places through the years and seeing what I love and what I don't. I used to be a guest columnist for the paper and I'm looking for years of those columns as well. They're out in the garage somewhere.

Colin Smith said...

I'm a team player. Indeed, I'm possibly the most team-playery person I know. But there are some things that I can't imagine doing collaboratively--writing a novel being one of them. (Eating a bowl of milk-soggy refrigerated Co-Co Pops is another, but we can talk about my strange taste buds another time.) I suppose you could have one person write the protagonist POV, and another the antagonist POV, or something like that. But it seems like merging styles and coming up with something that has a unified voice would be a real challenge. My older brother and I once started a book together. I think I was about 10, and he was 13... somewhere around those ages. Anyway, it was a parody of Jack and the Beanstalk. I typed out the story on an old typewriter we had (I'm sure it was before I got a nice shiny new typewriter for my 15th birthday), he illustrated it. We never finished it. As my brother often confessed to me, he was terrible for having great ideas but never following through with them to the end. Between us, I didn't always have the best ideas, but at least I tended to finish what I started.

Okay, I can see this is going to be a rambly kind of day. Bear with us Janet--there will be rabbit trails! :)

Colin Smith said...

One question I have. I've noticed recently some big name authors who have been around for a while are publishing novels "with Some-Lesser-Dude." What's the deal with this? Is the Lesser Dude ghostwriting the novel, or is it a genuine collaboration wherein Lesser Dude is getting a break by having his name associated with Tom Clancey or someone like that? If Lesser Dude is ghostwriting the novel, are such ghostwritten works generally well done such that you'd never know? And why do such a thing? I notice in the case of Tom Clancey, his latter novels were this way. Was he too sick to write, so he outlined the basic plot and had someone else write it?

I'm sure Janet knows, but I'll take informed suggestions from the floor too. :)

Marc P said...

I only ever wrote one book as a collaboration project and that was ok. Scripts I have collaborated on a few times. Some good experiences some bad. Horses for courses. Pen for hire. :) Seriously though it is all going to be down to a kind of creative chemistry - as Janet says if the book is good - the wrangling will be worth it. Or was that Julie?

Christina Seine said...

Man, I love this group.

I am sitting at the terminal at Seattle waiting to board my plane to JFK! Woohoo! I have not slept. People who can sleep while barreling through the air at 30,000 feet sandwiched between 200 strangers are insane. I mean, lucky. Actually, maybe u am insane. I do t know. I ran out of synapses hours ago.

But now, I am smiling.

I have nothing relevant to say about the actual topic other than "nope." I can't imagine liking anyone well enough to let them into that wee creative space in my soul.

Donnaeve said...

A few years ago I met this very nice woman at a Field Trial. She's an artist, painted sporting dogs, and scenery. Very talented. When I mentioned I was a writer, she ***said, "Oh, I've always wanted to write a book."

***It still amazes me how many times I've heard that.

Anyway, she said, "We ought to write one together. I want to write a self-help book. I already know the title, BREATHE. I think it could do really well, don't you?"

I have (had) about as much interest in writing a book like that as I do pulling out all my fingernails and toenails with a pair of pliers.

Even IF she'd suggested writing together in a genre I LOVED, the idea just doesn't entice me.

Funny. I always ranked high when working in the corporate world for team building and collaboration, however, writing is too much of a personal process for me.

Anonymous said...


Good advice, as usual. I know Bob Mayer and Jennifer Crusie collaborate on novels and seem to do quite will, so obviously it can be done.

I have someone reading Gray Mists, the Civil War novel, along. He's a history nut so he's keeping me honest, but he's warned me I have to have every detail right or the stitch counters will pounce. The Shenandoah Valley Campaign is still studied by military students from all over the world. I only wish he would co-author- with me. The man is a brilliant writer.


Welcome to the shark tank. It's never too late to write a new ending. Jump back in the trenches and follow your dream.

"The agent passed on the book, saying Civil War was a hard sell"

It may be more so now, but that isn't stopping me. I believe if something is engaging enough it will find a home. Naive, I know.

Donnaeve said...

BTW, Cynthia - if I were you, I think I'd almost want to pull the novel out about the Civil War again.


