Friday Fun Day…and Your Turn to Talk

It’s Friday and I am one tired puppy. I’m not even going to rant today… YOU are. But first, a few odds and ends. I don’t know about you, but I’m a little weary of all the bad news recently (especially the economy). To put things in perspective, here’s a quote from John Wesley in 1773:

“We had our Quarterly Meeting at London , at which I was surprised to find that our income does not yet answer our expense. My private account I find still worse. I have laboured as much as many writers; and all my labour has gained me, in seventy years, a debt of five or six hundred pounds.”

I love how he expresses “being flat broke” in such a lovely way! At least we know we’re not the first to have struggled in the world of publishing.

Speaking of struggling, if you haven’t read the blog post titled If It Were Easy… by WordServe client Richard Mabry, I recommend it. He wrote it awhile back, but I keep coming back to it because it’s great encouragement for writers who feel like it’s taking a really long time to get published.

If you want to laugh and cringe at the same time, read this cautionary tale about careful use of online social networks. It’s an unbelievable story! How Not to be a Key Online Influencer

Also, here’s a really interesting article from Time Magazine about the alleged future of publishing: Books Gone Wild: The Digital Age Reshapes Literature

In other news, I’m excited about my latest contract that was listed on Publishers Marketplace this week. Here’s what it says:

First runner-up on THE BIGGEST LOSER, Season 4, Julie Hadden’s Fat Chance: How God Changed My Life Through Reality TV, an inspiring memoir explaining the inner transformation available to all who want to lose weight, get healthier or change their life, to Linda Cunningham at Guideposts, in a good deal, for publication in January 2010, by Rachelle Gardner at WordServe Literary Group.

Julie is an incredible person who has been on an amazing journey. You can visit her website here. Congratulations, Julie!

Well, I’m FINISHED for the weekend. Time for you to talk to me.

→ Who are you rooting for in the Super Bowl? (Um, who’s playing again?)

→ What publishing questions do you want me to answer on the blog over the next few weeks?

→ What do you feel like ranting about today?

Bring it on…

Have a great weekend!

Rachelle Gardner is a Christian literary agent who loves to rant and ramble… and allow you to do the same.

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


  1. Kylie on November 22, 2011 at 7:04 AM

    Regards for all your efforts that you have put in this. Very interesting info. “What the superior man seeks is in himself what the small man seeks is in others.” by Confucius.

  2. Alyssa on October 11, 2011 at 10:35 PM

    Very great info can be found on web blog.

  3. Aubrey on October 6, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    Appreciate it for helping out, great info. “I have witnessed the softening of the hardest of hearts by a simple smile.” by Goldie Hawn.

  4. Lorelei on September 16, 2011 at 7:27 AM

    Real nice layout and wonderful articles , nothing at all else we require : D.

  5. Anonymous on February 1, 2009 at 7:23 PM

    >My question has less to do with publishing, but more to do with the genres you represent. I’m sure you get asked this all the time – but why, oh, why do you accept “pretty much everything,” but exclude sci-fi and fantasy? Is that just personal preference? Is it harder to sell sci-fi ideas? Please enlighten me!!

  6. macromab on February 1, 2009 at 6:57 PM

    >Great blog.

    Have you ever had a client who was concerned about retaining control over media rights (TV, film) to their manuscript, or are most so happy over the thought of getting published that they’ll pretty much sign over their first-born? I was curious about what you may have witnessed on that front, (especially if children were actually exchanged).

    Different for first-timers v. the big name authors?

  7. Julie Gillies on February 1, 2009 at 3:45 PM

    >Hi Rachelle,

    First of all, your pup is adorable. Reagan would probably get along well with our Aussie, Sophie. She could herd him and he could fetch the ball she ignores. 🙂

    Question for you: I’m heading to a conference soon and wonder which an agent or publisher prefers: a One Sheet or full book proposal. It almost seems like a proposal precludes adequate conversation during the 15-minute appointments, and my understanding is the pubs/agents don’t take hard copies anyway. Your suggestions?

