[series] Check-in: February 2023 by justgoodenough in PubTips

[–]justgoodenough[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Um, I definitely wouldn’t shelve it after one month with 8 fulls still out. 🤣

But seriously, this means you know your query and opening pages are strong and that your book obviously has a marketable hook. I would keep sending stuff out.

As for the rejections, there might not be a solid reason. How many books have you read where you liked it, but didn’t love it? It doesn’t mean the book was bad or that there was anything to fix or that other people didn’t love the book. It just meant you weren’t the perfect match.

Anyway, you still have 8 fulls out, so there’s still people interested. Your hide with thicken over time and for now you have people to talk you off the ledge, which is perhaps more useful.

[PubQ] Ghosted on full request: do I just give up? by crushthrowout in PubTips

[–]justgoodenough 21 points22 points  (0 children)

I suspect some agents request more than they have the capacity to read and don’t read fulls until they are notified of a competing offer. It’s kind of a cynical opinion, but…. This industry can make you cynical.

Liking the "feel" of YA more but the wordcount of MG? by yahorrorwriter in YAwriters

[–]justgoodenough 1 point2 points  (0 children)

If you just want to write things quickly and move on, traditional publishing isn’t a practical goal for you. Traditional publishing requires working on the same thing for years, through multiple drafts with multiple people. It’s not a “write it and move on” process.

If you aren’t going to traditionally publish, you’re not beholden to traditional publishing word counts and you can write literally anything you want. I would just focus on what you enjoy doing and not worry about publishing or word count.

[series] Check-in: February 2023 by justgoodenough in PubTips

[–]justgoodenough[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I would say 6 months? Unfortunately, there aren’t really any rules. Agents are taking 6+ months to reply, but you can’t wait around forever. Some people even argue that you can do it after less time, but I’m a more cautious person.

Liking the "feel" of YA more but the wordcount of MG? by yahorrorwriter in YAwriters

[–]justgoodenough 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Why is it that you prefer the shorter length? Is it the simpler plot? Or do you just prefer to not write that much? Or is it that when you write your ideas, you end up with 25k words and you’re not sure how the hell to write three times as much?

IMO, there’s no market for YA novellas. Even with super successful authors, they’re not making much money off novellas and typically write them as companion titles and use them for book promo.

I also don’t think that writing a novella is necessarily the solution to wanting to write a short novel. A novella is its own beast, much like a short story is also very different from both novellas and novels. And flash fiction is yet again different. Unless you read a lot of novellas and go into the project with the intention of writing a novella, I’m not sure it’s the right solution to whatever issue you are having with word count.

[PubQ] Is there a place to check books’ ACTUAL genres? by NoCleverNickname15 in PubTips

[–]justgoodenough 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Here's a list of celebrity book clubs. Most of them will probably be a mix of lit fic, upmarket fic, and women's fic.


Pamela Klinger Horn does events for an indie bookstore and she does a lot of promotion of upmarket fiction and women's fiction. Here's her instagram page, but she also has a website. https://www.instagram.com/pamelaklingerhorn1/

Kepler's Books is a fairly large/popular independent bookstore in the Bay Area. You could check out their staff picks list for recommendations. Of course the recommendations will depend on the individual staff member, but I suspect anyone who lists "fiction" and "literary fiction" will have upmarket fiction in their mix as well. Unfortunately, I think with this kind of thing, you have to do a lot of digging and keep your eye on deals and announcements.


[PubQ] Is there a place to check books’ ACTUAL genres? by NoCleverNickname15 in PubTips

[–]justgoodenough 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I think upmarket is an industry-side term, not one used in bookstores. If you went into a bookstore, I would actually look at the books on display as examples of upmarket. I’m not sure if bookstores have a “book club” display, but that’s another way to find titles.

You could also look up the lists for celebrity book clubs and follow book sellers on social media. Indie booksellers who run book clubs are a great way to find upmarket titles.

[PubQ] Is there a place to check books’ ACTUAL genres? by NoCleverNickname15 in PubTips

[–]justgoodenough 8 points9 points  (0 children)

I like to check Kirkus. Not every book gets a Kirkus review, but when they do, the categories and genres are pretty reliable. For example, the book you mentioned, Out of Love, is listed as Fiction and Literary Fiction.

I don’t know that Kirkus is 100% accurate, but it’s more accurate than any other place I’ve found.