Marc P said...

Re Civil War Julie M.. have you read Bernard Cromwells trilogy - or is he not popular on your side of the pond? We don't have Civil War as a genre over here - even for our own strangely enough. Which I believe was the first major western one lol. So his work would come under historical adventure I guess - I do believe he lives in the states now. Very easy reading, engaging and commercial writing.

ps these verification pics are not helping my diet! :)

Donnaeve said...

Jumping back in b/c while I was typing my feelings about Civil War stories, Julie W added in her comments. Personally, every book I've ever read about the Civil War, I've loved. (see above list.) My latest purchase? NEVERHOME, by Laird Hunt. CAN'T WAIT TO READ IT.

Cindy C said...

There's a very funny book by Lisa Lutz and David Hayward called Heads You Lose, which is a mystery, but is really a story about collaboration. The "authors" write notes to each other about their story choices, disagree and change things, and write notes to each other throughout the book.

One example I remember is when David made one of the characters a beautiful sexy woman, Lisa changed her to a hooker in the next chapter, and then David made her a hooker in Mensa in his next chapter. The back and forth is hilarious, and it really shows both the creative process and the collaborative process. Don't read it for the mystery though--there is one, but it's buried in the funny stuff about writing a book together.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Hank, I'd like to take credit for that line but I think I read it somewhere. Can't remember where.
CynthiaMc looking through your old stuff is great for inspiration but don't depend on it and don't mull over the what-ifs. Drive your mind forward and use todays talent not yesterday's promise.
Oops back to work. Have a good one guys and write your assets off.

french sojourn said...

SiSi; excellent recommendation, sounds like a blast.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Ha, a vomment for sure, I meant write your asses off.

Colin Smith said...

Marc: Actually, there were some civil wars during the 12th century when Stephen inherited the English throne from Henry I. Matilda made a grab for it and there was some major upheaval. As I recall, Stephen lost the crown a couple of times.

Laura Mary: I've never seen the mysterious Mr. Buttonweezer. His family is a big deal here on Carkoon, so I often see various of them around the place. But Felix...? The cave next door is in his name, but I don't know that he actually lives there--at least I've never seen him. When I began my exile here I-don't-remember-how-long-ago, I did pop over to say hello. I was greeted by a boy who introduced himself as Ferdinand Buttonweezer. He told me his parents were out and they weren't interested in joining the Cult of Sarlaac. Closed the door on me!

Perhaps after the success of his last novel, he's become a bit of a Howard Hughes? Celebrity does that to some people...

Colin Smith said...

This is so off-topic it lives in a different dimension, however, one could call it "family news" so I thought I'd share:

We just picked up the car. It now has a brand spanky new engine and is as good as new--well, as new as we could hope from a car with over 250,000 miles on it. :) After nearly three months, the whole family can now travel together in the same vehicle!! :D There is a real sense of closure here, since, if you recall, the car breaking down is what began the chain of events that put my wife in hospital getting a heart angioplasty (the story is in a comment thread sometime near the beginning of May). Not quite as big a deal as Amy getting an agent, but cool news for a cool news week. :)

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Capt. BS Thank you. The Mike fell off stage, hit an old republican and I am being sued.

Theresa said...

Love Brian's write club!

Craig F said...

If you go to a library or bookseller you can see that co-writing is something viable. In fact I have seen a couple of places where I might someday use a co-writer. It will not be on the first book though. I would be willing to give some cover space to people with special knowledge. That knowledge would have to be something with more emotion than research could cover.

If I make it to writing something with someone who came up through the foster care system, for example, I think a co-writer would be advantageous.

That said I do believe it would be better to have one person lead the dance. A lump sum to the co-writer might work.

Colin Smith said...

2Ns: The truth about what happened to Abe Lincoln! :)

Julie said...

I've recently discussed collaboration with another firstie who has interests similar to mine.


I have really big concerns that I can't help but think that Agents such as Carcharodon would share.

-I'm awfully nitpicky in my editing. I won't beta for anyone anymore because I end up annoying people and they think either I hate them or I hate their writing, when neither is true. I shudder to think what would happen should I actually try to incorporate my writing style with someone else's and then edit us both and allow someone else to do the same. I think that probably fire and brimstone would be involved.

