Sunday, February 14, 2016

Week in Review 2/14/16

Welcome to the week that was!

In last week's review Craig said
On categories:
I consider the Christian tag to be a category along with MG, YA and the default Adult. They still need a genre to go with them. The category should only tell the perspective of the protagonist and direction to aim marketing. You can stay in one genre and write all four categories.
Christian isn't a category as much as a market. Books for "the Christian market" go to not just different editors at a publisher, but generally an entirely separate division. Much as we say "books for the general trade market" which encompasses everything from picture books to non-fiction, "books for the Christian market" are also picture books to non-fiction.

I don't know enough about the Christian market to go into further detail about how it's different from general trade publishing. It's enough that I know the two are separate and I'm not the right agent for Christian books in any category.

John Frain
Great stuff, Janet. But count me among the surprised that movies make good comp titles. Is it safe to assume that TV shows would also make good comps?

Prior to now, I thought it was sorta mandatory to stick with books for comp titles.

Movies, TV shows, sure. I like to use books if I want a comp for pitching to editors, but mostly I use comps for film pitches and for those, TV and film are MUCH better than books because (you guessed it) film people know more films than they do books.

kdjames said:

Those of you bemoaning the fate of unfinished or continuing work once a writer dies . . . you DO realize the writer can exert control over all that, right? You can, and should, make something called a Creative Property Trust and appoint a Trustee to control all your work after you die.

Make your intent clear and name someone you trust to respect your wishes, whether that's to continue work in your name or prohibit it.

I did this back in June last year when I made a new Will and wrote a post about it at the time (not going to link, but you can find it easily enough by clicking my name and looking at posts in June 2015, if you're interested). Not enough writers do this, IMO. Any decision in that regard is acceptable, provided it's what you want. Make plans as if you WILL leave behind a legacy.

[the Creative Trust part is after the pictures of the knee! (about 20 paragraphs down)]

I'm on a kick this year to get all my clients who have a substantial body of work (both pubbed and unpubbed) to get a will and make sure it addresses intellectual property.

One client actually met his lawyer here at my office to do the signing, and I gotta tell ya, it was emotional as hell. BUT, very much needed since in the absence of anything on paper, the law of the state of New York (or wherever you live) will tell us who's in charge. I'd really rather know who you WANT making decisions. And it's just a whole lot easier on your survivors to know what you want. So suck it up, know it's going to be one of those dreadful things you gotta do, and do it.

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli asked:
As K.D. mentioned the Creative Property Trust we should create I wonder who gets the royalties and other earnings to the posthumous works of the authors who are dead and gone. Is the authors name traded, in some kind of agreement, to a third party.

All royalty payment is governed by the publishing contract. The author's estate owns the author's name as an asset. The publisher can't just pick a new writer and keep publishing Felix Buttonweezer books. They have to have permission from Betty Buttonweezer AND a publishing contract. I don't know a lot about these kinds of "ghost" writers; the few I do know are selected by the estate, not the publisher although my guess is that the publisher gets some say as well, in that they don't have to offer a contract to anyone they don't want to.

Thus if Felix Buttonweezer kicks the bucket, and Betty Buttonweezer decides she wants her daughter Kale Buttonweezer to keep writing the "Lettuce Now Murder" series, the publisher can say "sure" or "not so fast VegHeads, Kale is a terrible writer and we're not prepared to offer her a contract."

And I think Lochlan Sudarshan said something very interesting here:

As far as "why would you read Kafka aside from class," it kinda does function like any academic work. I reread "Metamorphosis" before submitting a short story whose prompt involved your protagonist transforming themselves. I found it let me be more aware of things that came from one of the transformation genre's most significant stories, what were entrenched in conventions, and which ones I thought would or wouldn't be useful for the project.

You always remind us to read widely within a category to learn what's current, what's old hat, etc. Kafka is definitely one of the guys to look at if you're thinking about magical realism, if only to learn what's been done before.

I was tempted to go read Metamorphosis again, but then I recovered myself and found a Jack Reacher novel to tide me over!

On Monday the first post was announcing the contest results weren't quite ready  many of you were kind enough to encourage me to take my time

and this one from really cracked me up:

Janet, take your time. Sip your coffee, gently file your teeth, whatever you do on a lazy Monday morning. No hurry.
I don't exactly sip coffee. More like guzzle with animal noises enough to disturb the neighbors.

E.M.Goldsmith caught my eye with this:
When the mare died, I think more people showed up for that horse's funeral than most of my relatives funerals.

