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Viewing Blog: Jennifer Jackson - Literary Agent, Most Recent at Top
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Jennifer Jackson joined the Donald Maass Literary Agency of New York City in 1993. She grew up reading science fiction and fantasy, and initially concentrated her endeavors in that field. She continued by pioneering the expansion of the agency into the areas of romance and women's fiction, and is developing her list in the mystery and suspense genres. Her current roster includes best-selling fantasy writer Jim Butcher, Derringer-Award nominee C.M. Chan, and award-winning author Jo Ann Ferguson.
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1. moving day and news

Short and sweet.... it's been in the works for a bit, but this blog is now moving over to a Wordpress install at http://arcaedia.wordpress.com/.

The archived entries from livejournal have been imported there, but will be left here with comments turned off for the forseeable future. Wordpress also attempted to import comments but it appears a few may have gone missing.

ETA: Through the kind assistance of [info]matociquala, LJ feed for the new blog available at [info]agent_j_jackson

If you link to this blog, please update with the new site.

This post continuing at the new site with some big news in 3... 2... 1...

Click here.

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2. happy release day

Today is the official release day for Bloodshot by Cherie Priest

A 100-year-old vampire thief runs afoul of secret biological experimenters­--first of an urban fantasy series from the versatile author of Boneshaker (2009).

Sassy vampire Raylene Pendle makes a good living by stealing things to order; luckily, the numerous law-enforcement agencies in pursuit think she's a man. Very much a loner, she lives in Seattle in a vast abandoned warehouse stuffed with valuable objects acquired as insurance—premises she shares with a pair of street-urchin intruders who, over the months, have gradually morphed into lodgers. When charming blind vampire Ian Stott asks for her help, money no object, Raylene pays close attention. Ian needs her to retrieve top secret government files—documents detailing the horrid black-op Army experiments, performed on vampires and other unorthodox persons, that left Ian blind. After an interloper invades her warehouse—Raylene kills him without compunction—she doesn't immediately make the connection. Then, in Atlanta, she gets a lead on another victim of the experiments via the victim's brother Adrian, a huge, exNavy SEAL drag queen. Unfortunately, there are immediate complications: ruthless Men in Black masquerading as CIA; and evidence that Project Bloodshot, supposedly shut down years ago, is once more roaring ahead thanks to a mysterious, mega-rich private financier. Brutally unsentimental narrator Raylene—she suffers from early-morning panic attacks and can't help wondering where Adrian tucks his male equipment while he's queening—makes a quirky and charming if bloodthirsty host.

A refreshing and addictive lure for readers uninterested in fangs, bats, capes and hissing.

—Kirkus, Starred Review

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3. happy release day

Today is the official release day for debut novel, God's War by Kameron Hurley

Readers will be fascinated by the setting of this slow-starting but compelling far-future debut. On a planet settled by Muslims and ravaged by constant war and pollution, Nyx, a former government-sponsored assassin or "bel dame," gets by as a bounty hunter. Her assistant is the foreign magician Rhys, who can control the ubiquitous insects that drive the planet's technology. When the government asks them to hunt down an off-worlder who possesses technology that could end the war, they find themselves facing off against foreign agents and their fellow bel dames. Hurley's world-building is phenomenal, with casual references to insectile technology and the world's history that provide atmosphere without info dumps. Far too many pages are spent introducing the characters, but the story is highly engaging once it starts, and Hurley smoothly handles tricky themes such as race, class, religion, and gender without sacrificing action. --Publishers Weekly


The book so nice, I sold it twice. This one didn't have an easy road. I'm glad Kameron hung in there, and that she kept believing in me while I was believing in her. Kameron goes into more detail here.

Also, this week, comment on any of the posts at the Night Bazaar about favorite female characters, and be entered to win a free copy. Details here.

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4. letters from the query wars 1/7/2011

Despite the fact that I did not end up posting much during the holiday season, I did keep responding to queries. Details....

