Friday, February 29, 2008

More things to think about before sending me your query:
Keep the blurbs out, please!

My colleague Janet Reid has a good post up at her blog today about a couple of things that annoy her (and probably every other agent in the world): mass emailed queries and adding quotes and blurbs about your book into the query letter itself.

While I have (so far, knock on wood) not encountered the former, I am seeing a great deal of the latter. A query letter that reads something like this:
"My friend, Bob Head Up My Ass, the New York Times bestselling author of Your Advances Aren't Enough to Cover My Scotch Bills, had this to say about my new book "The Best Things Since Sliced Bread"...
And then the writer proceeds to go on at length about what everyone else in the world may think of him, his writing or possibly even his essay writing in high school. Sometimes they even quote a relative or family member. I will point out that so far, the biggest offenders here are - once again - writers with MFAs. (Now, I am not knocking MFA programs. I know several great folks who have graduated from or who are currently attending excellent MFA programs as we speak [I'm pointing at you, Gwenda Bond, my bookish superhero!] But for some reason, the ratio of pomposity to query-writing increases when some MFA graduates write query letters. Need I point out that getting an MFA doesn't necessarily imbue one with common sense?)

Let me be very clear: I do not care what your friends think about your writing. I do not care what your professor thinks about your writing. I do not care what your grandmother thinks about your writing. I do not care what your fellow writers may think of your writing. Not unless one of those writers is a friend of mine, and someone whose opinion I trust implicitly. And in that case? I want to hear it directly from my writer friend, not from you. It's called a referral. And you'd better believe that I will stand up and take notice if I get one from a writer or an editor friend of mine. But otherwise? Keep the blurbs out of your query. There will be a time and a place for your professional writer friends to help you out: AFTER you've found an agent, when he or she is trying to put together a pitch to a publishing house.

But until that point? The only opinion I care about when I'm reading your writing is my own.

This week's announced genre acquisitions and rights sales.

And here ya go. Busy week!
Theodore Judson's HELL CAN WAIT, in which a Roman general stuck in Limbo because clerks lost his paperwork is given a second chance to find happiness in an American town, to Brian Hades at Edge/Tesseract, by Richard Curtis of Richard Curtis Associates (US).

Game designer/scriptwriter Jonathan Howard's JOHANNES CABAL, in which a snob obsessed with raising the dead travels to Hell and back (twice) in the hopes of regaining his soul from a bored, sardonic, eccentric Satan, as a Faustian wager is made and the clock is ticking: Johannes must deliver 100 souls within one year for Satan to reward him with the return of his own to Alison Callahan at Doubleday, for mid-six figures, in a pre-empt, by Christy Fletcher and Melissa Chinchillo of Fletcher & Parry, on behalf of Sam Copeland of the Robinson Literary Agency (NA).

Black Crouch's ABANDON, set in a remote mining town high in the Rockies where two backcountry guides are leading a history professor, a journalist, a psychic, and a paranormal photographer deep into the Colorado wilderness to explore the fate of a group of people and an entire town that mysteriously vanished in 1893, to Michael Homler at St. Martin's, by Linda Allen of Linda Allen Literary Agency.

Elizabeth Moon's KING KIERI, set directly in the aftermath of the author's "Deed of Paksenarrion" series, describing the struggles of a new king to reunite a land torn asunder by war and riven by resurgent conflict between elves and man, to Liz Scheier at Del Rey, in a significant deal, in a three-book deal (for a likely trilogy), for publication in October 2009, by Joshua Bilmes at JABberwocky Literary Agency (NA).

Debut author Harry Connolly's urban paranormal HARVEST OF FIRE and two sequels, about the embattled driver for a wealthy sorceress whose allegiance to a secret society puts them in constant danger, to Betsy Mitchell at Del Rey, in a pre-empt, by Caitlin Blasdell at Liza Dawson Associates (world English).

WHITECHAPEL GODS author Shawn Peters's FAT GHOST OCEAN, in which a 22-year-old is a "binder," charged by The Man in the Empty Chair with imprisoning the mythical beasts from the ancient days of the Old Powers; the trouble is she wants to set them free, to Jessica Wade at Roc, in a nice deal, by Donald Maass at the Donald Maass Literary Agency (World English).

Erica Orloff's THE MAGICKEEPERS, about a rogue clan of Russian magicians who escaped Tsarist Russia, and who now hide their true identities in modern-day Las Vegas, and their battle against dark enemies to reclaim relics stolen from them by Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, to Lyron Bennett at Jabberwocky, in a three-book deal, by Jay Poynor at The Poynor Group.

Ninni Holmqvist's UNIT, set within a dystopian society in which the "dispensable" ones are convinced under gentle coercion of the importance of giving organs to the "necessary" ones and submitting themselves to medical and psychological testing, to Corinna Barsan at Other Press, in a nice deal, by Magdelena Hedlund at Norstedts Agency (World English).

NIGHTLIFE author Rob Thurman's TRICK OF THE LIGHT, the first two books in a new series about a woman who is on the hunt for two things: the demon who killed her brother and the Light of Life, to Anne Sowards at Roc, by Jennifer Jackson of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.

Alex Bledsoe's BLOOD GROOVE, the first book in a new series with a vampire who resurrects sixty years after being staked to find a drastically changed world and more peril than he ever expected, to Paul Stevens at Tor, for publication in April 2009, by Marlene Stringer at Barbara Bova Literary Agency (World English).

John Brown sold a trilogy to David Hartwell and Stacy Hague-Hill at Tor. The books are described as "in the tradition of David Farland or Brandon Sanderson." The first, Servant of a Dark God, is about "a world where the days of a man's life can be harvested, bought, and stolen." It will be followed by Curse of a Dark God and Dark God's Glory. Agent Caitlin Blasdell at Liza Dawson Associates managed the sale. (via SFScope)

Keith Brooke sold his science fiction thriller The Accord to Solaris Consultant Editor George Mann. The Accord is "a virtual utopia where the soul lives on after death and your perceptions are bound only by your imagination. This is the setting for a tale of love, murder, and revenge that crosses the boundaries between the real world and this virtual reality.
Rights sales:
Italian rights to Erick Setiawan's debut novel OF BEES AND MISTS, a Gothic story of one woman's determination to dispell the haunting magic that is created by the people she loves and their own broken lives (currently on submission in the US), to Mondadori, in a pre-empt, by Lara Lea Allen on behalf of Alex Glass at Trident Media Group.

Helen Stringer's middle grade novel HOUSE OF MISTS, the story of a girl who lives with the ghosts of her parents just north of England, and goes on the adventure of a lifetime to find them when they disappear, to Rebecca McNally at Macmillan, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, by The Fielding Agency on behalf of Kristin Nelson at the Nelson Literary Agency.