-Time has to be a factor, and setting Janet's awesome post yesterday aside, I think that Gary Larson at one point conclusively proved that time in fact does= money. If I take 'x' weeks to produce a draft and you take 'y'weeks, then the total draft time 'z'= x+y, when in fact, if I wrote it alone, the total draft time calculation would be z=x.
Now, unless you can actually reduce my writing time, you are making the draft time longer and creating a problem for all three of us. I can't see this being a good thing for anyone involved.

-Three things: Character, Setting, and Voice. Elizabeth George prioritizes the first two first in her book Write Away, and I'm convinced she's right. I'm also convinced that two people cannot see one character, one setting, or one voice, in the same way. They can write separate parts and then try to mesh them, but this had better be done very carefully and well, and frankly, I have yet to see this accomplished. I know there are those who argue against me, but my best example is Eddings'. Who should know better what one vision is than a married couple who lived together for years? And yet, all that resulted was a single story spun out with different letters over and over again in increasingly tiresome and aggravating efforts. I have to believe that Agents must fear this when dual author queries land in their inboxes.

So There Squid

PS: Mama Shark, I was absolutely devastated to discover that you won't be an official Pitch-ee (Batter?). Will colleagues perhaps pass along anything that might be of more interest to you than to them if that comes up?

Julie said...

OK. One more thing.

-And finally, there's the professionalism and customer service issue that I've preached about (I know Mom hates this and I put one foot in Carkoon every time I pull out that preacher's box, but here I go anyway, because I really think - hope - she agrees) so many times before. To any professional, anywhere, at any time, everyone is a customer and should be treated as such. I won't do the "Julie's endless PICU / teaching / Putnam examples" thing, but truly, I believe this to my core. And so, for authors, Agents must be afforded the same courtesy, and in the multiple author conundrum, the team should treat the effort as a small business, because that is, in effect, what it becomes. Therefore, one author should be decided upon as the lead author, who then becomes the first contact point for Agents, editors, publishers, etc., and in points of contention, must become the person who makes the final decision. If the team cannot decide upon this ahead of time, then really, the Agent will inevitably be faced with a divisive pair/group - which will become his/her problem to deal with, and that isn't fair. It isn't good customer service. So the authors involved need to decide who sends the query; who does the final cleanup of said query before it goes out; whose phone number is on everything (and make bloody sure that it's the one on everything); and who - at least at first - accepts the phone calls. It should be the person who can best manage those things, and not necessarily the better writer, because in the end, this part is a professional interaction more than it is a writing interaction.

OK. I'll stop now. I think I ranted enough.

Well. One thing more. I can't resist. It's short, but it makes the point.

At Putnam, there were two non-negotiable firing offenses, and these were: 1) hanging up on a customer; and 2) swearing at a customer.

It was drilled into us again and again - it takes hundreds of phone calls to win a customer's trust.

It only takes one to lose it.

For any professional - and we authors are professionals, after all, aren't we? - the same is true in all interactions.

So, here -

It takes hundreds of queries to win an Agent's interest.
It only takes one to lose it.

So if you're going to team up with someone, make sure that the person who is interacting with the Agent is the one who isn't going to treat the Agent with anything less than the utmost professional courtesy.

:) Soapbox away; moving out of speaker's corner. Speaker's Corner

Parrot Fish

Anonymous said...

Thanks Theresa!

2NN's, when are you not being sued by someone? Old republican or otherwise? ;)

Colin - I have yet to recieve an invitation to the Cult of Sarlaac, and I'm quite offended for it. No doubt I'd politely refuse, but the nerve of some cave-to-cave salesman picking and choosing due to smell or scantily clad billboard posted outside... I mean jeez. I was a model for Hanes' middle-aged but young-at-heart line. So sue me. And I include that photo in ALL of my query letters... I don't see the issue.