# of queries responded to week ending 12/10/2010: 79
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 0
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: n/a

# of queries responded to week ending 12/17/2010: 156
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 1
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: urban fantasy

# of queries responded to week ending 12/24/2010: 79
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 2
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: YA(1), high fantasy (1)

End of the year stats:

# of queries responded to in 2010: 7,835
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 41
(some of which are still on my desk awaiting review)
note: this # does not include requests made at conferences

# of clients signed: 1 (down from 5 last year): debut novelist, Saladin Ahmed, author of _Throne of the Crescent Moon_, the first of a fantasy trilogy, which we sold to DAW Books.

And now, welcome to the New Year....

# of queries responded this week: 188
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 0
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: n/a

And I have now responded to all queries received in 2010. If you sent a query in 2010 and did not receive a response, either it did not reach me, or my response did not reach you.

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5. happy release day

Today is the official release date for Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's The Agent Gambit, part of Baen's reprinting of the earlier Liaden novels. This omnibus includes Agent of Change and Carpe Diem.

Agent of Change: Once a brilliant First-in-Scout, Val Con yos’Phelium was “recruited” by the shadowy Liaden Department of Interior and brainwashed into an Agent of Change—a ruthless covert operative who kills without remorse. Val Con has been playing a deep game, far from the orderly life of clan and kin. Fleeing his latest mission, he saves the life of ex-mercenary Miri Robertson, a Terran on the run from interplanetary assassins. Thrown together by circumstances, Val Con and Miri struggle to elude their enemies and stay alive without killing each other-or surrendering to the unexpected passion that flares between them. Which name – or face – will the agent choose when the game gets tough and an escape for only one of them seems possible?

Carpe Diem: On the run from interplanetary assassins and a ruthless interstellar crime cartel, covert operative Val Con yos'Phelium and former mercenary sergeant Miri Robertson formed an alliance of necessity and wound up stranded on a planet with no rescue in sight. Their on-world problems were looking manageable after they assumed new identities as musicians, that is until a local war forced them to reveal their alien combat skills – and doubt their own growing partnership of trust and love. By then the relentless hound of an agent on Val Con's trail was closing in with the very weapon Val Con and Miri most feared, and the game got very rough indeed.

A great way to introduce new readers to the series.... Read the rest of this post

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6. link salad (client edition)

* Congrats to Mike Shevdon for Road to Bedlam garnering the award from SFBook.com for Best SF/F Book of 2010!

* Signal boost: read about Ekaterina Sedia's new book, The House of Discarded Dreams. See the gorgeous cover! (I gave two copies of this as holiday gifts this year myself.)

* via Martha Wells - new blog The Night Bazaar, featuring authors debuting with Night Shade Books in 2011. Martha's book is The Cloud Roads. Also includes Kameron Hurley, author of God's War.

* C.E. Murphy offers her 2011 Irish Photography calendar. (I got the 2010 one as a gift last year, and loved it!)

Clients are starting to post for their Nebula and Hugo eligibility:

* Elizabeth Bear with bonus what's coming to bookstores near you this year
* Mary Robinette Kowal
* Jay Lake
* Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

And one last bit of holiday spirit via Teresa Wilde:

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7. letters from the query wars 12/3/2010

# of queries responded to last week: 75
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 1
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: SF

# of queries responded to this week: 163
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 1
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: SF

oldest query in the queue: November 30

A list inspired by this week's queries:

* I still don't represent memoirs.

* A debut author of fiction should have completed (and revised) the manuscript before they begin querying.

* Proof-reading is a good idea. So is spelling query correctly.

* Only submit your query to one agent at DMLA. Not multiple agents. (It's in our guidelines.)

* No attachments are accepted on queries.

* The query and sample pages need to be in English.

* Those 37,000 words from NaNoWriMo are not a finished novel.