Ali Shaw's THE GIRL WITH THE GLASS FEET, pitched as lying midway between Haruki Marukami and Susannah Clarke, this first novel tells the story of a young woman's quest to stop herself turning into glass, to Sarah Castleton at Atlantic Books, in a very nice deal, by Susan Armstrong at Conville & Walsh (World).

Russian rights to William Gibson's SPOOK COUNTRY, ALL TOMORROW'S PARTIES, IDORU, VIRTUAL LIGHT, NEUROMANCER, BURNING CHROME, COUNT ZERO, MONA LISA OVERDRIVE, and PATTERN RECOGNITION, to Nikolay Naumenko at AST, by Prava I Prevodi Agency, on behalf of Martha Millard at Martha Millard Literary Agency.

Jonathan Howard's JOHANNES CABAL THE NECROMANCER, a comic fantasy about a necromancer who makes a wager with the devil himself, to Piers Blofeld at Headline, in a three-book deal, by Sam Copeland of the Robinson Literary Agency.

Russian rights to Stephen Lawhead's HOOD, to AST-RELease, by Teri Tobias, in association with Andrew Nurnberg Associates Moscow, on behalf of Matt Bialer at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates.

Czech rights to Ekaterina Sedia's THE SECRET HISTORY OF MOSCOW, to Stanislav Juhanak at TRITON, by Milena Lukic of Prava I Prevodi, in association with Jennifer Jackson of the Donald Maass Literary Agency, on behalf of Prime Books.

Complex Chinese rights to Quill Award winner Patrick Rothfuss's THE NAME OF THE WIND, to Azoth Book, at auction, in a nice deal, in a three-book deal, by Whitney Hsu at Andrew Nurnberg Associates, on behalf of Matt Bialer at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates.

Joe Hill's just-released graphic novel LOCKE & KEY, about three kids who are caretakers of a mansion filled with secrets and magic, optioned to Dimension Films, by IDW Publishing, with John Davis producing.

Film rights to A Lee Martinez's novel IN THE COMPANY OF OGRES, about Never Dead Ned who discovers why he keeps returning from the dead, and suddenly realizes he must do everything he can to stay alive, optioned to Rough Draft Studios (The Simpsons Movie, Futurama), by Sarah Self at The Gersh Agency on behalf of Sally Harding at The Cooke Agency.

Absinthe.

Let us never speak of this evening again.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thursday genre link round-up.

Because Buddy is squeezed in between me and the draft from the window, and life at this particular moment is warm and fuzzy, you get early morning links. It's just too cold to do anything else.

And in other news, not genre, but funny as hell.
I've been neglecting Fantasybookspot lately, which is not very nice. Lots of worthwhile stuff here including reviews of Breath and Bone by Carol Berg, Last Dragon by J.M McDermott, Dead to Me by Anton Strout, and interviews with Michael Cisco and Charles Stross.

The Bodhisattva reviews Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis.

The Book Swede reviews Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow (which just has the most fantastic cover art) and Wrath of a Mad God by Raymond Feist.

Agony Column reviews Iain M Banks' Matter.

Green Man Review on Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction and Marie Philips' Gods Behaving Badly.

Of Blog on speculative fiction writers of color, a great round-up of titles! Also a great discussion of one of my own favorite writers, China Mieville.

New reviews at SFFWorld include Snake Agent by Liz Williams and Helix by Eric Brown.

Strange Horizons reviews Rome Burning by Sophia McDougall, Swiftly by Adam Roberts, Ragamuffin by Tobias Buckell, Precious Dragon and Bloodmind by Liz Williams, and has a new inteview with Greg Bear.

Pat's Fantasy Hotlist also reviews the new Raymond Feist.

Grasping for the Wind reviews E.E. Knight's Dragon Outcast.

Love Vampires reviews The Outlaw Demon Wails by Kim Harrison and Poltergeist by Kat Richardson.

Milady Insanity interviews Ann Aguirre, author of Grimspace.

NextRead reviews Jack of Ravens by Mark Chadbourn.

Fantasy & Sci Fi Lovin' Book Reviews on Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry, and an interview with the author. (And can I please make a public plea here for you guys to fix your blog so that folks who don't have enormous monitors don't have to scroll sideways to read the reviews? Pretty please?)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bantam Spectra is on Facebook!

If you're a Facebook user, head on over to Bantam Spectra's new Spectra Pulse Facebook profile and become a fan!

La Gringa welcomes a new client: Kelly Gay!

On behalf of FinePrint Literary Management, I am thrilled to be able to welcome debut novelist and urban fantasy writer Kelly Gay into the fold as a new client.

Kelly is the 2005 RWA Golden Heart finalist in the paranormal category and a 2005 Laurie winner for best single title romance novel. She is also a recipient of the 2005/2006 North Carolina Arts Council grant fellowship in writing. Kelly also keeps a blog here, one that I'm sure she'll be updating more frequently going forward.

An important thing to note about Kelly: She very nearly sold me on the strength of her query letter alone; it was one of the most tightly-constructed and concise queries I've read, with a great one-sentence first-paragraph hook that drew me in from the moment I opened her email. She'd obviously put a great deal of thought into it, and not one word was wasted. Once we get her book sold, I may actually ask Kelly for permission to post her query online; I really think a lot of aspiring authors would benefit from seeing how carefully she constructed those six short paragraphs.

Anyway, welcome to FinePrint, Kelly!

More pimpin' of that Dave Keck writer fella:
Come hear Dave read at the KGB Bar!

What? You thought I was done pimpin' my friend Overly Humble Writer Dave's new book? (You don't know me very well, do you?) So, in case you had a slight attack of Boomer Brain, let me refresh your memory. Okay, now head over to writer Joshua Palmatier's blog where Dave does a little guest-blogging.

Now, those of you in New York City are in for a treat: Dave will be will reading at the infamous and beloved Fantastic Fiction series at the KGB Bar, hosted by Ellen Datlow and Gavin Grant. And he's sharing the bill with the extraordinary Michael Swanwick! This is Dave's first reading in the United States (although you Winnipeg folks prolly see him all the time!) so it's extra special, and I'd love to round up a full house for him.

If you've never met Dave, he's possibly one of the funniest human beings on the face of the planet. He also appreciates Newcastle Ale, which makes him a god among men in my book.

Anyway, here are the details:
Wednesday, March 19th
7:00 PM
KGB Bar
85 East 4th Street @2nd Ave.
New York City

Please join us!

Not-so-subtle-hint to follow
: And there's plenty of time to buy In the Eye of Heaven (now available in paperback) and In a Time of Treason before you do!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tuesday night link round-up.

Okay, keeping the format simple these days so I can keep doing the genre link round-ups. They take a lot of time but I do enjoy sharing them with you. So forgive me if there isn't as much commentary going forward:
The Publishing Spot interviews Janice Erlbaum, author of Girlbomb. Not genre but good stuff about making a living as a writer.