And I couldn't agree with you more, Colin... today we seem to have ventured much deeper and much quicker down the rabbit hole than a usual Wednesday.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

As a child, on my "I want to be a child model" application, they described me as "friendly towards strangers" and "plays well with other children". I think I grew out of that. Collaboration would not be my strong suit, I don't think. But, I haven't yet tried, and actually did kinda agree to collaborate with an artist friend on a Thing. So we'll see how that goes!

Reading about your experience, Cynthia, I can't help but wonder.....isn't it kind of, shall we say unusual for an agent to share a submitted MS with one of their authors? Especially if it's an MS by a queryer and not a client? I feel kind of hinky about that.

2NN's, you sure did do a great mic drop! Do I smell blog header? Or maybe a tattoo?

Colin, great news about the car!

No real news on my front. Still waiting on the full. 56 1/2 k on my WIP.

Julie said...

DIRECT QUESTION to the awesome Sharkbites here at QOTKU's Center Of The Internet Universe:

Do you believe in using power words in your queries? As in, would you go out of your way to put them in there because Xavier Philistine Forbes wrote an article for the Economist that said that they really and truly had psychological effects that had proven to alter economic outcome? (i.e., "Put These Words In Your Stuff, And You'll Make More Cash")?

(And, yes, there are articles like this out there - for everything - my question is... Should I bother?)


Karen McCoy said...

Great advice from all. I'd totally buy a collaboration from Colin and Felix. Possible titles: "Where on Carkoon are we?" and "Pass the Lima Beans!" and "What New Car is This?"

Laura said...

Oooh, I go on vacation and people get agents - congrats Amy! And Colin, I am glad to hear about the car, and about your wife recovering. Hope the corner is turned and everything will be back to normal, on Carkoon and off.

As for the actual topic at hand, I think collaborating depends on both the people and the book. Lee Goldberg, a TV writer I love, started a horror series that he runs like a TV show. He has several writers who write in the series, sometimes by themselves but often in collaboration, and they pretty much always collaborate to come up with the plot. The books (The Dead Man series) are quite good, and the benefit is that they were able to publish one a month to build a following. My friend Lisa Klink is one of his writers, and she loves it. She has her own books as well; her newest is the debut of her own series, more of a thriller, and yet another collaboration.

I think it's a combination of temperament, training, and luck in finding the right partner. Oh, and having a super-clear contract. One of my favorite projects is forever lost to me (a TV pitch, not a novel thank goodness) because of a disputed contractual clause and a crazy-ass producer. *Sigh.* Live and learn.

Panda in Chief said...

I am working with someone on a book collaboration project, and so far it is going well. Of course we haven't found an agent yet, but we are still working on it. I found a collaboration agreement in one of Jeff Herman's book, and adapted it to our purposes. Probably time to take another look at it to make sure we remember what we said all those many months ago.
In our case, the division of labor is clear. She is writing/inventing the recipes and I am adding my cartoons and illustrations of the finished cupcakes to the mix. The one downside to having one collaborator here in the US and one in Australia, is I AM NOT IN THE SMAE PLACE THE CUPCAKE TESTING IS GOING ON. Sigh. It is probably too far to have her send me samples in the mail...and I am too lazy to bake them myself. Other than being in completely kerfuffles time zones, seasons and days, we have been having fun working together.
Please note that this comment is actually ON TOPIC. Just saying.

Anonymous said...


I've just started THE ARCHER'S TALE by Cornwell. He's very popular here. I've added the Starbuck's series to my wishlist that seems to grow daily.

I recently finished a CW novel I really looked forward to, but it was so full of author agenda it is one of the few books I threw away. The writing was great, but yikes. I half expected the villainous man to start twirling his mustache and tying the damsel in distress to the railroad track. No, I am not revealing book nor author.

I ran across a CW romance novel written by a man in 1870. I was actually looking for publications of his diaries of experiences during a campaign. He went on to become a reporter and novelist after the war. The language was beautiful, bordering on purple, but gorgeous writing. So, off I go on another rabbit trail.

I'm still working my way through Sarah Morgan's diary. There's a lot of woe is me and take me Lord, but it has some good insight about life during the war.

Theresa said...

I do not collaborate well. Kerfuffle, on the other hand.....

Anonymous said...

Julie H.

