Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ask an Agent

Ever wonder what a one-on-one session would be like with a key professional in the book-buying business? And, in the process, to gain some insider tips on getting your manuscript published?
Continuing our series “A Look Inside,” I’m happy to announce that Natalie Fischer, an agent from the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency, has agreed to visit Otherworld Diner on Thursday, Sept. 23. She'll answer questions about her job and pass along insider advice to budding writers.



The Sandra Dijkstra Agency represents such authors as Amy Tan, Diane Mott Davidson, Kate White and Lisa See. According to the Dijkstra Website, Esquire magazine chose Sandra Dijkstra and her team as one of the nation's "top five literary agents," and the Los Angeles Times proclaimed her an "├╝ber-agent".
Natalie Fischer has been with the agency since April 2009 and we hear she’s in the process of searching through the pre-published or just-published ranks for potential clients.
Although I can think of scores of questions to ask, it'll be even more interesting for blogging readers and fellow authors if they come up with the questions themselves. That's the one-on-one dimension mentioned earlier. ...
The bottom line: This Thursday Thirteen will grow as you post your questions and comments. Please don't be timid or reluctant. We're depending on you!


Header by Samulli
  1. Kendall Grey asks: What's the latest trend/fad in publishing, particularly in romance?
  2. Kendall Grey also wants to know: What is the fascination with steampunk? Is it really as popular as everyone says?
  3. Carol Rose asks: What percentage of new clients you sign in a year are debut authors?
  4. Nessa asks: What are the mistakes people make when submitting their work that gets them immediately in the "trash" pile?
  5. In addition, Nessa queries: Are there new "basics" guidelines for submitting work?
  6. Shalanna asks: Is the cozy/puzzle mystery that doesn't have a lot of gore (and is not a suspense novel) dead?
  7. Shalanna also wants to know: Could a writer publish a mystery like her first book now--or is the genre gone?
  8. Toni Anderson asks: How important is setting in selling a book?
  9. Toni Anderson also wants to know: Do you recommend writers getting their work professionally edited before submitting to an agent?
  10. Jody Wallace asks: You mention on the website you enjoy fairy tales and legends. What are some of your favorites?
  11. Shalanna wonders this: Imagine your ideal submission has arrived in your InBox. What genre is it (easiest to sell, your favorite)? Do you like it because of the voice and characters or the great narrative drive that pulls you along as a reader, or are you mainly evaluating it in terms of how fast the plot subjectively moves? Who will you submit it to first? Do you Google-search the author to take a look at his or her Web presence?
  12. Lori Dillon asks: What are you not seeing enough of right now as far as paranormal romance goes?
    NEVER MIND THE NUMBER. WE’RE GOING TO KEEP POSTING QUESTIONS. GRIN.
  13. Lori Dillon also wants to know: What are you on the lookout for from editors who've seen one too many vampire submissions after the success of Twilight and True Blood?
  14. And last, Lori queries: What is your take on time travels? Holding steady, making a comeback, or dead and buried?
  15. Jody Wallace also wants to know: What are your thoughts on an author's web presence beyond the basic website? Are you a big proponent of authors doing lots of social media, online marketing, blogging and so on?
  16. Sapphire Phelan asks: What do you think of YA paranormals? What kind would you look for, or do you not do those?
  17. Sapphire Phelan also wants to know: How about authors who write under two names, like I do? How do you handle those?
  18. www.mysisterdalesgarden asks: Is there a fear of memoirs? How can a new writer convey that she is gutsy, talented, has a following and really wants to have her memoir represented by an agent?
  19. Adelle Laudan asks: There seems to be more and more erotica in several different genres. Is there still a place for the sweeter more sensual side of romance and other genres? If so,in your opinion, why is it so difficult to find a home for these stories?
  20. Shelley Munro asks: Are you looking for small town romances and will you consider a setting outside of USA, e.g. New Zealand?
  21. Brenda asks: Although I have friends who have agents, my idea of what an agent does is vague. What typically happens when a person signs with you? What are the steps you and the client go through before a sale? Is there an average time frame to the manuscript selling?