  8. Carrie Turansky on February 1, 2009 at 3:05 PM

    >Hi Rachelle,
    Thanks for the info on Julie’s website. I was inspired to read more about her story. When will the book come out? Hope you have a restful weekend.

  9. Nancy D'Inzillo on January 31, 2009 at 11:03 PM

    >In answer to your queries:

    1) Who is playing again anyway?

    2) What social networking strategies have you noted to be effective for authors you are working with?

    3) My rant … When did Wikipedia become an acceptable citation source? I’ve been reading a book on PR that uses citations from Wikipedia. As a graduate student, it concerns me that Wikipedia is starting to fly as a legitimate source. While I appreciate Wikipedia as much as the next person, it’s easy to manipulate their information and should not replace research from academically trusted sources. I wonder why the publisher would have let that fly in the first place … Maybe I’m just being a curmudgeon.

  10. Meredith Teagarden on January 31, 2009 at 7:48 PM

    >No ranting here. I am off to read the recommended blog post.

  11. Anonymous on January 31, 2009 at 11:50 AM

    >”Don’t confuse “name-dropping” with mentioning a referral.”

    Thanks for the reassurance Rachelle!

    I will stop worrying and get the manuscript in the mail. 🙂

    Cheers, Anon 11:03

  12. Rachelle on January 31, 2009 at 8:56 AM

    >Anonymous 11:03,
    Name dropping is obnoxious. However, telling someone you were referred by someone else is not only a good thing, it’s one of the best things you can do to get someone’s attention. Make sure what you’re saying is true, because people will check up on you.

    A personal referral from someone I respect always sends the query to the top of the stack. However, when someone is blowing smoke, I either know it immediately, or very soon when I follow up on the alleged referral.

    Recently someone sent me a query stating “So and so told me to call you.” It sounded strange so I immediately called up my friend so-and-so. Turned out that the writer was outright lying to me… my friend had said nothing of the sort. THAT kind of behavior will ensure I never want to represent you.

    However, a true referral is golden.

    Don’t confuse “name-dropping” with mentioning a referral.

    How do you say it? “So and so read my manuscript, said all these nice things (whatever they were), and suggested you might want to take a look.”

  13. Chatty Kelly on January 31, 2009 at 7:43 AM

    >I'm not a football fan, but am rooting for Kurt Warner – because of his life story.

    CONGRATS on your book deal! That is very exciting.

    Your puppy is so cute, I thought it was a picture you pulled off of google images. Has he eaten all your shoes & furniture yet?

  14. Melinda Walker on January 31, 2009 at 7:37 AM

    >Chiming in late on this, but I did want to express my thanks, Rachelle, for the pitch crits & tutorial this week. I really do apprecitate the time & effort it took to do them. I found it extremely helpful.

    My question: Have you observed any characteristics common to most people who break through to publication that seem to enable them to write that great story and get it out there?

  15. Anonymous on January 31, 2009 at 1:03 AM

    >I’ve got a question…

    How do I NOT sound like a name-dropping fool in my cover letter?

    I’ve been working on a partial ms and synopsis with an editor (I won a read in an auction). This editor thinks the ms has potential and has instructed me to send it to another editor (who she thinks might like it). The first editor has talked to the second editor about my ms and the second editor is expecting it.

    But how do I say, “Wonderful editor told me to send this to you, so here it is!” in a professional manner without sounding like a name-dropping fool or a self-important twit?!

  16. Sharon A. Lavy on January 30, 2009 at 10:21 PM

    >Do you recommend writers enter contests? Why or why not?

  17. crt on January 30, 2009 at 9:41 PM

    >Not the Cardinals….Not the Steelers…I guess no one. If the Eagles had have made it then it would’ve been a different story.

    I want to know what deterimes the value of a word?…You know the twenty dollar words, and ten dollar words…etc. etc.

  18. C.J. Darlington on January 30, 2009 at 9:01 PM

    >Hmm… publishing question. I’d love to see what all goes into the design of a book cover from concept to completion (with all the variations of the cover).