There are author collaborations that have been very successful. Hickman and Weis come to mind as well as Mayer and Crusie and I mentioned. It takes a special team, but it can be done. It certainly isn't for everyone.

DeadSpiderEye said...

Yes, collaboration, It's quite common in non-fiction but no so with fiction. Something termed creative differences being the stone on the road that'll loose a wheel from the apple cart. It's not what you might think it is, ie. ' the next book, Johnny comes out of the closet' vs 'Not if I have anything to do with it'.

Nope, it's a euphemism for the conflicts that arise from the desire to exploit properties, when they've become valuable, the explicit ownership of such, being the subject of contention. Everything's hunky dunky when you're just two muckers, toiling away in your respective bedrooms, struggling to make it. Things start to change, if you're lucky enough to get it to the stage, when people start throwing money at you. So you think, you're not that materialistic, that you'll never fall into that trap? Well lucky you Count Von Moneybaggs, how's the view from Monte Carlo and isn't nice to know, you'll never need to watch the pennies to send your daughter to a decent school?

CynthiaMc said...

Jennifer - I have no idea if that experience is usual or not. According to our mutual friend, because Tom was a history buff and the agent was not, if he liked something historical he would send it to Tom I guess to see if we knew our stuff (which thanks to my partner's stupendous research skills and me growing up in Civil War territory, we did. Plus my friend who works in a museum plus his friend who ran the museum at the fort we wrote about.

Colin Smith said...

Do we need to add CW to the glossary? It took me a moment to put Julie and CW together and remember it stands for Civil War. Not Country and Western. At least, not in this context. Yeehaw! :)

CynthiaMc said...

Or, as my great-aunts used to call it "The Recent Unpleasantness."

Marc P said...

I am a big fan of post CW - in film and TV 'The Outlaw Josie Wales', 'The McCoys and the other Family they were feuding with' and 'Hell on Wheels for example.'

I am sure you will love Mr Cromwell Julie M. He is a straight out tale spinner. He has;t collaborated with anyone but he says he deconstructed the plot structure from Hornblower to work out some storylines in his early novels. And why not!

Amy Schaefer said...

Colin, I'm glad to hear your car is up and running (good), and it sounds like your wife is a-ok, too (even better). Your car sounds perfect for Paradise, although the new engine might put it a little on the fancy side for us. The roads here are, shall we say, rudimentary at best. Any car that isn't an old clunker to begin with rapidly makes the transformation. Thankfully, everything but the grocery store is within easy walking distance, which is the way I like it. So, Paradise is just like Manhattan, but with no people, no tall buildings and more palm trees. Hmm, I think that simile fell apart somewhere along the line.

A final word (from me, anyway) on opportunities lost: don't dwell. I subscribe to the Joe Pike school of thought on life. Keep moving forward. On the tough days, I imagine some big red arrows on my deltoids and refocus. The past is what it is, and you can't refight those battles. But now? Now is still malleable. Worry about now.

Anonymous said...

"Now is malleable. Worry about now."

Those are some good words Amy! Something I have to remind myself all the time.

Anonymous said...

Hi folks! It's been a busy week+, attending the terrific Cascade Writer's Conference, and all the travelling adventures there and back - so I slept for 14 hours last night, and finally feel awake enough to actually comment reasonably.

Why two authors? There can be many reasons. It can be less scary to write as a pair. It can be more encouraging if you have someone you can work things out with. Maybe these two people work well together. Maybe they're a writer/illustrator team. Maybe together they write a pretty darn good book.

A friend of mine was endlessly stalled in her writing, until she and a good friend started writing a fun, entertaining novel together. They used Google Docs, I believe. They finished the first draft. I desperately want to see the final draft. I wonder if one of them is reading this?

Colin: As for the 'great dude/lesser dude' combos - those tend to be established writers taking unestablished writers under their wing. A mentoring relationship.

Also: The number of miles on a car really only applies to the engine. So your brand spanky new engine means your car now has much fewer miles on it. Congrats on the new engine and new lease on life for the car!

Anonymous said...


Congratulations on the new engine. That has to be a relief. My son informed me if the motor goes out of my Lincoln, it's not worth fixing. A new motor will cost four times what the car is worth. Then again, I don't need a large vehicle for a large family. I just need wheels that don't remind me of a Cracker Jack prize.