Wait. WAIT! I've been around horses almost all my life and I've never even heard of a horse funeral! What the hell do you do at a horse funeral?

And if y'all didn't stick around to see Craig's story on the panthers, well, go back and read it:
2:51pm and 2:52pm

The second post on Monday was the results

On Tuesday the topic was using blurbs from published writers in your query

Bethany Elizabeth said
I have this cynical mindset that if the book has an author blurb on the cover, it's because there wasn't a trusted reviewer willing to praise it. Irrational? Maybe.

Not irrational but not quite correct either. Book covers (particularly for hardcovers) are almost always printed (and certainly designed) long before books have been sent out for review (let alone gotten reviews!) It's more of a timing issue than anything else. That's why you'll see review blurbs more often on paperbacks than hardcovers (the review was for the hardcover) and on hardcovers you'll see blurbs about "works by Author" or the previous title.

When we solicit blurbs, it's six-eight months out but GETTING them is much closer to three months before pub. Books go to the trades for review 90-120 days before pub.

CarolynnWith2Ns said:
We could lie and say Mr/Ms famous author loves our novel, who would know?

Picture the scene when I've loved the novel, signed the novel, sold the novel and we want to use Mr/Ms Famous Author's "I love this novel" on the cover. Carkoon isn't far enough for that exile.

nightsmusic sent me to the Google machine for this
Pancakes? Pancakes??


Hey, I'm less than 30 miles from Hamtramck. Anything other than Packis is blasphemous.

The comments spilled over to the following day when Wednesday's blog post didn't go up at what we've all come to expect as the regular time. (I apparently scheduled it incorrectly. Those days of the week--so confusing)

However I did manage to get the post posted and the topic was waiting time (again)

Thanks to Sara Halle I learned that telenovela has two l's not three. Just a reminder that I am always glad to hear about typos, missing words etc in blog posts. I'd MUCH rather find and fix 'em than have them make me look like an idiot for years to come. (And of course, that's only for me, no correcting other commenters grammar or syntax.)

Alerting me to typos can be either by email or in the comment trail on the post. If you put it in the comments, you should limit the comment only to the correction. That way when I fix the typo, I can delete the comment. If I fix the typo, and your comment mentioning it is still there because it has other content, it's confusing. And don't worry when I delete the comment. I'm not mad or offended, I'm just tidying up.

nightsmusic said
Interesting because I've read other agents who mention they don't want to be nudged at all
Really? That's very illuminating about that agent's mindset. As in who the hell do they think they are? I've railed about that kind of thinking before. It makes me wild to see agents behaving as though they are the most important person in the relationship, and can't be bothered with basic business etiquette.

It's one thing to not reply to queries but to say "send me your work and just wait around till I get around to it, and don't even think about checking in!" ZOINKS! I mean it's bad enough that we do make you wait, but to say you have to just sit there in obedient silence? Well, FUCK THAT.

Gosh, I feel better now.

E.M. Goldsmith asked:

Now back to fretting over other minutia that makes up the writer's life. So additional question, on a full, the long period makes sense. What about partial requests? Are they similar? Is there a variance agent to agent? Also, I have made significant improvements to my manuscript since October as I have worked through this R&R. Should I send the revised manuscript to agents who have the earlier fulls? Or is that suicide? I think I read here that it is ok to withdrawal a submission. How do I do that? Should I write them when I am done with my latest revision to see if they would prefer to read my revision? I would hope that they would, but I am a little scared that this will make me look even more flakey than I actually am.

1. Partials are treated like fulls. Wait 90 days. Do agents still request partials? That seems so nuts to me. It's as easy to send a full as a partial, and that way when I'm reading, I have the whole thing.

2. Yes agents vary on this.

3. Yes, if you have significant revisions you should send the revised ms. I always want to read your best work.

4. You withdraw a submission by emailing "thanks for requesting my ms TITLE on DATE. I need to withdraw it from consideration." It really helps if you let me know why.

5. You won't look flaky. I know what flaky looks like and this isn't it.

Ellen said:
I have a nudging tip that I use frequently with my agent and editor. Instead of asking if they read my material and when they will get back to me, I say something like, "Hi. I just wanted to check in. I hope you're enjoying the book, and I look forward to hearing from you when you get a chance." That way I'm not being a pest, but reminding them that I'm here, and leaving the door open for them to respond. It's a little gentler than an overt nudge.