At Omnivoracious, Jeff likes The Somnambulist by Jonathan Barnes.

Austin American-Statesman profiles Elizabeth Moon.

The Ditmars shortlist has been announced.

Kansas City Star
on George R.R. Martin's Inside Straight, Carrie Vaughn's Kitty and the Silver Bullet, S.L. Farrell's A Magic of Twilight, and Wastelands, edited by John Joseph Adams.

Blogcritics.org on fanfic. Also, a review of Jo Graham's debut novel Black Ships.

The Telegraph UK on Rick Moody's The Omega Force.

January Magazine on Shadowbridge by Gregory Frost.

Darque Reviews on Whitechapel Gods by S.M (Shawn) Peters. (Peters just sold a new book to editor Jessica Wade at Roc, by the way. And if you haven't read this book, and you love steampunk, then what in heaven's name are you waiting for?) Also, an interview with urban fantasy author Karen MacInerney, as well as a review of her forthcoming book Howling at the Moon.

::: and oh God! taking a quick break to scoop out the litterbox which has suddenly become a health hazard - and we're back! :::

ActuSF has interviews with Michael Moorcock and L.E Modesitt en anglais.

The Aqueduct Press blog interviews Vandana Singh, author of Love and Other Monsters.

Fantasy Book Critic on Heart of Light by Sarah Hoyt, Bone Song by John Meaney, as well as an interview with Jonathan Barnes.

Fabulous new blog discovery Urban Fantasy Land has a review of Anton Strout's debut urban-fantasy-starring-a-boy Dead To Me. (What? No hot chick in leather with a tramp stamp on the cover??? Horrors! What's a dyke to do?!)

Andy Wheeler also discusses Dead to Me.

SF Signal reviews Deep Inside, a collection of fun erotic SF stories by Polly Frost. There's also a review of Hunter's Run by George R.R. Martin, Gardner Dozois and Daniel Abraham.

Monday, February 25, 2008

New client!

::: twirls evil moustache* :::

But you'll have to wait until tomorrow for all the details, my pretties!


*Look, I'm Celtic. All Celtic women have evil 'staches. It's why God invented Tweezerman.

Please don't make me guess
the intended audience for your book.

Over the past several days I've received a number of queries that start out like this: "My book, The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread, is a series for young readers."

And that ends up being just about all the information I get.

A "series for young readers" is not at all helpful. In your query letter, you should be as specific as possible about who the intended audience is, the age range and the genre of your book. Because if you don't know, the rest of the world sure as hell won't.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Deleted without being read means just that.

Both our agency website and my own submission guidelines very clearly state that emails with attachments will be deleted without being read. Pretty simple concept, you'd think. When I want an attachment, I'll ask for one. Otherwise, your query goes in the virtual crapper. This is for two very good reasons: a.) computer viruses and b.) attachments fill up the server space. Almost no agent who accepts e-queries will accept an unsolicited attachment from someone they don't know.

So it amused me to no end today to watch the same fellow send me his query four different times, each time with some sort of attachment, and each time getting my auto-responder telling him that his email had been deleted without being read.

What counts as an attachment? Well, if you have to ask, you probably shouldn't be allowed near a computer. That being said, here are some things that I really don't want you to send me with your initial query:
  • Your headshot
  • Your suggested cover treatment for the book that you haven't actually sold yet
  • One of those stupid Outlook e-business cards that you attach to every outgoing email
  • Any kind of Word, Excel, Outlook, Entourage or Power Point file
  • Any kind of jpg or gif or tif or eps or pdf or anything else that has three letters at the end of it, frankly
  • Dancing animated cats, bunnies, babies, zombies or vampires
My computer sees these things and automatically eats your email for lunch, kids. I'm serious. Just don't do it. Ever.

Cat toy of choice this week:

Old Chinese coin tied to several ratty pieces of rafia. Buddy has been flinging this thing all over hell and back for the past five days. The weird thing is: I have no idea where it came from or how it got into the apartment.

Hang on another year, little iBook!

Wow, you know your laptop is old and cranky when it literally spits its battery out at you in a fit of pique. I've never actually seen a battery become animated like that before. So either my iBook is pissed off at me, or I have a poltergeist living inside my computer.

(I expect I'll see a query letter about that soon enough.)

More good posts on writing queries:
Nathan Bransford's Anatomy of a Good Query Letter

These two posts by San Francisco-based Curtis Brown agent (and fellow coffee snob) Nathan Bransford are must reads. Especially for you folks who insist on sending me query letters that tell me absolutely nothing about your book and absolutely everything about where you went to school and what other people think of your writing. (As you can see, I am developing some pet peeves of my own. I think Janet is starting to rub off on me.)

Part One and Part Two

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A couple of interesting posts on agenting:
The Donald Maass Chronicles

Was wandering around my back links today and came across the blog of writer Josephine Damian, who has two very good posts about a workshop she took with agent Don Maass. They are well worth reading, and - while I don't agree 100% with what he says, I agree with the vast majority of his sentiments. Part One and Part Two.

Staggering query odds.

I thought I was asking for too many partials, and then I sat down and did the math.
  • Out of the approximately 1,100 queries I've received in the past ten days, I have asked for a total of 55 partials. So that's like, what, .05% of queries received?
  • And out of those 55 partials I have (so far) asked for only 6 full manuscripts.
  • I have 183 queries left in the email box.
No, this is not a normal amount of queries. This is what happens when you have lovable friends who happen to be popular bloggers with big mouths. The volume has slowed significantly since the first three days, and I expect it will now be closer to what other agents get on a weekly basis.

But I just thought the math was interesting.

"This is a weeping song, a song in which to weep..."
The Guardian UK on Nick Cave

Liz Hand pointed me in the direction of this amazing piece on Nick Cave in the Guardian. Nick Cave live is, hands down, one of the best performances you will ever see in your lifetime, by the way.

"The Perfect Hygienic Rubber Product"

A gallery of paper condom wrappers from the 1930s. Fascinating!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Campaign funds: where do they come from?

You know you've always wanted to know where those campaign fund were coming from, right? Now you can find out. The Huffington Post has a nifty little gadget that lets you type in pretty much anyone's name in the universe and find out not only to which campaign they contributed, but how much.

A few examples:
  • Hugh Hefner = $2,300 to Barack Obama
  • Dean Koontz = $4,600 to Mitt Romney and $2,300 to Fred Thompson
  • Bill Gates = $2,300 to Hillary Clinton and $2,300 to Barack Obama
  • Susan Sarandon = $2,500 to John Edwards, $1,000 to Barack Obama, and $250 to Bill Richardson

This week's genre acquisitions.