Julie H.

You can use power words if you wish. Margie Lawson is a big proponent of backloading sentences with power words at the end for the psychological effect. You can also drive yourself nuts pondering minutiae.

If you think it makes the query better do it. If you're just looking for things to do to procrastinate querying, stop.

If you wait for all the stop lights to turn green before you go to town, you'll never leave the house.

Marc P said...

Is please a power word?

CynthiaMc said...

It is in the South :)

Marc P said...


Colin Smith said...

Amy and Julie: Thanks!

Julie: The new engine is worth a lot more than the market value of our car. However, to replace the car with something comparable would cost significantly more than the cost of a new engine. The rest of the vehicle is mechanically sound (as far as we and the mechanic can tell), so this really is the best option. There's an important life lesson here. The value of something is often NOT what it's worth on the street; it's what it's worth to YOU.

Julie said...

From Blog Stardate 4/8/2015:
"I've signed up for my first ThrillerFest and Thursday, July 9, 2015, is Pitchfest. I thought I'd get an early start on hyperventilating."

Except for the 'early' bit.

I am now - gradually - accepting the reality that compressing five weeks of work into four hours might not be possible.

But I did get my Raggedy Ann cut.

And I threw lots of power words into the QL that *I* wrote, all on my own, thank you very much, after an hour or so reviewing the most recent QS posts (God love you, Janet, really, can I bring you some Glenlivet? Really.).

Pant, pant, pant....

And, seriously, any Woodland Creatures going to be at the Roosevelt tomorrow night?

Julie said...

I forgot. Rude of me. (In the words of the What-Will-I'm-Certain-Become-Immortal-Song, "Why Ya Gotta Be So Rude?", which I always sing, much to the hilarity of my kids, as Elmer Fudd: "Why Ya Gotta Be So Woood?")

So. Julie. THANK YOU!

Here's an example power sentence that I opted not to use: (Actually, I'm making it up right now from my list of potential power words) - Tom's Love, the Ruthless Senator Emerson, lay Exposed and cold on the dock, proving once and for all Tom's inability to keep him Safe.

Actually, this has no bearing on the story, but it uses "Love", "Safe," "Prove," "Ruthless," and "Expose," all in one sentence. One warped sentence, but one sentence all the same.

An actual choice went more like this: "When the frogman's beloved beluga nearly drowns, Tom Kaplan must act quickly to save those he loves from a strange and ruthless flying shark from Mars."

Which clearly also isn't the real sentence, but I didn't want to seem as if I were doing something I'm not. But it does use the "power words" in their correct spots. And I threw in a shark, just for fun, and a beluga whale, because they're cute and I like them.

EEK! 6:00!

AJ Blythe said...

Amy, I missed your good news as well. Congratulations!!

Colin, I've often wondered about the duality of a big name author and a lesser name author publishing together. It's what made me stop reading the big name author in 2 instances. Not because the books weren't any good. I wouldn't know. Never read them. In my head I assumed big name author was retiring, but either a) publisher didn't want them to stop or b)they wanted income without the effort. So my assumption is they throw together a plot (using continuing characters) and getting lesser name author to write it.

The only author I did read the duality for was Dick Francis. But in my mind that was a different circumstance. DF was elderly, and his son had been helping him before hand. Plus I assumed Felix Francis gradually had more input. Now Felix is writing them on his own and I still read them. Mind you, I didn't want to consider not having a new Dick Francis book to read each year, so I would probably have convinced myself of anything *grin*.

Craig F said...

Colin: A question:

Did you look at two year old Cadillac Escalades when your beast dies?

In my neck of the swamp the people who drive them don't buy used. When there two year leases are up they get a new one. Used ones are incredibly cheap.

Julie said...

Dear Janet,
Dear Mom,
Dear Carcharodon,
Dear Great White, Megalodon, Her Toothiness, and every other blessed name I have thought up for you in the past couple of years (but admittedly mostly the past couple of months)...

