Archive for the ‘kt literary’ Tag
“Pointers from the Pros” gives tips from authors and publishing industry professionals on everything from craft to querying to their experiences on the road to publication. This post is by guest columnist and SWO member Alicia Caldwell.
Back in May, lit agent Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary hosted a picture-prompt contest on her blog, and fellow SWO member Alicia Caldwell tied with another writer for first place.* This earned Alicia a 30-minute phone conversation with the agent extraordinaire—and Schafer Testerman agreed to let Alicia share some of her tips with us.
FROM THE CONVO
A.C.: How do you get most of your clients?
KST: From queries or referrals. Normally, when meeting authors in person, I generally tell them to send me a query and sample pages anyway.
A.C.: Have you ever taken on a client that you weren’t able to get published?
KST: Yes. But then we would try with another book, and usually that one is successful. I did have one client that I wasn’t able to get published, and the author didn’t want to keep changing the story. That client decided to go with another agent. I haven’t heard that it has been published yet.
KST: Sometimes, in certain social situations. But I don’t always mind.
A.C.: What do you get sick of seeing, story-line wise?
KST: There’s only one person in all the universe that can save the world. If you can tell the story without it being paranormal, then do it.
(She elaborates on this here.)
A.C.: Why did you leave Janklow & Nesbit Associates to go out on your own?
KST: I got married and moved across the country. I thought about applying for other companies, but I had heard wonderful things from friends who had started their own agencies, so I went for it. I was able to take a lot of clients with me, so I didn’t have a difficult start.
A.C.: How long should a synopsis be?
KST: Two to five pages for a synopsis. You should tell all the pressing action of the book and the struggles the characters go through to get there. Don’t leave anything out—including the end.
KST: A shorter query is better because of the number of queries I receive. It should contain two normal-sized paragraphs and an extra paragraph about you. Start with why I should be interested in your book—the hook. At the bottom, enter the word count and title of the book.
A.C.: In following your query critiques, I’ve noticed you’d like us to show you why a reader should care about the characters and what’s original about the story.
KST: It’s a balance. You need to talk about action, but at the same time, show us what is different about the character. Harry Potter was another version of the same story about an orphan, but we learned to love the character himself—and that’s what drew us in.
A.C.: You wrote The King’s Sister: A Novel of Arthurian Britain. Why didn’t you write more books?
KST: I ended up self-publishing that one. Looking back at it now, I can see why I couldn’t get it published. There was something missing from the story.
I’ve worked on a couple of other novels and stories, but I decided I want to concentrate on other writers’ careers right now, not my own!
A.C.: Are there any upcoming conferences you will be attending, where writers can meet you in person?
KST: I will be at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Conference in September, and I’m hoping to join the staff of the online WriteOnCon this August.
HER OVERALL ADVICE
Use the Internet and get involved with other writers. Make connections.
“In the Blogosphere” is a series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week (usually).
CONGRATS ARE IN ORDER
A few weeks ago, lit agent Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary hosted a picture prompt contest on her blog, and fellow SWO member Alicia Caldwell tied with another writer for first place. Her entry was certainly memorable. Click here to give it a read. This earns Caldwell a 30-minute phone conversation with the agent extraordinaire—and, as Testerman is YA author and writing hero of mine Maureen Johnson‘s agent, color me jealous! Congrats, Alicia!
The next person I’m opening virtual champagne bottles for is up-and-coming YA author Michelle Hodkin. Not only did Hodkin score Fox Literary Agency‘s own Diana Fox as an agent a few short weeks ago, but last week, she also landed a two-book deal for her debut YA series, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. Truly awesome news, and I couldn’t be happier to have met her at a conference last fall or that all her hard work is coming to fruition like this! Congrats, Michelle!
This next post comes from YA authors Lisa and Laura Roecker, a sister duo, who are quickly becoming some of my favorite lit peeps out there. I mean, not only are they from my humble homeland, Cleveland, but they also crack me up with just about every blog post—what’s not to love? Here, they give suggestions on how to be perky like Kelly Ripa without becoming a cokehead or a caffeine pill addict like Saved by the Bell‘s Jessie Spano. What’s not to love? I, for one, could definitely use perkiness pointers!