A light week for genre acqusitions:
Alex Bledsoe's BLOOD GROOVE, the first book in a new series with a vampire who resurrects sixty years after being staked to find a drastically changed world and more peril than he ever expected, to Paul Stevens at Tor, for publication in April 2009, by Marlene Stringer at Barbara Bova Literary Agency (World English).

Author of I LOVE YOU, BETH COOPER, Larry Doyle's second novel GO, MUTANTS!, set in an all-American high school whose juvenile delinquents are the offspring of the giant-brained aliens and atomic monsters immortalized in the golden age of Hollywood B-movies, again to Lee Boudreaux at Ecco, for publication in 2010, by Sarah Burnes at The Gernert Company.

PERSONAL DEMONS author Stacia Kane's DEMON INSIDE, to Paula Guran of Juno (World).

David Moody's Hater #2: Dog Blood, and an untitled Hater #3, the next in the Hater Trilogy, his post apocalyptic neo-zombie epic, to John Schoenfelder at Thomas Dunne Books (world).

Relentless and Fearless author Robin Parrish's OFFWORLD, in which a four-person NASA crew returns from a 2-year mission to Mars and sets off on a more complex and dangerous land-based journey after they discover that every human and animal on Earth has disappeared, to David Long at Bethany House, for publication in Fall 2009, in a three-book deal, by Beth Jusino at Alive Communications (world).

John Brown's SERVANT OF A DARK GOD, in the tradition of David Farland or Brandon Sanderson about a world where the days of a man's life can be harvested, bought, and stolen, and CURSE OF A DARK GOD and DARK GOD'S GLORY, to David Hartwell and Stacy Hague-Hill at Tor, in a very nice deal, by Caitlin Blasdell at Liza Dawson Associates (World English).

John Levitt's next two books in the DOG DAYS urban fantasy series, about a reluctant magical enforcer and San Francisco jazz musician and his uniquely talented dog, to Jessica Wade at Ace, by Caitlin Blasdell at Liza Dawson Associates (NA).

Richelle Mead's next three books in her urban fantasy series featuring Georgina Kincaid, most recently seen in SUCCUBUS ON TOP, again to John Scognamiglio at Kensington, by Jim McCarthy at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.

Agenty questions answered:

Just some quick things to address from questions I've been receiving:
Are you a member of AAR?

No, I am not. As a new agent, I am not eligible yet, although I do adhere to their guidelines. AAR (Association of Authors' Representatives) is a professional organization that monitors the ethics of the agenting profession. Sort of like our Better Business Bureau, if that makes any sense.

Are all agents who do not belong to AAR bad agents?

No, not at all. Some may be - like me - new agents. Some may just be part-time agents. That doesn't mean they don't take it seriously. It just may mean they have decided to have a small and focused list of clients. Some may just not like the politics of a professional trade organization, in the same way that some skiffy writers don't join SFWA.

The things that you do want to wary of are agents who charge fees for reading, editing and other services that should be part and parcel of the standard services offered by the agency under their author-agency agreement. There a few great places online to check out the reputation of agents and to learn about the shady ones: Preditors & Editors, Absolute Write, SFWA's Writer Beware! and the Writer Beware! blog.

Friday afternoon link round-up.

Sans commentary today. I am so behind in my linking that it's a wonder anyone even reads this blog anymore. BAD LA GRINGA! No cookie for me.
Book Fetish reviews The Bleeding Dusk by Colleen Gleason.

Bookgasm reviews the Nightshade anthology Eclipse One, edited by Jonathan Strahan.

Eve's Alexandria reviews God is Dead by Ron Currie, Jr.

Monsters & Critics reviews Dead to Me by Anton Strout.

Mostly Fiction reviews The New Moon's Arms by Nalo Hopkinson.

At Omnivoracious, Jeff VanderMeer talks about the just-announced Nebula Awards shortlist.

Writer Unboxed, which is one of my new favorite writing blogs, has a part one of an interview with Ann Aguirre, author of Grimspace.

Agent Jessica Faust has a thoughtful post about why agents only represent books they believe in. Read through the comment thread as well.

Agent Jennifer Jackson has great post on advances.

Agent Lauren Abramo discusses marketing your sub-rights.

Agent Nathan Bransford pokes gentle fun at the overuse of similes. He also discusses the protocol for approaching an agent at a writing conference.

Agent Rachel Vater discusses the importance of an author's online presence.

Redlines & Deadlines, another great blog that writers should be reading religiously, has great discussions on worldbuilding and query letter critiques.

Just discovered a new community blog - Through the Tollbooth - that focuses on writing for kids and teens. There are a couple of good discussion going on there now about what makes boys want to read a book.

And at Fangs, Fur & Fey, a group blog for urban fantasy writers that is chock full of useful information, Yasmine Galenorn has three must-read posts about the book biz: sales and promotion, advancees and royalties, and seeing your story go from manuscript from bound book.

And somebody from Del Rey Manga must have been reading this blog yesterday, because now there is a prominent link to their very awesome blog on the homepage navigation bar. Yay!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

More words of wisdom on writing queries,
this time from a seasoned editor: Shelly Shapiro

Had an early dinner this evening with a couple of good friends, one of them Shelly Shapiro, the legendary former editorial director of and now an editor-at-large for Del Rey Books. We got onto the topic of query letters and how, for the most part, they're just too damned long.

This was her [slightly tongue-in-cheek] advice for the hook in your query letter:
"I tell people that I want to see your plot summed up like a TV Guide entry: three sentences. No more. If a writer can't do that, I know there's something missing."
So, kids, get crackin' on your TV guide entries!
=======
EDIT TO ADD: Okay, from the comments, I'm guessing that some of y'all missed the "tongue-in-cheek" part of the above. Hmmmm...

GOP Jesus? Jesus wept!

Brilliant! "Jesus loved the little raptors...all the raptors in the world!"
(via
Daily Kos)

Possibly the funniest thing I have seen in months.

Stuff white people like. No, really. I nearly wet myself laughing at posts like this one:
Music is very important to white people. It truly is the soundtrack to their lives, meaning that white people are constantly thinking about what songs would be on the soundtrack for the biopic. The problem is that most of the music that white people like isn’t really dance-friendly. More often the songs are about pain, or love, or breaking up with someone, or not being able to date someone, or death.

So when white people go to concerts at smaller venues, what to do they do? They stand still! This is an important part of white concert going as it enables you to focus on the music, and it will prevent drawing excess attention to you. Remember, at a concert everyone is watching you just waiting for you to try to start dancing. Then they will make fun of you.

The result is Belle and Sebastian concerts that essentially looks more like a disorganized line of people than a music event.

