Here's the complete story: Yellowstone Mountain Lions
"The arm belonged to one Jim Smith, a small-time crook who, funnily enough, hadn't been seen recently"
Some time ago Fabulous Gary Corby mentioned a crime that was solved by a shark. Naturally I perked up my fins and asked for details. This morning Gary posted the story here on his blog.
Of course it cracked me up completely, as I hope it does you.
And if, like me, it reminds you of how much fun it is to read Gary Corby's work, well, we're all in luck there. SACRED GAMES, the third book in the Nico series, is being published tomorrow 5/21 and you're in for a treat. Publishers Weekly thinks so too and in addition to the starred review (even calling it "the best thus far"--and both his other books were starred reviews as well!), ran an interview with Gary.
"And the library of my elementary school had this great biography section, and I read all of these paperback biographies until they were dog-eared. The story of Eleanor Roosevelt and Madame Curie and Martin Luther King and George Washington Carver and on and on and on. All these people who had changed the world in different ways"
--Christine Quinn, candidate for mayor of NYC (NYT 5/15/13)
From time to time I receive queries from writers who list a copyright number for the book they want me to represent. I don't pay much attention other than to note that author doesn't know much about how publishing works.
[To complete a copyright registration, you need the name of the publisher, the year of publication, and two copies of the book to lodge with the Library of Congress. At the query stage, you don't have any of that.]
Some writers think they should copyright their work to prevent plagiarism or theft, but copyright doesn't prevent that at all. Registering a copyright only means you can collect damages if someone does plagiarize your work. I am in the business of selling, not stealing, and prefer to work with people who do NOT assume I think plagiarism is just another wealth accumulation strategy. Thus, copyright registration numbers on a query are a bit of a red flag if I notice at all.
And today, someone sent a query with a copyright number that isn't a copyright number. I knew this instantly cause I've just finished registering copyright on five client books when the publisher didn't do it promptly.
I didn't respond to the query writer cause I've learned the hard way not to interact with writers other than through the Chum Bucket experiment, but I'm wondering is someone out there is scamming writers by saying they need to register copyright at the query stage, and offering "to help" a writer do it.
Registering copyright is $35 and about 20 minutes at the copyright office website (believe me, I know!) Anyone charging you money to save you time has an agenda going.
Let me know if you've seen anything like that out there, ok?
I'm going to be on query hiatus from 6/1/13 to 9/31/13. No Chum Bucket then either, sorry to say. (You know how much I love the Chum Bucket!)
Any queries sent during the hiatus will receive a form reply asking they be sent again when the hiatus is over. I won't keep or store any queries.
Yes, I'm going to miss some good stuff, but the Fabulosity is looking a little perturbed at my pace these days. I think some of them have turned in their mice and mouse pads for sharper implements!
Sending email to all your contacts about your new book?
Including all the agents you queried before you were published?
I don't know how other agents deal with this, but when you send me an email like that, I add your email address to my spam filter so I never have to hear from you again.
This might not be what you want to accomplish.
At some point in the future you might want to get in touch with me. You might want one of my clients to blurb your book, or invite me to your conference, or even ask a question for Friday Night at the Question Emporium. If your email is listed as spam, it doesn't go to my spam folder. It gets discarded. I'll never see it.
It's a Very Good Idea to use a mail service to send your promotional emails. At the bottom of those emails are instructions on how to unsubscribe. If you send me an announcement with an unsubscribe button, I'll click that rather than listing your email as spam.
Hello! I have three short query questions.
Firstly, what is the best font to use in a query? Secondly, how many credentials are too many?
Can you offer any advice on keeping my query at/under 250 words?
When sending 3-5 pages of MS over email, format gets lost. Even with RTF, the headers get lost along with page numbers. Info with web searches don't appear to address this.
I just read about a Women's Novel competition for unpublished female authors (that's me). And I was wondering if it was acceptable to query an agent if I've already entered my manuscript in the competition?
Or should I enter my novel in the competition, and then wait and see if I make the short list before querying an agent?
Or should I query a few agents, and if those are unsuccessful, then enter it in the competition?
Last year I published a religious book with a local publisher. It has a very finite audience and will probably sell 1,000 to 1,500 copies a year. If you google me, this book comes up on Amazon. My question is this: I am now writing thriller fiction; will this pigeonhole me to agents and make it harder for me to acquire one? I have no desire to publish anymore in the nonfiction religious genre as I saw a need and filled it.