I use that with editors too. Just a reminder that I'm here, that they've got the book. Those conversations can yield some very interesting information as well (who's moving apartments, who's getting a puppy, who's going on vacation to someplace interesting.) Generally that's not stuff a nudging author will find out of course, but on this end with editors, it's actually one of my favorite parts of the job.

Patti Phillips gave me the vapors with this one:

Once upon a time, I received a request for a full from a top NY agent. I was so excited that I agreed to an exclusive. After six months of silence, the excitement had worn off, so I nudged oh, so gently. The polite response was, "It's on my nightstand." Excitement bubbled up and I waited another two months. By this time, I had begun to wonder if perhaps his nightstand had a pile of other MS covering mine or if he had spilled an evening beverage all over it, thereby ruining my chances at the NYT bestseller list for all time. (Logic had left the building)

After reading the blog today, I realize that what I did next may seem crazy. I withdrew the exclusive and thanked him for his time. He was incredulous and wondered why I would do such a thing, giving his standing in the biz and the fact that he had started to read it. My thinking was that if he had not finished reading it in eight months and wasn't raving about how fabulous it was, then either the book needed work or we weren't a good fit.

Never give exclusives. If you can't resist, an exclusive should be SHORT. NEVER OPEN ENDED.

I may have ranted on this topic before. It bears repeating.

1. Exclusives stink
2. Exclusives are not in your best interest.

On Thursday I was asked about the questions an agent might ask an author during a phone call to discuss representation.

A lot of you were perplexed by the idea that an author might object to an active social media presence. Unfortunately it's true. More than once I've heard "well, you've clearly got enough time to do the blog." And while I understand that this comes from frustration that reading takes a LONG time, I do like to remind everyone that what I do in my spare time is this blog, and thus highly visible whereas other agents do things like parenting that no one ever sees.

AJ Blythe asked
And at what point in the querying process do I contact your clients? And are they aware we will be contacting them? Gary Corby mightn't be happy if he wakes up tomorrow morning with 96 emails asking if the water's safe to swim in.

I'm pretty sure he wouldn't be happy at all. While Gary is a very nice guy, he doesn't need a bunch of random queriers pestering him, you're quite right.

You inquire with current clients when an agent has scheduled a call to discuss representation with you. In other words, when you're not a random querier, you're a prospective client.

You'd email the current client to say you're in discussion about representation and want to ask what being a client is like. Don't ask more than about three questions, and they should be short. You're asking someone you don't know for a favor.

Of course, social media is different. Following my clients and talking to them generally is fine at any point in the process. Asking them about me on Twitter in public is NOT. 

I actually know of a writer who does not have an agent because her interactions with current clients revealed her to be a total and complete disaster case. There were a bunch of us who'd offered and a couple of us knew each other and we swapped stories. Yes, publishing is a small insular world and, generally speaking, our clients like us. Asking for "the dirt" on us is probably a very bad choice of words.

Julie M. Weathers comment about getting in touch with my current clients just cracked me up:
3. I shoot the bull with several of them. Few of them seem sane, but I assume they were that way before they met you.
(I'm not at all sure frankly)

Lisa Bodenheim asked
Janet, in #2 you use the word playbook. Is that an in-real-life book or is it just a mind-method you use to help you deal with current clients or determine whether or not to accept an author, whose work you love, as a client?

2)What else do you want to write?
I've learned by experience to ask this sooner rather than later. A novelist who really wants to write screenplays, or non-fiction, needs a different playbook than a novelist who wants to write a series, or stand alones.

It means that if you want to write screenplays or non-fiction, we need to have a game plan to get you there. This is actually what other agents might call career management, but I think of as plotting long term strategy. Of course, no plan survives boots on the ground. We're always changing, moving, fixing, revising. BUT if we both know that our five year goals is X, it's a whole lot easier to get there than if we don't know it.

It's not a book but I do keep notes on every client about where we're going and what we're doing. There's simply too much detail to keep it all in my head anymore.

John Frain said:
I'm struck by a few questions that I would have anticipated making your list, specifically:
1) Are you comfortable with social media (implying why don't you have more social media presence, dear author, and

2) Talk to me about your willingness and availability to travel and promote your work. And

3) Realizing this isn't non-fiction, we're still interested in marketing your work. What thought have you given to this area?

Ahh…good questions. I have found that talking about all that post-publication stuff is very often too much for an author at this stage. It sends them into a frenzy about "what should I be doing to promote this book" before I've SOLD the book.