If you find yourself invited to a concert with a white person, do NOT expect to dance. Prepare yourself for three hours of standing reasonably still. It is also advised to get a beer or (if legal) a cigarette so you have something to do with your hands. Although it is acceptable to occasionally raise one hand and point just above the stage.
You must go read the rest!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wednesday genre link round-up.

Well, hell's bells, I've been slipping in my linkity obligations! So sorry! At this point there's probably no catching up so we'll just pretend the past week and half didn't happen. Anyway, I just got home from this shindig, where I consumed far too many little pieces of teriyaki beef on skewers. This is quite possibly because the cater-waiter in charge of the teriyaki beef skewers was stalking me.

He was also stalking actor Robert Vaughan, who was there to promote a memoir. And, geek that I am, all I could think of was "OMG! You were in the classic Roger Corman movie Teenage Caveman in 1958! And you were a total hottie! I bow before you, oh celluloid God of nerdliness!" (Okay, no, of course I didn't say that to him. I restrained myself admirably. But I was thinking it. Because I am a dork.) It is also important to note that everyone at aforementioned shindig was much cuter than I was, but in the end, I had the best Windsor knot.

And here we go:
First off, Del Rey Manga has a blog! You may not have known this as there is no link to the blog on the Del Rey Manga homepage navigation bar. Anywhere. However, if you scroll down and look at the news column, there is a wee little purple link in amidst the text. I actually found the blog quite by accident looking for something else that was not at all manga-related. Hopefully someone will fix that soon and add a HUGE link to the navigation bar because it's a very good blog and it's apparently been up since November sometime.

A Slight Apocalypse looks at The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert V.S. Redick.

Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield have teamed up to launch a freaky-wonderful new web comic called Freakangels. It's free!

Fantasy Book Critic reviews Whitechapel Gods by S.M. Peters and The Blue War by Jeffrey Thomas.

Fantasy Debut looks at Debatable Space by Philip Palmer.

VanderMeer has been busy over at Omnivoracious: an interview with skiffy artist extraordinaire John Picacio and editor extraordinaire Ellen Datlow. He also interviews debut novelist J.M. McDermott, author of Last Dragon.

And speaking of John Picacio, Revolution SF is hosting a contest to win one of three signed copies of the eagerly-awaited new Picacio-illustrated Elric: Stealer of Souls by Michael Moorcock. The books are signed by both Picacio and Moorcock. And if you haven't seen the brilliant artwork that Picacio put together for the cover as well as the interior, click the link above for the full set. Just gorgeous stuff!

Love Vampires reviews Raven Hart's The Vampire's Kiss, Midnight Rising by Lara Adrian, and Biting the Bullet by Jennifer Rardin.

Dear Author reviews Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs.
And now I am too tired to add any more but I promise I will start posting regular link round-ups again!

Pimpin' a former colleague's new book: Audrey, Wait!

Long ago, in the annals of time and space, when Ballantine Books still had their fabulous and much mourned West Coast publicity department, there was a young woman named Robin Benway who worked there. And she was beloved. And then she left to work at Book Soup. And she was beloved there, too. Then she went out and wrote a KICK-ASS young adult novel that made agents and publishers squeeeee with unbridled delight! And now it's getting published! And you need to buy it! COS I SAID SO! [OH MY GOD, WHY AM I WRITING IN ALL CAPS???]

Anyway, here's some jacket copy from Robin's forthcoming future international bestseller, Audrey, Wait!
California high school student Audrey Cuttler dumps self-involved Evan, the lead singer of a little band called The Do-Gooders. Evan writes, “Audrey, Wait!,” a break-up song that’s so good it rockets up the billboard charts. And Audrey is suddenly famous! Now rabid fans are invading her school. People is running articles about her arm-warmers. The lead singer of the Lolitas wants her as his muse. (And the Internet is documenting her every move!) Audrey can’t hang out with her best friend or get with her new crush without being mobbed by fans and paparazzi. Take a wild ride with Audrey as she makes headlines, has outrageous amounts of fun, confronts her ex on MTV, and gets the chance to show the world who she really is.
Audrey, Wait! will be published by Razorbill on April 10th, but you can pre-order yours now. (Or else! Just remember, I outweigh you.)

Query & partials update:

Query reading will be on hold for the next couple of days; I have a lot of partial manuscripts to get through and evaluate. So expect a slightly longer turnaround for queries you've been sending.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

More things to consider when sending me a query...

As I wade through query letters here (and try to keep the cats from sitting on the keyboard and accidentally erasing them), I've been thinking about some of the things that might help you get my attention when you send your query. These are suggestions, not hard and fast rules, and bear in mind that every agent is different, and as such will prefer different types of queries. That being said, here goes:
If you've attended one of the Clarion workshops, say so. If you've attended the Odyssey workshop, say so. Both of these intensive six-week long workshops do an incredible job of not only teaching writers how to hone their writing skills, but they also provide you with the practical tools you will need to learn in order to work within the established publishing community to get published. By far the best and most tightly-written queries I've seen this week are those from writers who identify as former Clarion or Odyssey students. And if you haven't taken one of these workshops and really want to write genre fiction professionally, I highly recommend that you look into one or both of them.

If you are a member of amazing and under-appreciated Online Writing Workshop for SF, Fantasy & Horror, say so! This Web-based writing workshop has been going steady for (I believe) more than ten years now. I have a real soft spot for this workshop. Created by former Del Rey editor Ellen Harris (now Harris-Braun) way back when, this was originally a free service offered by Del Rey on their fledgling website, back when the Web was a wild and scary place and BBS was pretty much still de rigeur for online communication. This workshop is an inexpensive alternative to Clarion and Odyssey and has spawned some fabulous writers such as Elizabeth Bear, Kelly Link, Sarah Prineas, Melissa Marr, Karin Lowachee, Karen Miller, Charles Coleman Finlay and Josh Palmatier. Seriously, I cannot recommend this online workshop highly enough. It is the best $49 you will ever spend to further your writing career. [Edit to add: Jennifer Jackson just reminded me that Jim Butcher also came out of this workshop! And I thought of a few more last night but then my aging baby boomer brain promptly forgot them again. Oy!]

If you are a regular contributor to a fan-fic writing community online, say so! Oh, sure, you thought I was gonna say I hate the stuff, right? Wrong. A regular writing hobby is a regular writing hobby, no matter what you write, as long as you are consistent and working to improve your craft. And many fan-fic writers are already used to being critiqued, so they don't bleed all over the keyboard when someone tells them how they could make something better. Fan-fic has also spawned a number of talented writers, such as Rachel Caine, Naomi Novik, and Sarah Rees Brennan.