I've been missing your blog posts tremendously! Every time I've checked, I see your latest post, which ends with the book titles... Sudden Violence. Silence. Truly ominous!
You can imagine what horrible scenarios a mystery writer could conjure up to explain your absence. Believe me, I thought of them all! Then I had the bright idea to check your twitter feed (duh) and was relieved to see that you're alive, if not well. Really hope you feel better soon.
If at some point you feel inspired to take a Whisky Hour (or Dr. Pepper break) and ponder a question for your Question Emporium, here's one I've been curious about. Perhaps tricky to answer, given the many variables...
Thanks for your good wishes. I'm slowly clawing my way back from the dead.
This news was in the trades today:
1. Your email address is someone else's name.
If you plan to pursue a career in publishing, you need your own email address. Here are some recent examples of people who look like they're doing this just for a lark:
(this one just cracked me up)
2. You name someone as my client...who isn't.
I write about a lot of good authors who aren't my clients. My clients are listed on the right side of the blog, AND if you click "clients" in the post category on the left side, you'll see the posts about clients. Yes, it takes some research to get it right. That's EXACTLY the kind of thing I look for in a client.
3. You mistake my non-fiction interests, with what I want to read about in novels. My website lists specific categories or areas of interest for non-fiction. The death penalty, justice issues, contemporary music, contemporary art. Sending me a query for a novel about music because "that's one of my areas of interest" makes me wonder if you're paying attention.
4. You reference meeting me in a place I've never been.
When you tell me you met me in a place I've never been, and I expressed interest in seeing your novel it really does make me wonder about you. Honestly, I do know where I've been these past too-many years.
I’ve been shopping my mystery around to agents. But just recently, I revisited another novel I wrote a while back and have decided it’s actually a pretty fine book. Therefore, I’m thinking of launching a parallel agent search for that book as well. But it’s not a mystery, falling instead in the women’s fiction/general literature category. My thinking was that I would see which book found a home first, and decide from there which genre to pursue. First question: Is this a wise thing to do, or will I somehow shoot myself in the foot by not focusing on one genre?
Ideally I’d like to find an agent who handles both genres, and I have in fact identified one agent who would be my dream agent in that regard (as well as several other regards). I’m currently waiting for a response from her on my query for my mystery. So second question: Is submitting a query for a second book, in a different genre, breaking some type of querying protocol? Would Ms. Dream Agent find it strange and/or annoying, or would she be impressed with how versatile an author I am?
Speaking of things that make my hyperventilate with desire:
The recent spate of queries produced a couple things that really just made me want to weep salty shark tears:
1. (C)Copyright (date). You don't need to include a copyright notice in your email query. Not now, not ever. Your work is protected without the notice and if you think I'm going to steal it, why are you querying me at all?
(2) Your comp titles are movies. This is almost never the right choice. The purpose of a comp title is to show me which readers will be attracted to your book. Thus, you need to compare your book to books.
(3) "This novel is intended for adults." You'd be surprised how unhelpful that statement is. Adults read all sorts of books from picture books to YA to academic tomes. Be specific. People who read "MAN IN THE EMPTY SUIT" by Sean Ferrell will be likely readers for this book.
Your name and agency came up as the result of extensive, rigorous search on the Internet, utilizing advanced heuristic criteria such as: “professionalism, exceptional reputation, quick turnaround, outstanding ethics and extraordinary rate of responsiveness”. A lot more agents
and agencies were discarded in the process for failing to meet one or several stringent selection requirements.
My latest novel, ‘Southerly Breeze’ affords an exclusive, insider’s look at some of the true crimes of the comrades, a Darwinian tale of survival of the ‘meanest’, where assets become liabilities on the spur of the moment and none is spared. I am uniquely qualified to write it,
as I have ‘been there, saw, it, done it’ as the adage goes. Additionally, a lot more literary savvy authors than me have pointed out, that we are just barely beginning to grasp the historical and literary implications of the Civil War, so the time to publish this historical thriller is now.
Next follows the complete text of my submission as a universally accepted Adobe PDF file:
Complete text of incoming query:
Pasted below are the first five pages of TITLE, a romance and political satire.
Thank you for your time and consideration.