And often, at this stage, the book has one, two, or three revisions yet ahead. I try not to scare prospective clients by looking too far ahead.

Janice L. Grinyer asked a very good question:
Janet, are there any confidentiality clauses in an Agent/Client contract that would cover this issue i.e. broadcasting a Client's/Agent's personal information to the public from either/or? Having signed a few in my lifetime due to career choices, I have found they really do aid in "clearing the air" beforehand for expectations- just part of doing business.

I'm a little embarrassed to say I actually had to look at my author/agency agreement to see if it had a confidentiality clause. It does not.

However as a member of AAR, I'm bound by the Canon of Ethics 

Generally the only thing I'll tell you about my clients will involve announcing book sales or book promotions. They can say anything they want to about me, including commission rates, if they so choose.

I will only say things about my clients that I would say to them directly (and in most cases probably already have.)

Generally if I have a great story about a client it will be something that happened in public, not a private conversation of any kind. They can tell you whatever they want because it's their book and their career.

Thus: I met Felix Buttonweezer in the bar and we drank Jeff Somers under the table is something you might see on Twitter.

You would not see: Felix Buttonweezer and I palavered about his writing career today before pickling Jeff Somers in bourbon.

On Friday I listed some questions that you shouldn't ask, particularly at the query stage

The conversation veered off into vegetables so quickly my head spun.

Or as Colin Smith put it so well:
So, all this vegetable talk comes from asking green questions, does it? :D

Donnaeve said:
Asking a question like "why should I hire you?" is not only the wrong word choice, it's like inviting someone to a party, and then asking, "why are you here?"

My usual thought at a party is indeed "why am I here?" but that's not what you meant is it?

On Saturday we discussed keeping passion and verve in your writing using an example I'd seen on Twitter.

SiSi got exactly what I struggled to say:

This is a great example of something I've thought about often in my day job, teaching business writing. You can lose credibility if you make too many mistakes. You can lose the emotional connection if you are too worried about being correct. Finding the balance between "correct and connect" is the art of writing. As I tell my students, there's no formula for deciding--every situation depends on the writer's purpose, the audience, the context.

On another note, this is also an example of the tunnel vision we all get into sometimes. For me it's when I get deep into grading mode--sometimes I catch myself highlighting misused words and weird sentence structure when I realize a student just shared a personal, emotional part of themselves with me and I'm checking grammar. Thank goodness these days I'm grading online so I can go back and start over. Of course I value (and teach) correctness, but I never want it to be at the expense of losing the human connection.

Italics are mine. That's exactly what I was aiming for.

Jenz said it better than I did too:
In fact, this is a great example of why it's so hard to read for content and syntax at the same time. I have to pick one or the other while editing my own work

Colin Smith asked:
If this, or something like it, had landed in your inbox as the sample you normally ask for with a query, would you have requested? In other words, would you have read the emotion and asked for more, or would you have seen the less-than-perfect writing and passed?

I'd have requested the proposal so fast your head would have spun. For starters, I'm interested in African issues, and Africa in general. Second, I'm very interested in the concept of home and connection. Given that all of us here in America arrived from some place else (including the People we now call Native Americans---they just got here long before most of the rest of us) I'm interested in how we think of our origination places.

Mostly though: I can fix grammar and syntax. I can't conjure emotion.

And remember this is non-fiction. I've often said I'll reject novels if there are typos, knowing I'll have heavy lifting with copy editing in the ms. Non-fiction is a bit different: for starters, the proposal is substantially shorter than a novel and I won't have six other non-fiction proposals on this topic that I could easily choose instead.

Run For Your Life said:
I am usually not a big fan of Janet's articles. I find her too tough for my thin rookie skin. I continue to consume her articles because they are "good for me" but I don't like the taste. This article just reinforced that I need to be here on her site even if sometimes my feelings get hurt - this was brilliant and just what I needed and at the right time. Thank you Janet.

I salute your willingness to post this, and I'm glad to have you here.