Lastly - and most importantly - the pitch and the synopsis:
  • Your Pitch: Okay, let me break this to you gently: your pitch, your hook, whatever you choose to call it? It needs to be two paragraphs or less. I've said this before and will say it again. In that two paragraphs you need to be able to convey the entirety of the book as though you had ten seconds in an elevator with me and wanted to sell me your idea. It should also convey why your book is so special, so different from everything else out there.
  • Your Synopsis: Ideally you should have a concise (one or two paragraph) synopsis in the body of your query. But you're welcome to include a longer separate synopsis with the pages you paste into the body of the query. Your synopsis should be no longer than one page. This is the standard length that most editors are looking for. If you can't collapse your story into one page, one of two things is evident: either there is something very wrong with your story or there is something very wrong with your writing. And that just means you still have some work to do. Being a writer means being able to control words, after all. The best way to start is by editing your synopsis.
Okay, them is my two cents for the night. Tawk amongst yerselves!

Fidel Castro resigns.

Whoa!

Today is the onsale date for In a Time of Treason!
Go buy it! Now!

My pal, Overly-Humble Writer Dave, is off with Patient Wife Anne moving boxes and dishes and books and small antelopes and questionable Ebay purchases and unmatched socks to a new home, so he won't be able to actually stand in the middle of Times Square today, jumping up and down, waving his arms, gesticulating wildly, and hugging the Naked Cowboy, all in celebration of the release of his brand-spanking new book, IN A TIME OF TREASON, the sequel to his grand and sweeping epic novel In the Eye of Heaven, a debut fantasy that received a starred Publishers Weekly review when it was first released. So, since Mr. Keck can't do all these things himself, I might just have to go down to Times Square and do these ridiculous things for him. Until then, however, here are some nifty links for you to follow to learn more about Dave Keck and his books:

Read a wonderful interview with Dave here.
Jeff VanderMeer ambushes Dave here.
Read the awesome Publishers Weekly review of the book here (you have to scroll down a bit toward the bottom).
Here's another great review here.
Enter to win a signed copy of both books here!
Read his blog here (and while you're there, tell him to post more often - he's funny).

I know there are a million hopeful writers reading this blog. Just think how happy it would make you (and what good karma you'd rack up!) to go out and help another new writer pay down his brand-new mortgage.

Now, GO! Buy the book! NOW!!!

*caveat: I'm not actually sure that Dave would hug the Naked Cowboy...but I like the image.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Last week's announced genre acquisitions.

Because you asked:
S. M. Stirling's THE CHANGE, volumes 7, 8, and 9, about a world thrown back into barbarism after the collapse of civilization, and A TAINT IN THE BLOOD, volumes 1, 2, and 3, the first three installments in a new series about a subspecies of Man with dark powers, responsible for much of the suffering and violence of the world, to Ginjer Buchanan at Roc, both in major deals, both series for publication in 2010, 2011, 2012, by Russell Galen at Scovil Chichak Galen Literary Agency (NA).

Molly Harper's SINGLE UNDEAD FEMALE, about a laid-off children's librarian, shot by a drunk hunter who mistakes her for a deer, then saved and turned by a hunky, brooding vampire, to Jennifer Heddle at Pocket, at auction, in a three-book deal, by Stephany Evans at FinePrint Literary Management.

John Shirley's BLACK GLASS, the "lost cyberpunk novel" originally written as a collaboration with William Gibson, now redone as a solo novel, to William Jones of ES Press, by Paula Guran of Guran Literary Service.

Jaye Wells' RED-HEADED STEPCHILD, the story of a half-mage/half-vampire assassin with divided loyalties, to Devi Pillai at Orbit, in a good deal, for three books, for publication in Summer 2009, by Jonathan Lyons at Lyons Literary (world English).

Mike Shepherd's Kris Longknife #7, the next book in the military science fiction series, plus books eight and nine, to Ginjer Buchanan at Penguin, by Jennifer Jackson of the Donald Maass Literary Agency (NA).

Kameron Hurley's GOD'S WAR, on a far-distant colony, a centuries-old holy war rages, and it may take a godless woman to end it, to Juliet Ulman at Bantam Dell, for publication in Fall 2009, by Jennifer Jackson of the Donald Maass Literary Agency (NA).

Jim Hines's THE FAERY TALE PROJECT, a humorous fairy tale told from two opposing points of view, to Sonya Shannon at Cats Curious Press, in a nice deal, for publication in November 2008 (NA).

Charlene Teglia's ANIMAL ATTRACTION, about a woman who always hoped to find out who her birth parents were -- but didn't expect the truth to put her in the middle of a shapeshifter war, complicated by a forbidden love for two mates, again to Rose Hilliard at St. Martin's, in a good deal, for two books, by Deidre Knight of The Knight Agency(NA).

Kate Perry's MARKED, in which a free-spirited artist inherits her estranged father's position as Guardian to a powerful ancient Chinese scroll and with the help of an unexpectedly hot fellow Guardian has to learn to control her newfound powers and protect the scroll, to Latoya Smith at Grand Central in a two-book deal, by Holly Root at Waxman Literary Agency (world).

Pamela Palmer's untitled paranormal romance, the fourth book in her Esri series, to Ann Leslie Tuttle at Nocturne, by Helen Breitwieser at Cornerstone Literary (world).

Bestselling author of Shadowmancer G.P. Taylor's THE DOPPLE GANGER CHRONICLES, a series of at least six "illustronovellas," blending fiction and graphic novels, to Tyndale, for publication beginning in fall 2008 with THE FIRST ESCAPE, with illustrations from UK graphic novel publisher Markosia.

Columbia MFA student Yvonne Woon's DEAD BEAUTIFUL, a teenage zombie love story, to Donna Bray at Hyperion, for six figures, in a pre-empt, for two books, by Ted Malawer at Firebrand Literary.

Janet Lee Carey's WILDE ISLAND TALES Volume 2, set one hundred years later, with the Pendragon King's sons in mourning and the palace soothsayer predicting the next Wilde Island king will marry a girl with fairy blood, to Kathy Dawson at Harcourt, in a nice deal, for publication in 2009, by Irene Kraas at Kraas Literary Agency (NA).

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I have eaten the garlic mashed potatoes of doom.

There will be no rest for me or my digestive system this evening.

At least she wasn't arrested for turnstile jumping.

Georgia - the seven-month old NYC kitten who escaped from her cat carrier at the 59th & Lex station one month ago only to go galloping merrily into the subway tunnel - has finally been rescued! And, apparently it took the combined forces of the MTA, Con-Ed and the NYPD to retrieve the four-pound troublemaker. [Do be sure to read the comment thread. Hilarious!]

Two words that will cause agents and editors to have an immediate aneurysm:


::: fictional novel
:::

(That is all.)

"I'm totally gay for America!"

I cannot stop laughing at this. (Via Matt Cheney and Rick Bowes)

Work email fixed. Again.