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8. happy release day

Today is the official release day for The Bone Palace (The Necromancer Chronicles) by Amanda Downum

In a spectacular freestanding sequel to 2009's The Drowning City, Downum jumps a few years forward to find forensic necromancer Isyllt Iskaldur investigating the death of Forsythia, a young prostitute with stolen royal jewelry sewn into her clothes, in the haunted city of Erisin. As Isyllt follows the trail of death and theft to the sewers and their vampiric inhabitants, Savedra Severos, the crown prince's beautiful transgender mistress, struggles to defeat assassins and unravel plots involving her own uncle and a demonic sorceress mysteriously allied with Isyllt's mentor and former lover, the spymaster Kiril. Finely drawn characters love and betray with enthralling passion and pain, and the taverns and gardens of plague-ridden Erisin and the titular ruined palace at its center make a dark and richly detailed background for this complex and bloody tale of sorcery, madness, and intrigue. --Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Also available: The Drowning City (The Necromancer Chronicles)

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9. letters from the query wars 11/19/2010

# of queries responded to this week: 156
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 1
genres of partials/manuscripts requested: YA

via client Kameron Hurley
author of the forthcoming God's War (January 18, 2011)
What 15 Years of Rejection Looks Like
including my own 15 seconds of fame

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10. Win and e-reader and support the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship

The Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship Fund eReader Drawing

Drawing ends November 22

via Tempest's post about the drawing:
"Entrants can win one of two Barnes & Noble Nooks, One of two Kobo Readers, and an Alex eReader from Spring Design. And to sweeten the pot even more, all of the eReaders will come pre-loaded with short stories, poems, and books by writers of color."

N. K. Jemisin, Nisi Shawl, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Terence Taylor, Ted Chiang, Shweta Narayan, Chesya Burke, Moondancer Drake, Saladin Ahmed, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz and more. http://blog.carlbrandon.org/2010/11/butler-scholarship-ereader-drawing.html for details.

Click here to buy tickets.

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11. happy release day

Today is the official release date forThe House of Discarded Dreams by Ekaterina Sedia

Vimbai, who studies invertebrate zoology because of a fascination with horseshoe crabs, moves into the house on the beach in order to escape her Zimbabwean immigrant mother’s intensity; she finds something strange and beautiful. There are two roommates: Zach, who has a pocket universe where his hair should be, and Maya, who works in an Atlantic City casino. Vimbai’s dead grandmother haunts them, a ghostly presence who tells Zimbabwean children’s stories and does the dishes. When the house comes unmoored and drifts away to sea, Vimbai must bargain with ghostly horseshoe crabs, untangle the many and varied stories that have come loose in the vast worlds of the house, and find a way home. From Maya’s urban nightmares to Vimbai’s African urban legends, the house is filled with danger and beauty and unexpected magic. On one level, this is a reflection of ancient fairy tales and legends; on the other, it’s a perfectly straightforward tale of finding oneself in a bizarre world. Either way, Sedia’s prose is a pleasure, her story a lovely place to have spent time, even with the horrors her characters face. -- Booklist

Also available today METAtropolis: Cascadia

METAtropolis: Cascadia is the creation of Hugo and World Fantasy Award nominee Jay Lake; Mary Robinette Kowal, winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer; New York Times best-selling author Tobias S. Buckell; Hugo Award winner Elizabeth Bear; Aurora Award winner Karl Schroeder; and critically acclaimed author Ken Scholes. The team of narrators is any Star Trek fan’s dream: Rene Auberjonois (“Odo”); Kate Mulgrew (“Capt. Kathryn Janeway”); Wil Wheaton (“Wesley Crusher”); Gates McFadden (“Dr. Beverly Crusher”); Jonathan Frakes (“Cmdr. William Riker”); and LeVar Burton (“Geordi La Forge”). Jay Lake, who also served as Project Editor, introduces this stunning sequel, written and produced exclusively for digital audio.

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12. letters from the query wars 11/12/2010

# of queries responded to: 92
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 0
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: n/a

# of queries responded to: 147
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 0
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: n/a

# of queries responded to: 196
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 0
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: n/a

oldest query in the queue: 11/5/2010

Have been noticing lately a number of submissions which don't include a cover letter with the information I'd like to have. Many of them are only one line. So, I'm revisiting my quick guide to writing a query letter. Disclaimer: this is my guide and while I believe most agents would be satisfied with this, a few may have different layout requirements. Be sure to check their submission guidelines on their own website if possible.