32 comments:

  1. You probably get this all the time, but what's the latest trend/fad in publishing, particularly in romance? I know vampires continue to be hot, but are there other types of stories that are picking up steam? Speaking of steam, what is the fascination with steampunk? Is it really as popular as everyone says?

    ReplyDelete
  2. What percentage of new clients you sign in a year are debut authors?

    ReplyDelete
  3. What are the mistakes people make when submitting their work that gets them immediately in the "trash" pile?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Kendall Grey and CarolRose.
    Good questions.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Are there new "basics" guidelines for submitting work?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nessa,
    Yeah, if we could avoid those mistakes it would be awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Is the cozy/puzzle mystery that doesn't have a lot of gore (and is not a suspense novel) dead? I am constantly being told that "nothing matters except what happens next"--it all amounts to what some call a cult of "action porn" within publishing. Yet I know that I often skim a page-turner and seldom remember much about the book a week later, but when I read a more thoughtful book with engaging characters, I will often remember not only the storyline (as opposed to pure plot elements) but also the characters, who are still vivid to me. When I read, I expect to experience some of the characters' inner thoughts. But then I like to read. Books that I pick up off the shelves often seem to be written for those who don't like to read and want to get it over with as soon as possible. Diane Mott Davidson writes more thoughtful mysteries, but she is established already. Could a writer publish a mystery like her first book now--or is the genre gone?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Do you recommend writers getting their work professionally edited before submitting to an agent?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Imagine your ideal submission has arrived in your InBox. What genre is it (easiest to sell, your favorite)? Do you like it because of the voice and characters or the great narrative drive that pulls you along as a reader, or are you mainly evaluating it in terms of how fast the plot subjectively moves? Who will you submit it to first? Do you Google-search the author to take a look at his or her Web presence?

    ReplyDelete
  10. How important is setting in selling a book?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Shalanna,
    You pose some interesting questions.

    ReplyDelete
  12. You mention on the website you enjoy fairy tales and legends. What are some of your favorites?

    Jody Wallace

    ReplyDelete
  13. Shalanna,
    Thanks. Very insightful. You ask things I wonder about too.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Writer and Cat,
    You, Natalie and I share a love of fairy tales. Grin.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Paranormal romance is still as hot as ever. There's plenty of vampire, shape shifter, and immortal brotherhood type books out there -- but a hard sell if you aren't an established author. Steampunk is on the rise which means that market may become glutted soon. What are you not seeing enough of right now as far as paranormal romance goes? What are you on the lookout for from editors who've seen one too many vampire submissions after the success of Twilight and True Blood? And last, what is your take on time travels? Holding steady, making a comeback, or dead and buried?

    ReplyDelete
  17. What are your thoughts on an author's web presence beyond the basic website? Are you a big proponent of authors doing lots of social media, online marketing, blogging and so on?

    ReplyDelete
  18. i beati,
    Thanks. We have smart guests. :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Lori Dillon,
    Great questions. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  20. What do you think of YA paranormals? What kind would you look for, or do you not do those? How about authors who write under two names, like I do? How do you handle those?

    ReplyDelete
  21. So many good questions already - I honestly can't think of anything to ask right now. I'll be back if I do! ; )

    ReplyDelete
  22. Sapphire Phelan,
    Good questions. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thanks Heather. I appreciate you stopping by.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Excellent questions! I'll have to remind myself to come back and check out the answers.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Is there a fear of memoirs? How can a new writer convey that she is gutsy,talented,has a following and really wants to have her memoir represented by an agent.

    ReplyDelete
  26. There seems to be more and more erotica in several different genres. Is there still a place for the sweeter more sensual side of romance and other genres? If so,in your opinion, why is it so difficult to find a home for these stories?

    ReplyDelete
  27. Are you looking for small town romances and will you consider a setting outside of USA, e.g. New Zealand?

    ReplyDelete
  28. Thanks Lori,
    We'll look forward to your next visit.

    ReplyDelete
  29. www.mysisterdalesgarden,
    Thanks for your question. I'll add it to our list.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Adelle Laudan,
    Good question. I wonder that too.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Shelley Munro,
    I don't know about anyone else, but I'd read about New Zealand. We'll have to see what Natalie says. :)

    ReplyDelete

 
ja