(Carry on.)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Query stats for you numbers nerds

Since you seem to like these things:
queries read yesterday and this morning (so far): 96
partial manuscripts requested in past 48 hours: 4
full manuscripts requested in past 48 hours: 1 (paranormal romance)
Yes, I am requesting a lot of partials. That's because I have the luxury of doing so right now while my client load is non-existent light. I'm also allowing myself to get a feel for just what grabs me. It's part of the learning process of becoming an agent. Agents who have been in the business a lot longer than I have been already know their own tastes, and know what works for them and what doesn't. They also have full client loads. By necessity, they must be far more selective about what they read and how best to use their time.

As I grow more into this position, I'll no doubt do the same thing. But for now, I'm asking to see a lot of partials.

I'm also impressed by the number of really excellent query letters I'm seeing! Short, succinct and compelling. Particularly from those folks who identify as former Clarion and/or Odyssey students.

Some of the worst query letters I'm seeing are, surprisingly, from MFAs. They're long and tedious and a little wind-baggy, telling me more about the writer's background and education than they do about the book they're hoping to get me to read. I wonder: do most MFA programs only focus on the craft and not the business of writing? Anyone?

Anyway, back to the in-box!

Email still down. Grrr.

If you sent me any queries or requested partials yesterday between 5:00 PM and, oh, NOW, Eastern Standard Time, please resend to the alternate Gmail account.

I love technology!

OMG! Kameron Hurley sold her books to Bantam!

I don't think I've ever been so happy about a book sale in my whole friggin' life! (And she isn't even my client!) Kameron Hurley just announced on her blog that Juliet Ulman at Bantam bought Kam's book God's War + two more to come, for publication in Fall 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Kameron, I am so proud of you!

Congratulations!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Yikes! Email box got all 'splodey again!

Email box is full again; kids. Sorry!

This, by the way, is why we don't want attachments when you email us unless we ask for them. I know the email box is full 'cos my colleague Janet has been forwarding things to me from people who are emailing her instead.

So, you can do one of two things:
  • Wait until tomorrow sometime and try to email your query again or
  • Send to colleen.lindsay (at) gmail (dot) com (That email address will always work as a secondary email send-to, by the way.)
EDIT TO ADD: As I suspected, someone sent me a huge file attachment with their query. It has clogged the server.

See note again in submissions guidelines re no attachments, not ever, for any reason at all, unless invited to send, upon pain of death. Do you see how La Gringa is waving her pointy school-marmish finger of doom all over the place? Do you? Well, she is!

Now we must wait for Peter-the-Fixer-of-Everything to delete the email.

(Yes, that means the query will be deleted unread, evil ignorer of submission guidelines!)

Blog housekeeping post.

I am no longer allowing anonymous commenting on the blog. I've been being hit with a lot of spam in the comments field. While I've managed to catch most of it before it gets out of hand, I don't have time to spend my day doing this. I also want the blog to be an enjoyable experience for everyone.

However, those of you with an Open ID can leave comments. Open ID is easy to set up and encompasses pretty much anyone with an LJ, AIM, WordPress, or TypePad ID. Or, of course, anyone with a Gmail account.

Sorry for the inconvenience!

Kameron Hurley has some good advice on query letters.

Kameron has some excellent advice for those of you trying your hand at writing query letters.

The biggest problem that I see in query letters - and that I used to see when I was a publicist training new publicists how to write press releases and pitch letters - is that they are just too damned long and never get to the point. All the good stuff? Put it in the first paragraph. Period.

And in a query letter, I want to know the entire plot of your book by the time I finish reading that paragragh. Because if I don't, I probably won't finish reading the letter.

Remember that, essentially, a query letter is a pitch. You need to be able to get your entire plot across in about two to three sentences. You need a hook at the beginning, something that makes me want to finish reading the rest of the letter.

If you can't organize your thoughts about your book concisely enough to write a clear pitch letter, it's probably indicative of your writing style as a whole. That's a red flag to agents.

A well-respected agent I know who has been in the business for more than twenty years recently said to me "Colleen, remember this: the writer never gets any better than the writing you see in the pitch letter."

Three La Gringa pals interviewed!

Three of my pals [who also happen to be people I like and admire very much] were interviewed this week:
David Anthony Durham, author of Acacia, was interviewed by Tempest Bradford for Fantasy Magazine.

Ginger Clark, a wonderful agent who works at Curtis Brown here in NYC, was interviewed by one of her author clients, Jordan Summers.

And lastly, my dear friend Dave Keck was interviewed in a round-table interview over at Fantasy Book Critic; he talks about his books In the Eye of Heaven and the sequel (on sale February 19th!), In a Time of Treason.

Um, so NOW I'm on AgentQuery.

I wasn't there yesterday but am there this morning. I don't know how I got there, though, since I haven't faxed my new listing form yet. Anyone, ideas?

So go look if'n you like. Here's me, in all my nerdly glory.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

In which query writers defy the laws of temporal physics!

Today I have had three queries from folks who say they saw me on AgentQuery. That's nice.

It's also very impressive, being that I am not yet actually ON AgentQuery.

I have only been an agent for four days. It takes a couple of weeks to get listed there after you fax them your info. I am also not yet on our company's website. Nor am I completely on the radar of Princess the Office Poodle, who looks at me askance whenever I enter the office. (A brief bout of ear scratching usually resolves this.)

If you're going to write a query letter, get the facts right. Please.

And if you want to make sure that I actually do work for FinePrint, just call the office and ask. (While you're there, tell Peter to put me on the website, will ya?)

Okay, back to reading query letters. I am very nearly done with the queries I received on February 12th (287 in all).

Regular link round-ups will return tomorrow.

A day in the life of someone else's slushpile.

Agent Fabulous, a friend of mine, was ill for several weeks, resulting in a scary pile-up of mailed queries and slush. We're talking like 500 pieces of mail. S/he called me last night and ever so politely asked if I could come in for the day and help go through the backlogged paper that was breeding on the assistant's desk. [We won't go into why the assistant had not opened any of the mail in all that time. We suspect s/he will not be the assistant much longer.]

So bright and early this morning, armed with caffeine, granola bars and a letter opener, I got to work. And here are some valuable lessons I learned from spending eight hours going through someone else's slushpile, lessons that I will now pass along to you:
  • Naked photos of yourself will not distract the agent into thinking that your writing is better than it actually is. No matter how rock-hard those abs were. [And, yes, they were.]
  • No, really.
  • Naked photos of your cat won't work, either.
  • Do not suggest that a publisher should be offering you a $31 million dollar advance.
  • Do not bribe the agent with a $20 Starbucks card.
  • Do try to have a passing familiarity with the English language. [Barring that, a nodding acquaintance with the Roman alphabet will suffice.]
  • Using the phrase "This is not representative of my best work" in the query letter will probably not help your cause.
  • Spending the entire first paragraph describing the color and texture of vomit? Also not helpful.
  • A Xerox of your photo from your high school yearbook will not help sell your book. It will, however, live on in infamy on the intern's refrigerator door, where a steady collection of lunatic query letters has been growing since December.
  • If you are a psychiatrist writing to recommend the work of one of your patients, do note that the agent is probably thinking that your restraining order isn't working.
  • And, lastly, do not send lingerie with your query letter. Just don't. Not ever. Even pretty lingerie.