    A state of the industry post is always great (i.e. what publishers are looking for, what genres are hot, etc.), but something tells me you did that recently.

    BTW… that is one cute pup you’ve got!

  19. natalie on January 30, 2009 at 8:54 PM

    >I have a rant! Well. It’s not a rant so much as it is just a really compulsive need to share one of my newest favorite writing discoveries. Last week I read “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson. I devoured it. The book is stunning and sad and beautiful. I don’t know the last time I cheered so hard for a main character. Also, the book is written in first person present tense. Sometimes when I pick up a book, and see a writer has chosen that means of storytelling, I brace myself. That can get too moody (and a little too pretentious) fast for my taste, but “Speak” never did. It just added to the artistry of the project.

    I then went to my library and checked out her newest book, “Chains”, and it is breaking my heart in all the right ways. It was love at sight of first sentence for me: “The best time to talk to ghosts is just before the sun comes up.” !! The story is great. The writing is great. If anybody is looking for a great book, I would recommend “Speak” or “Chains”. Technically, the books are YA but I can’t imagine an adult who wouldn’t like them too.

    Also, I am jazzed for Hollywood week on Idol 🙂 I really like the new judge.

  20. Sharon A. Lavy on January 30, 2009 at 8:49 PM

    >Good question. My character has partial lyrics running through her head. What do I have to do about it?

  21. Anonymous on January 30, 2009 at 8:47 PM

    >Hi, Rachelle. I’m an editor who’s constantly answering questions about permissions: what material requires permission, how the permissions process works, what costs are involved, etc. I’ve noticed that authors frequently overlook this necessary step to publication. How often do you deal with permissions, and what do you tell clients when their manuscripts contain something that requires permission, such as a poem or song lyrics?

    Go Lions! Oh, wait . . .

  22. Alexandra on January 30, 2009 at 7:47 PM

    >I don’t know. I usually don’t start cheering for a team until I watch it.

    Um, please cover the nitty gritty on contracts/deadlines/etc. What should we expect after we sign a contract? What’s the normal deadline, who decides the deadline, etc.

    My rant–am I the only author in the 18-25 age group??????? No offense to anyone else…but I feel very juvenile among those twenty, even thirty years older than myself. Every time I go on a writer’s blog/website, they’re always at least 35. HELP!!!!

  23. Timothy Fish on January 30, 2009 at 2:28 PM

    >I have no problem with waiting. Didn’t the psalmist say, “Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass?”

    My rant has to do with two little letters, “W” and “E.” I sent out query letters the other day. Two of the responses came back within twenty-four hours. Keep in mind that I followed the advice to address correspondence to a specific person. The first came back, “We don’t represent fiction.” That was helpful information, since it wasn’t stated on his website, but neither was it stated that he is working with someone else. The next also came back using a plural pronoun when he should have used the singular. I have a character that does that, Xander X – Private Investigator. He uses we, when talking to clients, to hide the fact that he is working out of his mother’s basement. It seems to me that the proper thing to do is to identify just who we is when responding to someone who has addressed an individual. Instead of saying, “We have reviewed…” it would be better to say “My colleague literary agent Joe Blow and I have reviewed…” or “My assistant and I have reviewed…” or “My mother and I have reviewed…” Or if no one else has looked at it, one should simply say, “I have reviewed…”

  24. Sharon A. Lavy on January 30, 2009 at 2:21 PM

    >I am reminded of what Angela Hunt told us at the ACFW conference. Some people don’t realize there is another person behind the emails they send.

    But for a person who’s job is to teach about the social contacts to make such a blunder~~ I’m surprised he still has his job.

    Nice he works for a forgiving company.

  25. Doug on January 30, 2009 at 2:16 PM

    >Rachelle, the story about the online influencer was part funny, but deeply ironic. People who reveal their dark secrets on networks like twitter do so because they are afraid to do so otherwise. As ironic as that sounds, they think of these networks as amorphous blobs where other people who share the behavior can vent. What they don’t realize until too late is that sometimes the amorphous blob has a face.