Over at Adventures in Children’s Publishing, Martina Boone and Marissa Graff take a comprehensive look at how to craft successful scenes. Definitely worth bookmarking.
CHILL, BABY, CHILL
I’m sure every writer has experienced the gut-wrenching awfulness when someone reads his/her book. Will they like it? What will they say? Will this change how they view me? If they don’t like it, does this mean it’s not publishable? In this post, the Rachelle Gardner-repped Jody Hedlund discusses this very thing and gives some insight as to the different perspectives of agents, publishers, and even your grandma as they read your book—and suggests with how much salt we need to take their reactions.
RESTORING MY FAITH IN HUMANITY
Here, the Roeckers are at it again, making me even more of a fangirl with a mere post about how Sex and the City 2 sucked and how the unfortunate flick is a microcosm for why the rest of the world hates America. I’m glad someone said it!
In celebration of the awesomeness that is going on with her writing career, Michelle Hodkin is hosting a contest over at her blog. Check it out!
As well, Inky Fresh Press is running a romance contest—don’t miss your chance to win some great (signed) books by Kate MacAlister and Cherry Adair!
“In the Blogosphere” is a weekly series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week. Most posts will be from that week, but if I find some “oldies but goodies,” I’ll throw those up here as well.
I never find as much time to read blogs as I want, but here are a few posts that struck me this week.
LIVING VICARIOUSLY THROUGH OTHERS
This week has been a positive one, in terms of getting some nibbles and bites on my manuscript. I’m trying very hard to curb my excitement, however, as I know the road to publication is actually more like a jacked-up staircase.
In the interest of keeping positive, let’s live vicariously through three up-and-coming young adult authors:
- Jodi Meadows. Although this happened a few weeks ago, I only found out this week: my new pal, who has been up and down her jacked-up staircase for the past 7 years, signed with Lauren MacLeod of The Strothman Agency (whom Jodi refers to as “agent of awesome”).
- Sarah Wylie. If this post doesn’t warm your heart, you’re dead inside. Wylie, repped by FinePrint Literary‘s Suzie Townsend, announced her debut novel, All These Lives, was just sold at auction and will be out in 2012.
- Steph Bowe. This 16-year-old Aussie is repped by Curtis Brown Ltd.’s Ginger Clark, and her debut novel (working title: These Bones) will be published this September in Australia and New Zealand (Text Publishing) and the summer of 2011 in the U.S. (Egmont USA). She’s also a part of The YA 5, a blog dedicated to changing the way young adult literature is discussed.
**Just a reminder: My guest blog on “leetspeak/text message lingo” in YA will appear on Bowe’s blog Monday, so don’t forget to check it out!
Thursday was National Grammar Day, and in the spirit of nitpicking, Curtis Brown Ltd.’s Nathan Bransford blogged about your spelling/grammar pet peeves.
Nerdfighter master and New York Times bestseller John Green adds to the grammar hilarity with this pic.
As well, one of my new favorites, YA author extraordinaire Maureen Johnson critiqued a query letter on the blog of superagent Daphne Unfeasible (her agent Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary‘s alter ego).
SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
At coffee with Jodi the other day, I brought up the subject of author advances. Being that I didn’t know much about what to expect—I thought the average book deal was wayyyyy less than it actually is—Jodi put me in touch with this post by fantasy author Jim C. Hines. I learned a lot!
Are you one of those Facebookers who changes your status every time something upsets you? You might want to think twice about that after reading this post by Andrea Brown Literary Agency‘s Mary Kole over at Kidlit.com.
Sometimes, dying dramatically or mysteriously is part of the job description when you sign up to be a writer. The folks over at Schmoop.com take a peek at the fascinating deaths of nine famous writers.
STUFF THAT’S PROBABLY GOOD FOR YOU
Not that I can do this, but I can appreciate the idea behind it. Author and webmaster of A Life Less Anxious: Freedom from Panic Attacks and Social Anxiety Without Drugs or Therapy Steve Pavilanis gives some tips on how to function without caffeine.