Day Four and still alive...

Agenting hasn't killed me yet. Although it may have made me temporarily cross-eyed.

Okay, some stats, in case you were interested:
queries read in the past three days: 126
partials manuscripts requested: 16
full manuscripts requested: 2
The manuscripts requested were literary fantasy and mainstream YA fiction.

LOLcat goodness!

Humorous Pictures
moar humorous pics

A note on adverbs:

GET RID OF THEM!

That is all. Thank you for your time.

xoxox,

La Gringa

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Quick housekeeping note re yesterday's submissions:

Hey there!

Just a heads up to let you know that if you received a bounce-back yesterday when you tried to submit, you should definitely re-submit today.

However, if you didn't receive a bounce-back, your email was probably sitting on the server and was forwarded to me this morning. I received quite a few delayed queries this morning; I assume they were sitting on the server waiting for that ginormous contract file to move out of their way.

That being said, if you submitted yesterday and haven't heard back from me by tomorrow evening at the latest (let's say 11:00 PM EST, for arguments sake), please feel free to re-query. (Just in case Google ate your email. Hey, it happens!)

Email all fixed. Submit away!

I knew Peter would be up in the wee hours tinkering with computer things. Heh.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Oh noez! Teh mailbox eez full!
Or, the perils of being a new agent.

Secretly I'd like to believe that so many amazing writers emailed me submissions on my second day as an agent that they exploded my mailbox and caused the server to erupt in flames. How flattering would that be, huh?

However, I strongly suspect this is not the case. No, no, indeed, I believe it was the unwitting fault of my dear boss Peter, who - earlier in the day - attempted to email me a massive (massive!!!) PDF contract file.

My work email is grabbed by a Gmail account that I created for that specific purpose. Gmail should theoretically let me download a 10 megabyte file from the FinePrint server. However, Gmail decided that the file was too large to grab, and therefore the file sits on the server still, clogging my inbox and causing email bounce-backs to all and sundry.

The solution is simple: go into the server and delete the file. However, La Gringa doesn't seem to have access to the server, so I'll need to wait for Peter to fix it tomorrow. Peter is a happy computer geek, and any excuse for him to delve into the innards of a recalcitrant computer is a good one.

So, to everyone who tried to email me at the work address and got a bounce-back:

OOPS! OUR BAD!

You are welcome to try the Gmail account directly: colleen.lindsay (at) gmail.com. Otherwise, wait until Wednesday morning and give it another try.

::: facepalm :::

PS: A huge thank you to all my online pals - bookish superheroes all! - who took the time to give me a virtual shout-out today on their blogs: John Klima, Andrew Wheeler, Matt Cheney, Gwenda Bond, Jeff VanderMeer, Kelley Eskridge, Richard Larson, Cheryl Morgan and especially you, Mr. Scalzi - your site alone has sent 1,148 people over here today! And still counting.

Boy howdy, do I have news for y'all!
La Gringa is now a literary agent!

I've been waiting to announce this, but now I can:

As of today, I am a literary agent with FinePrint Literary Management, specializing in fantasy and science fiction, horror, paranormal romance, graphic novels, YA fiction, and pop culture.

This all came about rather suddenly. Some of you who know me know that I have been interviewing at several literary agencies these past few weeks. I've had job interviews as well as informational interviews, and in general trying to learn as much as I can about this very different side of the book industry. Last Thursday I had an informational interview scheduled with Peter Rubie and Stephany Evans at FinePrint. I had a wonderful conversation with both of them, and also re-connected with agent extraordinaire Janet Reid, whom I'd known from her days as a journalist at Oregon Public Radio.

A couple of hours later, when I got home, I discovered that Peter had left a job offer on my voicemail.

I was utterly gobsmacked. And thrilled!

Several email conversations and phone calls later, I formally accepted the position as a literary agent at FinePrint. I started this morning, in fact!

I wanted to wait to announce the details until I knew my FinePrint email would be up and working, and also so that I'd have some time to revise my bio and write up some submission guidelines.

But now it's official. So start sending in those queries, kids!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Send La Gringa a Valentine! Or, ya know, hate mail.

Yes, this is a ridiculous holiday completely co-opted by Halllmark and American Greetings, but that doesn't mean you can't have some fun with it. So, if you want to send me a secret message - good or evil - that will only be revealed to me on Valentine's Day, knock yourself out!

My Valentinr - lagringa
Get your own valentinr

Saturday genre link round-up.

My cat Stinkyboy is perched beneath the television set watching birds flitting around the screen on some nature program. He's making that "ack-ack-ack" sound and occasionally leaps up at the screen to attack the pixelated flying things. It's really hilarious!
At the New York Times blog Papercuts, Idjit David Itzkoff strikes again. Did you know that Philip K. Dick wrote a YA novel?

Iain Banks (aka Iain M. Banks) interviewed in the Guardian. There's also a review of his new book Matter.

The Telegraph reviews Matter by Iain Banks.

The Financial Times reviews Miracles of Life: Shanghai to Shepperton, J.G. Ballard's autobiography.

The Times of London has two reviews of the Ballard autobiography: here and here.

The Daily Mail interviews Ballard.

UK SF Book News interviews James Lovegrove on his forthcoming novel Age of Ra.

Agent Andrew Zack explains how publishers make money when their advances don't earn out.

The San Francisco Chronicle reviews Stephen King's Duma Key.

McNally Robinson Books interviews Robert J. Sawyer.

The Los Angeles Times reviews the final volume of the graphic novel Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra and Joshua Marzin Jr.

The Denver Post reviews Pump Six and Other Stories by Paolo Bacigalupi, The Dragons of Babel by Michale Swanwick, and The Unnatural Inquirer by Simon R. Green.

SFFWorld reviews Shadowbridge by Gregory Frost and The Red World Conspiracy by Robert V.S. Redick.

A Slight Apocalypse, a fun new blog I just discovered, reviews Before They Are Hanged and The Blade Itself, both by Joe Abercrombie.

At Omnivoracious, Jeff VanderMeer talks to Joe Nigg about how to raise and keep a dragon. Fer reals, yo.

Smart Bitches reviews The Bleeding Dusk by Colleen Gleason.

At Clarkesworld, Tobias Buckell interviews Cat Valente.

Fantasy Book Critic interviews Felix Gilman, author of Thunderer. There's also a review of The Monsters of Templeton by Laura Groff.