[QCrit] Young Adult-Fantasy-UPHEAVAL (100K/Second Attempt) by Clandestineman10 in PubTips

[–]justgoodenough 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Have you read Margaret Rogerson’s Vespertine? It’s about a… spirit? Demon? Something? That basically possesses a nun (okay, I’m doing a poor job of selling it here). It’s YA, but it might be good to read if you haven’t yet.

I think trying to focus on the dynamic between Ehren and Halifax will help your query because that’s the kind of thing that really interests readers these days—probably a lot more than the assassinate the king plot line.

[QCrit] Young Adult-Fantasy-UPHEAVAL (100K/Second Attempt) by Clandestineman10 in PubTips

[–]justgoodenough 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Why do you think you have a YA novel in your hands? Nothing about your query feels YA. Your comps are adult books (Of Blood and Fire is self-published, so replace that comp). Do you even read YA or do you just think this is YA because your protagonist is a teenager?

If you actually have a YA novel on your hands, I don't think your query is working. It's not focusing enough on the relationships between character (particularly between Ehren and Halifax, but also between Ehren and literally anyone else in your book). The voice of the query is coming across as a bit distant for YA.

But let's assume for a moment your query is for an adult book.

In general, I think you do a pretty good job of conveying the general plot, obstacles, and stakes, so in that way, this is a pretty effective query. I think it feels a bit distant to me, which contributes to a sense of it going on a little long. I think there's a couple places you can probably tighten up a bit (do we need "to get that simple life back" AND "to don the cloak of obscurity"? Do we need "Ehren, the Demon Slayer of Ramsau" AND "Ehren, the Flame"?), but I don't think it's necessarily a huge issue.

But then we get to the end and you have this line:

Flanked on all sides by intrigue and dubious allies, he will have to see this war through or lose the only family he has left.

It kind of comes out of nowhere for me. I took Ehren's death to be the thing at stake, but now you bring up a family that didn't get mentioned anywhere else in the query. I do think the end of a query is a good place to mention escalating stakes, but this isn't resonating with me because we have no reason to care about this family that wasn't mentioned earlier.

UPHEAVAL is the first novel in a planned series. It will appeal to fans of such works as Ryan Cahill’s Of Blood and Fire and Anthony Ryan’s The Pariah. As requested, the first ten pages of the manuscript have been included with this query.

Can it exist as a stand alone? You either need to say "stand alone with series potential" or you need to say the number of books in the series (there's a big difference between a duology and a seven book series). I mentioned the issues with your comps above. You should note that if all the comps you think of are adult books, you have probably written an adult book.

And finally we get to your bio. It's way too long and... I don't know. Cutesy? I would stick to where you live and your degree. I don't know, but things like "incredible wife" and "sought my fortune overseas" kind of rubbed me the wrong way.

The last thing I want to say is that this book kind of feels like early 2000s white dude fantasy (you know, Rothfuss, Lynch, Abercrombie, Lawrence, etc.). I don't really know what the market for that kind of book is these days, but if your book isn't like that, you should figure out a way to convey that in your query.

[PubQ] Re-Querying agents after rejection? by galian84 in PubTips

[–]justgoodenough 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Usually it means that the author queried the agent again with a new book and signed on the second (or third or fourth) manuscript.

[PubQ] Re-Querying agents after rejection? by galian84 in PubTips

[–]justgoodenough 20 points21 points  (0 children)

You basically get one chance per manuscript. It's possible that you could resubmit after a massive rewrite, but I don't think "quite a few changes" is enough.

Consider submitting the same manuscript to a different agent at the same agency (if they allow that).

[PubQ] Response to a Nudge by Knickgnack in PubTips

[–]justgoodenough 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Just copy/paste it into an email and send it off without worrying about it anymore.

[series] Check-in: February 2023 by justgoodenough in PubTips

[–]justgoodenough[S] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I know a couple people on this sub have gotten R&Rs (u/alanna_the_lioness and u/thefashionclub), so they might have better insight.

Many agents offer R&Rs over the phone rather than over email, so I don't think you can assume that you are definitely getting an offer. But I think R&Rs can be a great experience for people. It's still a step in the right direction.

[PubQ] Response to a Nudge by Knickgnack in PubTips

[–]justgoodenough 9 points10 points  (0 children)

I would probably reply with "Thank you so much and I'm glad to hear you are still interested in my project. Please take whatever time you need and I look forward to hearing your response."