* Item 1: Most agents want a personalized query. What does this mean? Well, it seems many of my fellow agents are satisfied with a simple use of their name (painfully obvious example: "Dear Ms. Jackson:"). There are so many queries addressed generically, or to huge lists of cc:ed agents -- that this alone will give a query a more professional demeanor.

* Item 2: A bit of info about the book itself. Something like: "I am seeking representation for my suspense novel of approximately 100,000 words, titled THE NOVEL I HAVE WRITTEN." It could also mention here if the book is the start of a series.

* Item 3: The pitch. This is the hardest part, or at least I think it is. This is where the writer's voice can come through. And the queries where this happens are definitely stand-out. But it's tricky. Overwriting it can make it stale or too slick. Dashing it off can make it sound thin. So, give it some attention. All it needs to do, though, is this: make clear the protagonist, the conflict/antagonist they are facing, and any details of plot or setting that are important.

* Item 4: A little about the writer. This is the place for relevant publication credits and background. Notice the word relevant. Don't just pad it out here. If there aren't any previous publication credits, don't sweat it. Just skip to the end.

* Item 5: The end: A closing line perhaps thanking the agent for their time in reviewing the query or something like that. Signed with the writer's name (don't make them guess what it is) and including the snailmail address, phone number and email address all in one place.

* Item 6: The part after the end: Here's where whatever additional material the specific agent being contacted has requested in their submission guidelines goes. For the record, I ask for the first five pages of the novel and a synopsis (3-5 pages seems good, or about 1 page per 100 manuscript pages).

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13. METAtroplis Cascadia: signal boost

via Mary Robinette Kowal

"I have been excited for a while about METAtropolis: Cascadia. First, I liked the premise of the anthology. Then the TOC of writers was awesome company. When they announced the all Star Trek cast of narrators I nearly squeed myself.

Now? The website is live and it has interviews with the narrators about their process in reading the stories. In particular, I like what LeVar Burton has to say, “Storytelling is storytelling.”

Check out the site, in particular the interviews with Jonathan Frakes, Kate Mulgrew (my narrator!), Wil Wheaton, LeVar Burton, and Gates McFadden are really interesting.

Can you tell I’m looking forward to release day? November 16, the day before our 9th anniversary. Now if only it were willow or pottery…"


The setting for METAtropolis: Cascadia is introduced in the original METAtropolis, in Jake Lake's story "In the Forests of the Night", narrated by Battlestar Galactica's Michael Hogan ("Saul Tigh").

Listen to this free story from METAtropolis or get the complete book from Audible now.

METAtropolis Free Story: 'In the Forests of the Night' by Jay Lake

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14. happy release day (belated)

Yesterday was the official release date for Carousel Tides by Sharon Lee (part of the amazing duo behind the Liaden series).

“A tourist town in Maine hosts a war of faerie magic in this engaging urban fantasy. The fireworks begin when Kate Archer returns to Archers Beach, Maine, to search for her vanished grandmother, Bonny Pepperidge, and to assume Bonny’s role as Guardian of Fun Country, an amusement park whose carousel animals are actually exiled fae criminals. Almost immediately, Kate runs afoul of neighbor Joe Nemeier, a drug smuggler who sets his assassins after her. Then she learns from the local earth spirits that Bonny may have discovered the whereabouts of Kate’s mom, newly escaped form a pursuing demonic captor. Lee brings these disparate subplots together in a pyrotechnic finale that plays out magically behind the ordinary facade of smalltown Maine life, evoking much of the romance and magic of her popular Liaden series.” -- Publishers Weekly

“Sharon Lee weaves fantasy into reality so deftly that you scarcely notice when you slip across the edge. And once you're there, the story's own magic won't let you turn back from the strong characters, deep mysteries, and even deeper danger.” -- James A. Hetley, author of Dragon's Eye, Dragon's Teeth, and Dragon's Bones.

Congratulations! (even if somewhat delayed by travel home from the World Fantasy Convention)

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15. happy release day

Today is the official publication date of Side Jobs: Stories From the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. The first short story collection in the #1 New York Times bestselling series-including a brand-new Harry Dresden novella!

