Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What Gives You Pause?

As I trudge through my love/hate relationship with Query Hell, I read a lot of posts/comments/blogs while doing my research. I’ve moved beyond the wide-eyed aspiring author who only wants someone to love my work and take it on. I’m now the author who asks, “Are you the best person for my novel?”

Now, there are glaring reasons why one would say no to an agent:

They charge fees.
They have an editorial business that they push on rejected authors.
They have a known history of unprofessional behavior.
They have bad reviews from other clients/submitters. *This is why scrolling writer’s forums are so invaluable.*

While there are many more reasons to remove an agent from your list, (which happens to be the question all searching authors should ask, “Do you deserve to be on my list?”), what this post is about is what gives you pause?

I’m talking about the little things that aren’t the obvious reasons to say no, but may raise a red flag.

For example, I was researching an agent the other day and couldn’t find much information about the agent online. I kept going to the sparse website rereading everything posted. I kept looking for different ways to Google said agent, and reading what little information I found. Then I saw the agent’s email address. It was through AOL.

Is this a reason to keep the agent off my list? Not necessarily. Does it seem odd that an agent—who has been in the business for several years—doesn’t have an email address linked to their business? Little bit, yeah. The AOL address was enough to give me pause, and on its own probably wouldn’t be enough to keep the agent off my list. But combine that with the lack of information, and this agent didn’t make it on my list.

So tell me, have you come across something while researching an agent that made you pause and rethink sending them your query? Was it so-so feedback from other authors? Typos on their webpage? Or comments made on their blog that rubbed you the wrong way?

Friday, July 1, 2011

So I was watching Dr. Phil Today…

…And something on the show made me scream! The episode—which was a repeat—was about feuding mothers and daughters. This one woman told the story of how she was stalked by a serial killer. He’d murdered 37 women and she was next, but fortunately, he got caught before he killed her. As horrifying as this was, it was not what made me scream.

The daughter wrote her mother’s story and shopped it around. She found a publisher, but the deal fell through because the mother threatened to sue, accusing the daughter stealing the story. Thus ended the book deal. The daughter said they had the potential of making $3 million.

So, Dr. Phil says, “Your publisher is here.”

They turn the camera to a woman sitting in the audience. She introduces herself, and Dr Phil says, “And what publishing house do you work for?”

“Publish America.”


Oh, you poor, misguided, delusional family. You think you’re feuding now? Wait until you owe more money then you make.

But this was my favorite part. Dr. Phil asked the lady from Publish America how many $3 million checks they’d written in the past.
Her answer: “I can say with some certainty, none.”

Damn right you haven’t! This family has no idea what a big ass bullet they just dodged! I wish someone would’ve walked away from the fight and simply typed, “Publish America” into Google. I mean, there is an entire thread dedicated to PA on Absolute Write, Water Cooler.

So, is it weird that I was more freaked out about their book deal being with Publish America than I was about the serial killer? To be honest, the mother was more upset about the book deal than the serial killer.

I don’t even have a question to ask you all. I just found this entire episode completely bizarre.