What a pleasure to listen as Sara Megibow (Nelson Literary) and Shannon Hassan (Marsal Lyon Literary) answered questions about book publishing last night. I hope you find their comments as helpful as I did.
- 50% of our queries get rejected because they are in genres that we don’t represent.
- Have one genre. Bookstores don’t shelf books in multiple places.
- Steps to getting an agent: 1. Book is finished. 2.Know your genre (Read at least 3 books in that genre to make sure you are in the right one). 3.Find a list of agents representing that genre (agentquery.com; Send to first five which allows you to redo the query or manuscript if rejected); 4. Study agency web sites and follow submission guidelines.
- I read 200 queries each day in 20 minutes. Last year I asked for 98 full manuscripts; 7 were signed; six got deals.
- In my genres I want more diversity, more people of color, more people of diverse religious backgrounds… There is more discussion in this world than is currently represented on the bookshelf.
- Shockingly, middle class kid aren’t the only ones who visits bookstores.
- It takes 2-3 years to write and get published.
- It’s important to write multiple books in one brand before you move on. You start with several Middle Grade Realistic Fiction books; Years later you move into YA fantasy.
- Should you resubmit to the same agent with an extensive rewrite? Yes, but don’t discuss the past. It’s not needed, I won’t remember the first one.