Here, together for the first time, are the shorter works of #1 New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher-a compendium of cases that Harry and his cadre of allies managed to close in record time. The tales range from the deadly serious to the absurdly hilarious. Also included is a new, never-before-published novella that takes place after the cliff-hanger ending of the new April 2010 hardcover, Changes. This is a must-have collection for every devoted Harry Dresden fan as well as a perfect introduction for readers ready to meet Chicago's only professional wizard.

"Witty, fast-moving and well worked-out. Butcher's yarns go along with the standard supernatural repertory while providing enough twists to keep things fresh and intriguing." --Kirkus, Starred Review

"Die-hard fans who can’t wait for next year’s Ghost Story will want to rush to the final novella, “Aftermath,” starring Harry’s friend Karrin Murphy, but there are many others here worth reading... Adding value to this title are Butcher’s introductions to each story, filling the reader in on its place in the Dresden-verse time line and offering insight into the author’s intentions." --Library Journal

Also available today, the latest novel in the Kris Longknife series: Redoubtable by Mike Shepherd.

Lieutenant Commander Kris Longknife has precise orders: seek out, engage, and destroy pirates, slavers, and drug lords operating beyond the rim of human space-without interfering in Peterwald family affairs. But when slavers kidnap a twelve-year-old girl, Kris's mission becomes personal. And if destroying the pirate compound flattens some Peterwald interests-well, to hell with politics.

Or try the first book: Kris Longkni

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16. letters from the query wars 10/22/2010

It's been some weeks since the last query wars post for various reasons. It seems to me that the days are not only growing shorter as we draw closer to winter, but literally losing time. Or perhaps it's all perception. In any case, bringing it up to date....

# of queries responded to: 147
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 1
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: SF

# of queries responded to: 214
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 2
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: fantasy (1), thriller (1)

# of queries responded to: 187
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 1
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: urban fantasy

# of queries responded to: 290
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 0
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: n/a

oldest query pending: October 15th

And since time is on my mind of late, and this post from John Scalzi keeps popping into my mind, now and then, partially because of his comments regarding my client Jay Lake (who has been battling cancer for the last two years and has a dayjob, a family, and writing deadlines), but also as it's applicable to so many things and not just writing (for instance, agenting, or er... blogging):

"Either you want to write or you don’t, and thinking that you want to write really doesn’t mean anything. There are lots of things I think I’d like to do, and yet if I don’t actually make the time and effort to do them, they don’t get done." --John Scalzi

A few query letters have come my way recently from authors who have only written part of a novel, or have an idea but haven't begun writing, or some variation on that theme. Most of them seem to want some kind of feedback or advice, but, of course, at this stage it's far too early to be contacting an agent or publisher. A novelist with no prior publication history needs to have a complete manuscript to show. Invariably, they seem to mention they don't have the time to write and/or finish the novel without some kind of assurance that it will be well-received.

Now, I certainly don't know their particular situation, or what choice they'd be making to invest the time without whatever guarantee they're seeking. Maybe it's just not the right time for them. Maybe they aren't in a position to make a sacrifice. But maybe they just don't want to take the risk.

If you want to share: What have you chosen not to do in order to pursue your passion to write? What do you do to make the time for it?

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17. happy release day

Today is the official release date for Weight of Stone: Book Two of the Vineart War by Laura Anne Gilman

"Gilman’s second Vineart War offering is a fast-paced and tightly plotted tale that picks up right where the first book left off. Jerzy is a complex and likable hero who is loyal and intelligent. The magical system is highly original. Adventure fantasy fans will enjoy this series.

Vineart apprentice and former slave Jerzy is on the run after being accused of apostasy by the Washers, the religious sect of the Vin Lands. Accompanied by runaway noble Mahault, novice trader Ao, and Kainam, the named heir of the vanished island of Atakus, Jerzy has only begun to trace the source of the taint when he is called home to account for his actions. Unbeknownst to Jerzy and his friends, this is just the beginning of the fight for the soul of the Vin Lands."