1) I'm sorry. So sorry. Really, really sorry. ( It all comes of multitasking, and I admit that... sniff... I didn't read all the blog posts. Like the ones... sob... on... pitches. And very likely many, many, other things. I feel as if I skipped the "Compressions" part of CPR, and now it's the night before I start in the PICU.

Good Lord.

What if someone has an MI while we're in there? I probably ought to review...


Anyway, I have remedied - or am in the admittedly last minute process of remedying - the pitch issue. And am swallowing down the bile. I'm looking at it more as a homework assignment than as a critical pass/fail exam, although I do wonder what will happen if I make some horrible error - say, vomiting on your colleague (perhaps I should skip that table) - and then query later? Will they remember me? Probably not. Well. Vomit's hard to forget. But otherwise...

2) Thank you. For so very many things, but mostly, just... thank you. I'll thank you more some other time. When I don't have so much homework. But for QS; for not immediately deleting my random emails; for this blog; for Chumbucket; for your stance on Pitches; and for your Pro-Author-Ness (You sort of are a shark of paradox - now that I think about it...).

3) Please stay healthy.



Colin Smith said...

Craig: I just took a quick look at the Escalade online. Does it seat 8 comfortably? I only see 7-seat versions. And how much cargo space do you get without having to fold seats? Our car is a Ford Excursion. When it first died, my wife and I looked at various alternatives, and took suggestions from friends. In the end, even a high-mileage used 8-seater SUV would cost nearly twice what a new engine would. And this engine comes with a 3-year unlimited mileage no-matter-what guarantee. There may well be a better deal out there, but unfortunately we can only make decisions on the best information available to us at the time. Based on the data I had, this was the best deal.

Gingermollymarilyn said...

@ Cynthia - I agree with Amy, it's NEVER too late. If that's what your heart desires, do it!

@ CarolyNN - I adore this: "Believe and write. Take time from the edges of your life. There's lots there to fill in the picture of what you want to be. Write because you love it. Write because it is who you are. Just fucking write." Dare I say, next week's blog heading?

@ Colin - Glad to hear your family car has returned.

I can't imagine teaming up with another person to write a novel. Writing is such a personal creative process, way more personal than sex! Now, there's something fun with another person! Well, at least that's how I remember it!

Julie said...

@Marc -
How do I put "please" into the beginning of a query except as a noun?

Craig F said...

Colin: I wasn't trying to pick on you. It has just been my experience that car fall apart around the motor. I have also never checked out the Escalade, they aren't my style, and didn't realize that they were that much smaller than the Excursion. Sorry.

Colin Smith said...

Craig: Sorry, I didn't mean to come across defensive. I was just explaining why we decided to go the direction we did. No offense taken. :)

Theresa said...

Ah, the first rule of Write Club: Just f---ing write.

CynthiaMc said...

Whatever happens in Write Club stays in Write Club.

Marc P said...

@Julia Use it is a passive verb with entropic minimalism. Basically in a holistic way rather than a specific one. So that nether side begs but a mutual concord is equally desired.

But enough about my love life.

Karen said...

My five cents on the original topic. The view from the other side (and the other side of the world, which is why I’m coming in late).

I co-write. I love it. I couldn't write with anyone other than the author I write with, and it definitely doesn’t make writing the book faster, but it makes a better book.

Most of all, it’s fun.

Julie said...

@Marc - One oughtn't simply have to lie back and think of England, right? Right? Or is that why we write?

Actually, that COULD make a great hook: "Felix hadn't pleased as many of his writeous devotees recently; so in his usual ruthless manner, he set about thumbing through the list of his harem, seeking random plentiful exposure. Nothing less and nothing more would do. But when he dialed the number of Felicia Buttonpuffer, his most devoted wroatee, her sister wretchedly informed him that she had been found dead that morning - pleased to death by another Buttonweezer bearing his clothes. His name. His identity......"

Marc P said...

@Julia haha very good. Although I fancy for me I am e'er the wretched beggee... the 'please' the prevalent precursor to the demanding Felicia!

You know... metaphorically lol.

In my one co-writing experience I fancy I was the Whatshername and not the Mr Grey!!


It was nice work mind .

Anonymous said...


Thank you for showing the flip side.