Subheader noms

I love living in Montana- everything here is a story waiting to happen. --Janice L. Grinyer

The lovely thing about the career of writing is that it doesn't depends on you being young enough (like ballet) or strong enough (like sports) or needing to keep up with an ever-changing industry (like Information Technology). You get into it when you can get into it. Apparently, if you do really well, you can keep in it after you're dead. {g}--Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale

Don't lament the time you've missed, live for the moments you have now.--CarolynnWith2Ns

"But here's the glorious thing about writing, all your experience goes into it so you're not really delayed by poverty, raising toddlers, or whatever trials and tribulations life might bounce your way- it all gives you new perspective which will ultimately make you a better writer. Especially if you are strong enough to write your pain." E.M. Goldsmith

The thing about the un-responded-to request is that it's Schrödinger's full; simultaneously imbued with the unbelievable exhilaration of possibility ... and bogged down with the unbelievable tension of possibility.--DLM

This blog is like my virtual coffee shop.--Lucie Witt

Waiting? There is no waiting! There is writing and querying. --Lance

So pissed I missed the fuck fest. --Amanda Capper (I love this but honestly it requires context that the sub-header would miss, so couldn't really choose it)


BJ Muntain said...

Great WiR! Thanks again, Janet.

I like both EM's and the Duchess's sub header nominations. They're both kind of long, but I like what they say.

Lucie Witt said...

I like that you had to tell us not to pick Amanda's subheader because you knew so many of us would indeed pick Amanda's.

Another great WIR. Happy Sunday, everybody.

Donnaeve said...

"My usual thought at a party is indeed 'why am I here?' but that's not what you meant is it?"

Haha, no, not exactly, but that's the typical question I ask myself at most parties as well!

Thank you, again, for capturing the nuggets in the week that was!

Happy Valentine's day, all.

New Fiction Writer said...

Response re keeping passion and verve in your writing:
They are the types of novels that live a long time in your mind. The books I've read over the years that stay with me are those which grab me in the gut and make me angry or delighted or even disgusted. I will be annoyed at times by the novels which have a good story but are not grammatically correct but it fades quickly. The novels I strive to write are those which will grab my readers and stay with them. Karen Gansel

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

I vote for DLM's subheader, since I've said nearly the same exact thing on a number of occasions. Great minds, same circlss ^^

This is one of those WiR that has such a lot of great information in it. Contacting current clients, withdrawing manuscripts, etc.

I understand that agent time must seem like it's devoted to reading and the publishing trenches. But, as you say, agents are engaged with writers in a business arrangement. You're "allowed" to have free time, for crying out loud. People NEED free time.

Oh, and I had a short story accepted into an anthology this week. It'll be coming out later this spring. (Spring is such a nice word, isn't it? It's -I-don't-care-to-know-what in Central New York right now, it's cold in my house, my car has a flat tire, and the housemate's car wouldn't start. Ugh.)

S.D.King said...

On the topic of waiting for query replies, I attended a conference in Sept of 2014. YESTERDAY I got a "thanks, but no thanks" from an agent who liked my pitch.

DLM said...

Jennifer, thank you! I feel I am in rarefied company if we have like minds.

Not a subheader nom, but I had to share this with y'all - said to me by a friend of mine this week when we were talking about my writing: "Most of us mortals can make shit up. It takes a special kind of person to create." Aww! Another slogan for our products at the Reider online inspiration shop.

Cindy C said...

Reading the WIR is one of my favorite Sunday afternoon activities. Thank you for spending so much of your "spare" time on this!

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I love Amanda's subheader - anyone who follows this blog will totally get it even without context. Laughed my coffee through my nose which is why I love Lucie's sub-header as well.

To Janet's question - apparently drinking is what you do at a horse's funeral. Only one I have ever heard of but we're an odd sort of family. Not sure even Faulkner could do us justice. I seem to remember a crane being involved, but that might be a creative embellishment.

Another fantastic WIR. Have a lovely Sunday everyone and no massacres today. Valentine's Day already has too many. Just send roses and candy (or liquor) and be done with it.

As to veggies, which we did discuss this week, I just had lunch with a vegetarian buddy who talked me into a vegetarian corn dog. It didn't suck. But corn bread can mask a great many sins.

Lance said...

The incredible WiRs just keep on coming. Thank you for all of this great information. Thank you for the subheader nom. But, I would go with either DLM's or 2N's. If we can't have Amanda's. DLM's friend's statement is a good write-in vote. Happy Valentine's Day for those who celebrate.

Theresa said...

Congratulations on your short story, Jennifer.

"So pissed I missed the fuck fest." Thinking about this for a tattoo or head stone.

I vote for the Duchess's subheader.

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Another great week at the Reef.

Thank you, Queen of Sharks, for answering my question.

Congratulations Jennifer.