--Romantic Times, 4 Stars

“with intriguing characters and a fresh approach to fantasy adventure, this beautifully written title deserves a wide readership.”

--Library Journal, Starred Review

Available in paperback: Flesh and Fire: Book One of The Vineart War

To celebrate, the author is giving away a copy of Kevin Zraly's 25th Anniversary "Windows on the World" COMPLETE WINE COURSE. Comment on her blog by November 1st to enter.

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18. happy release day

Today is the official publication day for Dreadnought by Cherie Priest

An intimate, well-crafted portrait of a nurse on a mission adds depth to this exceptional Civil War steampunk thriller, the self-contained sequel to 2009’s Locus Award–winning Boneshaker. Mercy Lynch, recently widowed and taxed to exhaustion by caring for Confederate wounded in Richmond, must cross the war-torn nation to reach her estranged father, who lies dying in the Washington territories. After her dirigible is shot out of the air, Mercy joins Horatio Korman, a Texas Ranger with an agenda, on the Union’s famous steam engine, the Dreadnought. On their trail are desperate Confederate soldiers and a zombified Mexican legion. The battles and intrigue are entertaining, but the real draw is Priest’s latest no-nonsense heroine, who comes equipped with a full measure of sharp judgment and brutal competence as well as a nurse’s kind (but not saintly) heart. --Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Now in paperback: Flesh and Fire: Book One of The Vineart War

In a world once ruled by mage-princes who nearly destroyed it, magic now resides in the hands of the Vineart Masters, who have the ability to cast spells through wine of their own making. When an unknown evil threatens to destroy the vines, the key to saving the world lies in the magic of Vineart apprentice Jerzy, provided he can learn to break centuries-old traditions.

VERDICT This launch of a new trilogy by the author of the Retrievers urban fantasies (Blood from Stone) achieves an extraordinary power from its elegant storytelling and unique magical philosophy. Offering one of the most original approaches to fantasy adventure; highly recommended for all fantasy fans. --Library Journal, Starred Review

Also, available for pre-order: Weight of Stone: Book Two of the Vineart War

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19. letters from the query wars 9/24/2010

# of queries responded to this week: 257
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 1
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: YA paranormal

oldest query in the queue: Sept 4

A few random things that struck me as ironic this week....

* Queries that request no reply unless interested because it bogs up the sender's email-- included in multiple queries for multiple works. And, of note, since many writers around the blogosphere hate/despise/otherwise denigrate "no response means no" policies.

* A terse follow-up about how it's been 3 weeks since a query was sent but there has not been the courtesy of a reply... when the listed response time for the agent is 4 weeks.

* Queries that indicate the sender would very much like to submit a sample of their work when the query doesn't include the first five pages as indicated in our submission guidelines. Irritated replies to same asking how a work can be evaluated without reading any of it. (It's a fair point so it's why I ask for the five pages.)

* Letters with no name in either the sender field or any of the text but wanting a personal reply. (So I'm stuck with Dear ihatekittens at yourISP dot com)

* Queries complaining about how mercenary and awful agents are while soliciting representation for new novel. Similarly, queries offering to pay fees or higher commission rates.

* Anything that includes the phrase: "I know you're extremely busy, but...." or some variation on that theme.

* Not being able to go back in time to tell my younger self who had such a ridiculously limited book budget that a day would come when I would be torn about which manuscript to read and critique on the weekend and that the 700+ books in the TBR pile would have to wait.

Happy weekend.... Read the rest of this post

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20. letters from the query wars 9/17/2010

# of queries responded to last week: 133
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 0
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: n/a

# of queries responded to this week: 161
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 1
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: paranormal thriller

From the comments on an earlier entry:

what do you do when you _have_ submitted a query, and then due to something or another, you realize your submission contained a mistake, or worse, a missing piece? Is it at all reasonable to say, "I'm sorry, could you please discard what I sent and look at this instead?" or is it best to just write off the submission and try again in the future with a completely different project?

As with many questions of this type, the answer is: "It depends."