    I try not to online vent. I have been guilty on a few occasions, but I tend to treat these networks as if I were talking to my mother. (I am sure Freud would have fun with that.) I won’t write anything online that I wouldn’t tell my mother. Sounds weird I know, but try it.

    On another topic, I love to read agent blogs. Why you ask? There are the usual tips and tricks of the trade, but the thing that I find most interesting is the deals they have done, or the books their clients have released. To me this is the clearest definition of the types of work the agent likes.

    That information alone tells me whether or not I should query that agent. So, while I enjoy reading your blog, I can tell you probably wouldn’t be the right agent for me.

    Keep up the good work.

  26. Sharon A. Lavy on January 30, 2009 at 1:46 PM

    >Even though the world looks bleak for the writing and publishing industry, we who have the disease will still write.

    So encourage us to remember why we write and WHO we really write for.

    I enjoy your blog and will slip over to Richard’s blog now.

  27. Amber Lynn Argyle on January 30, 2009 at 1:37 PM

    >Yeah! An excuse to complain!
    My pet peeve: Hurry up and wait.
    Send out a batch of querys. Wait. Repeat.
    Get requests for partials. Wait. Repeat.
    Get requests for fulls. Wait. Repeat.
    Send MS to publishers. Wait. Repeat.
    Like all pirates everywhere, I would like to say: Argh!

  28. Cindy on January 30, 2009 at 1:30 PM


    I just wanted to says thanks for your blog. I appreciate the work you put into it for all those aspriring and established authors out there or those who simply just like your view of the world. I came across your blog while searching for representation and have continued to visit it, also sending friends this way as well.
    Of course that had nothing to do with reading, writing, the publishing industry or a rant…but I’m sure, with some careful thought, I could work myself into a frenzy about the injustices of the publishing industry and get back to you another time. Thanks again!

  29. Stephanie Reed on January 30, 2009 at 12:42 PM

    >Okay, I had to think of a coherent way to express this question. A fellow CBA children’s author and I heard that, because there are already so many good mainstream children’s novels, there’s not much need for CBA children’s novels. Do you agree? And if so, please tell me how great mainstream novels and great CBA novels for adults have peacefully co-existed for years. My point is, why not provide an excellent selection of CBA novels for children NOW (and believe me, we knock ourselves out to do just that), and thus have a ready-made market of loyal adult readers someday? Here’s a link to an interesting article that I read about the forecast for children’s books in the UK (it’s looking bright):,696511.shtml

    Yes, I know you don’t rep children’s books. PS congrats on your good deal.

  30. David A. Todd on January 30, 2009 at 12:41 PM

    >What a day to ask for a rant!

    We had layoffs today, the fourth since November 2006. Thirty-seven people nationwide, about 10 in our home office. We are now down to a staff of about 105 people, so that was about 30 percent of our already reduced workforce. I still have a job, but at a 10 percent pay cut. I already had a 10 percent pay cut last April, so this one hurts.

    On top of that, my brother is having his house forclosed on. Actually, it’s his son who is being forclosed on, since he sold the house to his son then couldn’t make the payments, per his agreement with his son. So the son’s credit is what is being ruined. It’s hard to admit, but my brother is a conman disguised as a beggar.

    Is that the type of rant you wanted, Rachelle? Probably not. Meanwhile, I have a huge decision to make: Should I continue to pursue a second career, one in writing, spending money on conferences, references, research, postage, etc.? Or should I hunker down and just do the best job in engineering I can, and save writing for that day that’s 7 years, 11 months, and 1 day away?


  31. Kat Harris on January 30, 2009 at 12:12 PM

    >Let’s look at this Super Bowl for a second.

    The Cardinals leave St. Louis.
    St. Louis acquires Rams. Kurt Warner leads Rams to Super Bowl.
    Kurt Warner leaves St. Louis. The Cardinals acquire Kurt Warner. Kurt Warner leads Cardinals to Super Bowl.