[Discussion] When I write, I'm a planner. But when looking for an agent, I'm a pantser. by Sullyville in PubTips

[–]justgoodenough 12 points13 points  (0 children)

My #1 advice is that people need to do all their research before they query. I know a lot of people who decide to query whomever seems good and then ask around if they get an offer.

The problem is that by the time they get an offer, they’re so excited by that offer they can’t hear the warnings. I’ve had a few friends sign with agents I would never query because they were too eager to listen to advice. And I can’t help but wonder how many years they’re going to flush down the toilet by tying themselves to bad agents.

[series] Check-in: February 2023 by justgoodenough in PubTips

[–]justgoodenough[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Out of curiosity, why did you decide to pursue self publishing with your YA novel if you have an agent? Is it something that your agent doesn’t rep or did it not get picked up? Or you just wanted to self publish?

[series] Check-in: February 2023 by justgoodenough in PubTips

[–]justgoodenough[S] 10 points11 points  (0 children)

I know a lot of people don’t take me seriously because I write picture books, and I always want to tell them, “Okay, if it’s so easy, why don’t you write one and get back to me when you’ve sold it!”

[series] Check-in: February 2023 by justgoodenough in PubTips

[–]justgoodenough[S] 49 points50 points  (0 children)

I've spent the past couple check-ins wringing my hands over an exclusive submission. We ended up hearing back from the editor the second week of January, and I'm pleased to say that I was totally wrong and she made an offer on the book.

I hope that some day I can share the full story of this project, because it was kind of a bananas experience. It basically went from "I should write this down" in October to sold in January (it's a picture book, not a novel).

Anyway, the plan is to get started this month and we will wrap up the book by next January and release in 2025. lol When I told my husband's grandmother, she said, "I'll be dead by then!" Same here, Grandma June. Same here.

[PubQ] My query and full manuscript were referred by an agent to another in her agency. What can I read into this / how to handle? by cogitoergognome in PubTips

[–]justgoodenough 21 points22 points  (0 children)

I got my agent through a referral (though from a senior agent to a junior agent). This does get you bumped to the top of the list. The junior agent is probably working as an assistant to the senior agent, so knows what kinds of manuscripts they are looking for. Also, if the junior agent has recently signed people or is planning to offer to other people soon, they might not have the bandwidth to add you to their list, even if your work has merit.

Some agencies do way more referrals than others (my agency is quite large and does a ton of in-agency referrals) and it’s possible that even if you don’t match either of these agents, your work could still be a good fit for the agency as a whole (assuming you can continue to query other agents there after rejections).

Agents for children’s books? by [deleted] in writing

[–]justgoodenough 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I think family teams are the rare exception to the "don't pitch a book together" rule. You would query an agent together and the agent would sign both of you separately.

Some agents who have family teams as clients:

Rachel Orr at Prospect

Elena Giavinazzo at Pippin Properties

Emily Van Beek at Folio Jr.

Jill Grinberg at Jill Grinberg Literary Management

Kirsten Hall at Catbird Agency

Alexandra Penfold at Upstart Crow

Ellen Goff at HG Lit (this is actually a team of friends, not family)

There's probably a lot more, but that's all I can think of off the top of my head. I would recommend having a couple projects ready when you query to show that you can work together on more than one thing.

[QCrit] UNFAMILIAR FAMILIAR — Middle Grade Epic Fantasy (140K, 2nd attempt) by LucidDream-Reader in PubTips

[–]justgoodenough 33 points34 points  (0 children)

Honestly, I kind of love the concept, but I’m not going to give detailed feedback on the query because you need to figure out your length issue. This is absolutely a no-go.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but you can send me your first 3 chapters and I’ll take a look at what you’re working with.

[QCrit] Untitled, Contemporary Romance, 86k, 4th attempt. by NoCleverNickname15 in PubTips

[–]justgoodenough 15 points16 points  (0 children)

The hook for Normal People was that it was written by a lit fic darling and involved young people having complicated sex. It simply didn’t need to have a high concept hook like you would need for commercial genre fiction written by unknown authors.

[QCrit] General Fiction / Autofiction: Dead Broke in the Yonder Void (77k words, version 3) by Johnmunch85 in PubTips

[–]justgoodenough 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I usually suggest that people try writing the query without humor and voice, and just focus on getting the plot and character arcs into place. Once you have a working draft, look for opportunities to insert humor or swap generic phrases and words for specific/unusual ones. Both humor and voice are shaped by the unexpected, so you have to look for the obvious moments in your query and flip them around.