I find with submissions where the change is a single sentence or something minor along those lines, that it just makes my inbox feel even more full than it already is. Of course, I always appreciate a carefully vetted and proofread submission.

In the case of neglecting to include what submission guidelines ask for (for example, according to my guidelines, the first five pages), I can understand a replacement submission. However. It is very helpful if it includes all of the material including the text of the original query. Otherwise they end up far apart in the inbox and might get missed.

What I would not encourage are frivolous additional submissions, tiny tweaks, etc. Given the number that comes in every week, this can end up becoming quite an issue. Take the time to read and re-read the query before hitting send. You can always sleep on it and give it fresh eyes in the morning.

Hope that helps.

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21. happy release day

Today is the official release day for Antiphon by Ken Scholes

The third installment of Scholes's grand-scale Psalms of Isaak saga (after 2009's Canticle) expands the genre-blending narrative in glorious style. The secret revival of the bloody Y'Zirite religion, which may be an elaborate conspiracy created generations ago to bring down the Androfrancine Order, has brought madness to the Named Lands. Gypsy King Rudolfo, whose infant son is being called the "Child of Promise" by the cultists, finds blood-magicked spies in his home and enemies in his forest. And as the invisible enemy furthers its masterfully orchestrated invasion, Rudolfo and others hear an ethereal music that seems to require some kind of response. A diverse cast of dynamic characters, a tantalizingly labyrinthine mystery, a world full of wonders, and powerful symbolism and imagery power this seamless merging of epic fantasy and science fiction. --Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Read Lamentation and Canticle (available in paperback) -- Book 1 and Book 2 of the Psalms of Isaak, both of which also garnered Starred Reviews.

Also, a special e-book offer this month for the first book, Lamentation, for just $2.99 Kindle | Nook | Sony

Win a copy: Since this is the book starring the 32nd daughter of Vlad Li Tam*, comment on this entry about which character is your favorite in the series and why, and win an ARC copy of Antiphon**. Contest runs from now until Thursday 9/16 at 5pm EST. One entry per person. U.S. residents only.

*A very important character.
**Please leave your name if posting anon.

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22. letters from the query wars 9/3/2010

# of queries read this week: 203
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 1
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: urban fantasy

oldest query in the queue: 8/10/10

A few days ago while I was wondering around the internets, I happened on a discussion in which the topic was an attempt to determine if there was a way to increase the odds of requests by gaming the system based on things like submitting during times of year when there are less queries coming in. The theory being that a smaller quantity of queries means less competition.

Well. Not from over here. (Setting aside the idea that there is a "slower" period of the year, because I sure haven't seen one lately.)

To my mind queries aren't like writing contests. I've been asked to guest-judge many of the latter and when I receive the finalist entries, I have to pick a winner. Therefore, even if none of the entries are my cup of tea, I still attempt to determine which is the best crafted, the most marketable, or whatever other characteristics the contest committee wants included in the judging.

Otoh, with queries, there is no requirement to ask for the one that is better than the others on a given week. Some weeks I've requested half a dozen submissions. Others I end up with 1 or 2 or even none.

10 not-so-great queries = 0 requests
10 great queries = 10 requests

See what I mean? The query system isn't like a contest. From where I sit, the queries aren't compared against each other to determine a "winner" with a "prize" of having materials requested.

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23. happy release day! (part II)

Mike Shevdon's Sixty-One Nails: Courts of the Feyre, Book 1 makes its U.S. debut today with The Road to Bedlam launching in the U.K. tomorrow (and coming to our shores in October).

There is a secret war raging beneath the streets of London. A dark magic will be unleashed by the Untainted… unless a new hero can be found. Sixty-One Nails follows Niall Petersen, from a suspected heart attack on the London Underground, into the hidden world of the Feyre, an uncanny place of legend that lurks just beyond the surface of everyday life. The Untainted, the darkest of the Seven Courts, have made their play for power, and unless Niall can recreate the ritual of the Sixty-One Nails, their dark dominion will enslave all of the Feyre, and all of humankind too.

