Monday, May 20, 2019

Questions from the comment section

I was accepted to this year's Odyssey Writing Workshop. I even won a prize for my submission entry! I'm looking forward to learning a ton about writing, and about my own writing, and generally just being with a bunch of other writers in an intensive learning environment.

Janet, is this something I would include in the short bio/relevant personal info part of a query letter? I imagine its real value is going to be in the improvement in my writing, but if it helps to mention it, I want to do so.
Yes, you should certainly mention it. It's a competitive selection for your current work. The things you don't mention are classes you signed up for (ie no selection process) or things done when you were in high school.

The more proximate the prize is to your current work, and the current year, the better.

And right now when pub credits are still just a few, if any, this is exactly the kind of thing to use.

You said: "My agency agreement says you've already agreed that I represent everything you give me to sell."
OK, so - just to clarify. What if I write something and don't give it to you to sell? Say I'm a name author and I write a freebie to help out a charity. Technically, I haven't given it to you to sell, so you don't represent it. On the other hand, they would take it and sell it, so you should get a cut. And yet ... you didn't actually do anything, but then again ... my hamster wheel just fell off its axle.

If you write a freebie, you aren't getting paid. Thus, I'm not getting paid. I've done more than a few of these for Bouchercon anthologies and other charity donation.

I'm still going to review the contract and make sure it doesn't tie you up in knots.

If you're asked to write something for an anthology, and you're getting paid, generally I get paid too.

These statements about how things work  are impossible to write to cover every instance. Not all agents work like this this. Situations vary from client to client.

My point was not about the exceptions to the rule; it was about the general rule. You get one agent at a time and I rep you for all your work we sell. In other words you don't owe me a commission for your blog posts, even if they earn money.

Any questions?

Morning? Is it morning now?


Colin Smith said...

Janet: Is it true to say, however, that if a client wanted you to run an editorial eye over a freebie before submitting it to said charity anthology, you would do that, even though neither of you are getting any money for it? I base this thought on the notion that part of your job is to protect the client, sometimes from themselves. Which includes warning them if something they make publicly available might unwittingly hurt their career or damage their reputation...?

The Noise In Space said...

Actually, that last line on the first answer does spark another question for me: at what point do awards become too old to be relevant?

I'm currently stuck in the querying trenches, and it's been a bit of a slog. (For those in the Facebook group, this is the one that a great many of you read and even more helped with the query letter for.) It's not even the rejections I mind so much--it's the radio silence. Only a quarter of my queries have actually received any reply at all. :/ But I just sent out another round last night, including one to an agent at Janet's own agency, so we'll see. Maybe the coworkers of a shark will like the piece a little better!

Janet Reid said...

Oh hell yes.
I like to have my long pointy nose in ALL the work.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

The Noise in Space I imagine depending on the award (industry relevant, a Big Deal™, etc) it might very well be persistently relevant. Like, a 1997 Nebula award is always going to be a jewel in your crown. Winning a writing contest at a community college when you were 10 less so (even if the judge was Walter Farley's brother! Unless you write horse books, I guess?)

Though hopefully Janet will weigh in and my speculation is unnecessary!

(Walter Farley's brother was really nice though)

You know, that's an upside to Literary Agenting that I hadn't before considered. You in theory have the ability to read EVERYTHING a client is reading, so you don't have to guess if Felix Buttonweezer has a new short story, or a novel in the works, or whatever. You get it in your hot little hands!

CED said...

Thank you for answering my question, Janet!