I'll remember this week as the week I quit writing (again) and dusted the house. After staring at my writing desk, which occupies a large part of my atelier, I knew it's not possible to quit. But a lot of the pressure I laid on my shoulders is lifted. All those things I believed I should be doing or how/what I should write were sucking my energy and brain space.

Yesterday's post validates that even more. And special thanks to Susan Pogorzeslki.

Reading K'Wan's books also opened my eyes to those shoulds. He's the writer from Harlem I keep talking about. I thought I'd read the best book I'd read all year, Gangsterland. But it seemed so fabricated after the Hood Rat series. Then I started Gary Corby's series and found a perfect balance. I know I haven't read the best book for 2016 because I haven't read the rest of the series.

I hope Run For Your Life continues to comment. No one here will criticize you.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Great WIR. So many wise words or should I say this week, so many wiseacre words.

It's -5 degrees out, wind is howling, I'm sitting in front of a roaring fire and my UCONN women are winning in basketball. My veg. beef soup is hot (no limas) and I was nom'ed for a subheader. Life at this moment is good, very good. I wish you all such a perfect afternoon.

Thank you Janet.

John Frain said...

Oh, the wisdom that pours from here like liquid gold.

Of course Sara Hallle would notice your extra "l" in telenovela. No surprise there.

I appreciate Lance's modesty, but I think his subheader nom speaks to everyone in this audience. I'll think about it often whether it lands in the subhead space or not.

Remember, Valentine means Valor, so have great courage in your writing today!

Lennon Faris said...

Thank you for the WIR and clearing up a couple questions, Janet. The parties comment made me laugh out loud. As did Amanda Capper's subheader nom.

Carolynnwith2Ns, it sounds like a perfect Sunday afternoon!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone. This has been my fav. holiday since I can remember. You can eat chocolate all day long, and no one will judge.

Colin Smith said...

Excellent WiR, yet again, Janet! Thank you. And thanks for answering my question. It didn't occur to me you might take a different approach with non-fiction that's less picky about spelling and grammar. But that makes sense. With non-fiction, especially memoir, I can see where a fascinating story may transcend the story-teller's ability to communicate it well. But you could hardly ask someone else to tell it. With a novel, it's not just about having a great story, but the novelist's skill at his or her craft. A memoir might be a one-shot deal; a novelist is usually looking for a career.

As to why some agents still ask for partials, I have a theory. I think it's an indicator as to how interested an agent is in your work. There's a scale:

* Form Rejection = Not interested. Not at all. Try me again later with something else.
* Revise and Resend = Interested, but it's not quite there yet. Do this and that, and give me a second shot with it.
* Partial = Very Interested in the premise, love the query, but not 100% sure if it's a fit for me.
* Full = LOVE the premise, LOVE the query, and it's just what I'm looking for. Really Really Interested. I hope it's everything I dream it will be because if it is, you'll be hearing from me.

That's my theory, anyway, though I would tend to agree with you, Janet. These days, everything's electronic, so it's no waste of paper to send a full every time. And you're not obliged to read more than you can stand of it.

Good subheader noms. Is someone compiling these? We might need a "Shark Tank Wit and Wisdom" page... :)

Dena Pawling said...

Great WiR. I vote for 2Ns and Lance.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Wit and Wisdom, Shark Tank. Love it Colin.

This is surely an amazing place for writers and for those who think they aren't but really are.

Kae Ridwyn said...

Thank you Janet, for yet another enlightening WiR. I'm with those who truly appreciate your social media presence, rather than the 'but you have time to blog' whiners...
And as John said, I'd vote for Lance's comment as subheader. It encapsulates what we learn here from you :D
(although Amanda's is hilarious!)
Happy writing, everyone!

Kae Ridwyn said...

Hey wow, I just noticed: when I comment from my phone, I don't have to 'prove I'm a human'!?
Although, to be fair, I guess they haven't designed a robot who can text on a phone. Yet. I think.
New story idea: a disgruntled potential client who dislikes Janet's social media presence creates a robot who can text spammy comments onto her blog. Said robot's kryptonite being kale sandwiches, of course...

Lance said...

Thank you, John Frain and others.

Colin, I take it you're volunteering for wit and wisdom duty, since I know you did not mean to imply that Ms. Janet would take that on.

nightsmusic said...

Thank you for the rant! Yes, I started querying a story four or five years ago and three of the agents I looked at stated in their 'rules for querying' that I could send the query, synopsis and first 30 and if I didn't hear from them, forget it. If they asked for a full and I didn't hear from them in 6 months, forget it. But under no circumstances was I supposed to email and ask. My thought was, Okay, you don't want to hear from me? I don't want to work with you!