Ken Scholes' Canticle, the 2nd book in the Psalms of Isaak, is out in mass market today.

The conspiracy deepens in this sequel to Scholes' epic, marvelously complex fantasy debut (Lamentation, 2009). In the previous installment, ancient spells of the Wizard King Xhum Y'Zir leveled the city of Windwir, repository of knowledge from the Old World. The instigator of the destruction, a Y'Zirite cult, reveals itself as the sequel opens by assassinating several major political figures, an act which the cult sees as the necessary prelude to the advent of its prophesied Crimson Empress. As civil war spreads across the Named Lands, nobleman schemer Vlad Li Tam and his extensive family search for the stronghold of their foe; the Gypsy King Rudolfo seeks a cure for his ailing infant son Jakob, heralded by Y'Zirites as the Child of Promise; Windwir survivor and prophetic dreamer Neb seeks his destiny in the Churning Wastes; and his beloved, the young Marsh Queen Winters, faces the unpleasant, deadly truth that the Y'Zirite cult sprang from her own people. Not only is Scholes a capable world builder, he ably handles the tough task of keeping the series momentum going, intensifying the mystery so deftly that even if readers can't foresee where the story's going, it's clear that the author knows exactly what he's doing. -- Kirkus, Starred Review

Also, a special e-book offer this month for the first book, Lamentation, for just $2.99 Kindle

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24. happy release day! (part I)

Today is the official publication day for:

C.E. Murphy's Truthseeker

Gifted with an uncanny intuition, Lara Jansen nonetheless thinks there is nothing particularly special about her. All that changes when a handsome but mysterious man enters her quiet Boston tailor shop and reveals himself to be a prince of Faerie. What’s more, Dafydd ap Caerwyn claims that Lara is a truthseeker, a person with the rare talent of being able to tell truth from falsehood. Dafydd begs Lara to help solve his brother’s murder, of which Dafydd himself is the only suspect.

"Truthseeker is pure C.E. Murphy at her best. Deftly switching between modern Boston and the alternate reality of the Barrow-lands, Truthseeker builds to an ending that will have you screaming for more."�Kim Harrison, author of the Hollows series

Jay Lake's The Sky that Wraps

Lake's sixth collection offers 25 tales written since 2007's The River Knows Its Own. The collection is bookended by popular favorites: the haunting "The American Dead" and "The Sky That Wraps the World Round, past the Blue and into the Black," a moody meditation on mistakes and the end of the universe. One of Lake's strengths is his ability to channel classic writers and styles, such as the heroic fantasy of Robert E. Howard in "The Leopard's Paw," Cordwainer Smith in the baroque "The Man with One Bright Eye," pulp SF in "Lehr, Rex," and space opera adventure in "To Raise a Mutiny Betwixt Yourselves." Fans of Lake's novels will especially appreciate the tie-ins to Green, Mainspring, and Trial of Flowers, while the diversity of settings and styles makes this a nice introduction to Lake's stylish craftsmanship. --Publishers Weekly

Elizabeth Bear's By the Mountain Bound now in mass market paperback.

"In this complex prequel to Hugo-winner Bear's All the Windwracked Stars

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25. link salad: client edition

While I was on vacation the clients were not un-busy.... (as I can tell from my inbox too!)....

* Free fiction! World-Fantasy-Award nominee Genevieve Valentine's story And the Next, and the Next available online. Bonus: read her post on How Elevators Work (so true).

* GoodReads is hosting a Q&A with Mary Robinette Kowal this month. Go ask questions!. Also of interest: her post on the importance of brick-and-mortar stores.

* Mike Shevdon posts about Sixty-One Nails at the Big Idea. Also, his round-up of historical articles behind the book. I find the whole quit-rents thing fascinating.

* Ken Scholes talks a bit about rejection over on Genreality.

* Amanda Downum discovers a variant of the Bloody Eyeball -- Ia! Ia!

Bonus non-client link: J.D. DeShaw's Lesson 4 : A choose your-own-adventure post about how to get published. Sometimes perception from the start of the road can be good to revisit (even for those in the trenches for a while).

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