And that was that.

Did you get a Paczki? Food of the gods if it's custard filled (for me, I'm not a jelly filled Paczki person) but oh, boy, hand made? They're heaven. And about eleventy-seven million calories, but who's counting?

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Great WiR. I always worry, when asking a question, that it'll demonstrate just how ignorant or naive I am but I am so grateful for a place to ask the questions and receive answers.

Thank you Janet for answering my question. Similar to my former life as a social worker and creating Individual Support Plans for each client. What a lot I am learning about an agent's life and the things I did not have a clue about.

And I wanted to say too, I really appreciated yesterday's conversation. Not only about the distinctions between emotional connection and grammatical correctness but also the varied expressions about the content itself. Janet has gathered diverse voices into a community here. We do not agree but all voices are respected.

Unknown said...

Fuck fest does have a nice ring to it, doesn't it? Sucker for alliteration.

Colin, if we ever have to pick teams for an agent summer camp blogging workshop, I want you to be captain of my team. You have wonderful ideas, and you're a hardworking sob. Dibs on you.

My vote for sub header goes to Lance. No waiting. No worrying. Head down, keep working.

Megan V said...

Great WIR! Happy Valentines to you all. I love the Duchess's subheader nom.

Re Pączkis: During law school, I participated in a program in Poland and basically lived in a pączki, gołąbki, and pierogi heaven where I gained ten pounds. I'm surprised they didn't have to roll me back to the US.
I also loved celebrating Pączki Day back in the Midwest and this was especially true when I interned in D-town. Now I'm basically on the southern border and while there are a ton of great tamales and tortillas, boy oh boy, do I miss pączkis. I'd take a pączki over pancakes any day!

BJ Muntain said...

Lennon, I was sitting here thinking, what's so great about Valentine's day?

Then you mentioned chocolate. And I actually have chocolate in the house.

Today is good. Thank you.

And why have I never heard of Paczkis? I'm part Polish. My grandmother's family is all Polish. The golabki (cabbage rolls) and pierogi (perogies), yes. These have always been family foods. But never paczkis.

More than that, why did I not hear of these things before I was diagnosed celiac? When I could eat them?

I'm going to go indulge in chocolate now.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

I confess a partiality to DLM's subheader because it emotionally resonates with me at the moment.

Amanda's (for which we cannot vote, alas) is how I sometimes feel, living on the other side of the planet from, well, most everyone. Twitter is only interesting for me at the insomniac hour of 3am.

Otherwise, 2Ns' write-in entry of "This is surely an amazing place for writers and for those who think they aren't but really are." is also good.

nightsmusic said...

I will gladly take orders for Paczkis next year. Alas, there isn't one to be found by Thursday. Fat Tuesday is huge here because I'm so close to Hamtramck. My husband's uncle would drive there and stand in line for hours waiting for some.

MeganV, I'm not big on tamales and tortillas only because the spices and peppers hate me with a passion.

BJ, I come from a Scots/English background, but I married a Romanian/Czech. There's no way I wasn't going to get indoctrinated in all of that lovely eastern European food. ;)

I too wish I could vote for Amanda for the sub-header. After all, if people coming here don't get it, fuck 'em!


Megan V said...

nightsmusic—better watch out, I plan on taking you up on that offer next time around!!! I am practically salivating at the thought of Paczki's from New Palace or Martha Washingtons! Dziekuje!

BJ—I'm surprised you hadn't heard of paczkis, but I imagine your family has some amazing recipes. If they don't mind sharing? :D As for your not being able to have a paczki, that is some rotten luck, but chocolate is amazing too! And chocolate is perfect for Valentines.

Lennon Faris said...

BJ Muntain - glad I could make the day better for ya! Enjoy your CHOCOLATE!!! For anyone who indulges in Starbucks, this is their last day for the molten drinks. I am angry with the whole campaign for not selling them longer, but not enough to not buy the drinks. (And for our friends with Celiac's, I think they are gluten free).

Sorry this post was completely OT. I just get excited about chocolate.

nightsmusic said...

This is totally OT as well, but Megan, New Palace! They have the best, I think. So I'll send them next year and you can happily chow down.

I think they should try to make something like Paczkis for celiacs sufferers. :(

And now, I'll return to the topic at hand! But I'm out of stuff to say about it. My husband is hammering nails into the backerboard to hold up the steel mesh before we start putting the stone up on our fireplace and I've lost my mind...

Mister Furkles said...


Would you have not represented a client with novels like Father Andrew Greeley's?

Anonymous said...

I guess I should caution anyone who clicks over to that blog post of mine-- it was written the day before major surgery and I was pretty nervous about that, so the post is very long and just rambles on and on and on . . . more so than usual.

And Janet is right, that whole process of drafting a Will is emotional. I didn't think it would be -- I worked for an attorney for four years and most of what he did was Trusts and related documents (elder law) and I know that stuff inside out -- but it was very emotional. I suggest not waiting until you're facing a situation where a Will might be needed.

Another great WIR, Janet. Don't know how you manage it each week but I'm glad you do.

And we need context? I vote for Amanda's anyway. Or Lance's. Or any of them, really. I also really like what Carolynn wrote today about this being an amazing place for writers.

Panda in Chief said...

Huzzah! Another great WIR. Thank you. It was all illuminating. Not reading or commenting as much as I have been on a social media diet. Not abstaining completely of course, who could? But trying to get work done in the morning, so not on the early comment shift.

Celebrating valentine's day with some chocolate dipped kale chips.
Thanks everyone!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Janet. The WIR is the highlight of my weekend, helping me get my head straight and pointed toward the next week. We all appreciate the time you put into it.

I have two votes for the subhead (given that, sadly, we can't vote for Amanda Capper's delightful lament). I love the nerdy truthfulness of DLM's characterization of the Schrödinger's full. I also love Lance's elegant solution to the waiting-and-worrying dilemma. Don't wait, and don't worry. Wonderful!

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone. Spare a moment to connect with the ones you love, whether it's family, friends, Netflix, or Ghirardelli.

Janet Reid said...

oh the hell with context. Amanda's quote is the sub-header. If blogger slaps me with "adult content" we'll all suffer together!

Kae Ridwyn said...

Yay! Even more reason to grin when I visit here :D

Craig F said...

Thank you for the WIR. I would call it a great one but everyone would think I was just pandering to you for getting my name in it twice. It doesn't even matter that the first one was castigating me for being deluded. Of course I deluded; I'm a writer.

Damn it, I hadn't thought about golabki for years. Now I going to be stuck thinking about until I make some.

If blogger gives you shit about using AJ's quote for a subheader you can blame me.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Yeh Amanda !

Does blogger ban to Carkoon? Because if they do, bring your own TP, were about to run out. I'm in charge of the latrines. Have fun standing in line.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Yes, Amanda. Perfect subheader. This is why we love hanging out at the reef. Thanks Janet once more for everything. What an amazing, talented, and fun community this is.

Craig F said...

Oh, and a happy Valentine's day to all of you.

Time to find out how the cheesecake I made works.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

Lisa Bodenheim said:
We do not agree but all voices are respected.

One of the many things I like about this place. We're frickin' professionals who behave like the pros we are (publication status notwithstanding).

french sojourn said...

"So pissed I missed the fuck fest"

"oh the hell with context. Amanda's quote is the sub-header. If blogger slaps me with "adult content"...

we'll all suffer together!"

...which has always been a great indicator for a truly successful...oh my!

AJ Blythe said...

1am here and still working on the day job. Stopped in for a much needed break and after a good belly laugh am ready to keep at it. If I need another I'll just re-read the sub-header =)

Thanks for the clarification on the query process, Janet, and for another exceptional WiR.

Panda in Chief said...

Huzzah for Amanda's subheader! It was my not so secret hope that you would choose that one against all sensible impulses.
Besides, if Blogger was going to send us to their version of Carkoon (aka adult content) they probably already would have done so after all the fucking bad language the other day.

Janice Grinyer said...

LAWL the sub-header...Especially since this posted on VALENTINES DAY :D I do remember that day's comments; Amanda's was the perfect quip for the topic!

And a great WIR this week; thank you for answering my question, Janet. As you pointed out, since you are a member of Association of Authors’ Representatives, Inc. (AAR), and have to adhere to a code of ethics to be a member, that should be enough to squash any confidentiality fears to a potential client. And a search online would quickly reveal your social media presence is an obvious positive benefit to the Writing and Publishing community too. Both are good indicators that a Client would be in good hands.

And thank you for the thumbs up on the sub header - but I agree, Amanda's is hilarious, and reminds us of the day when all polite society left the room on this blog of yours; when the word "fuck" became an adjective... repeatedly!