    I don’t know if I had a point in that. I just thought it was odd, and I’m still depressed that my St. Louis Rams are in a funk.

    Go Kurt Warner! Go Cardinals!
    Go funny commercials!

    Publishing questions. Let’s see.

    OK, here’s a hypothetical one:

    Would you ever considering looking at the revision of a project you previously rejected?

  32. T-Anne on January 30, 2009 at 11:15 AM

    I’m rooting for the food!

    How exciting for Julie! I plan on moseying over and reading all about it. Congrats!

    Here’s something that’s been on my mind, is it OK legally speaking to have sample chapters of my unpublished novels on my blog? I just wondered how much was acceptable if any. I’d hate to shoot myself in the foot.

  33. Rachelle on January 30, 2009 at 11:08 AM

    >Timothy–Rants about agents are my favorite! Bring it on!

    Everyone–Surely I haven’t answered every publishing question you’ve ever had? C’mon, I need more questions!

  34. Mindy Obenhaus on January 30, 2009 at 10:58 AM

    >I love Kurt Warner, so I’ll have to cheer for the Cardinals. But my two favorite things about the Super Bowl are the food and the commercials!

  35. Timothy Fish on January 30, 2009 at 10:35 AM

    >What I “feel like ranting about today” has to do with literary agents. Is that okay? Perhaps I’d better not.

    I don’t much care who wins the Superbowl, as long as it isn’t the Cardinals. I never was happy about them leaving Saint Louis.

    I don’t have a sensible question to ask, so I’ll ask this: If I have a story about demons and I write several different versions one as a historical romance, one as a western, one as suspense and one set in outer space, do you think someone would be interested in a four book deal?

    For the record, I don’t write about demons.

  36. lynnrush on January 30, 2009 at 10:08 AM

    >First of all, that picture or your dog is awesome!!! I think my sweet Maddux (5 years old Sheltie) saw it and barked it was so cute!

    Nothing to rant about, life is sweet. I’m excited to attend a writers conference this weekend!!!

    I have to go for the Steelers, but only because my sweet hubby LOVES them. I can’t stand football…so I’ll just root for them to support my hubby.

    Have a great weekend everyone. Be safe and God bless!!!

  37. Crystal Laine Miller on January 30, 2009 at 9:51 AM

    >1. Superbowl this year is a snooze. I have only a slight preference–Cards over Steelers. I am still mourning losing Tony Dungy (Go Colts!) but he is a class act and I pray all things good for him, of course.

    2. I mostly work on the other side of the publishing desk (so far, but I’m considering crossing over, or trying,) but one of my clients/friends is considering changing agents (it’s just not a good fit.) My question is what is the best way to go about that process? (There you go, Friend, I asked for you.)

    3. What I want to know is how you advise fiction clients go about focusing their genre when they have several they like? Would you let your clients do, say, romance overall, and do the variations of romantic suspense, romantic comedy, historical romance? Or do you have them focus more than that?

    I don’t know if any of these questions are blog-worthy, but I always enjoy seeing your perspective on things.

    All I can say is that the publishing industry is like a box of chocolates–you never know when you’re going to get the Monty Python’s Frog Surprise(you have to be old for that one.)

  38. Marla Taviano on January 30, 2009 at 9:47 AM

    >Awww…Julie’s video brought tears to my eyes. So beautiful. Looking forward to the book!

  39. Anne L.B. on January 30, 2009 at 9:47 AM

    >Rachelle, thanks for the link to Richard Mabry’s If It Were Easy. Fantastic advice. And CONGRATS to you.

    Richard, you’ve got some great posts on writing et al. I’m now following your blog on my reader.

  40. Marla Taviano on January 30, 2009 at 9:40 AM

    >Cardinals. Love Kurt Warner, do not love Steelers.

    Congrats to you and Julie!!

  41. Rachel on January 30, 2009 at 9:38 AM

    >I’m so impressed and excited about the book about Julie!!!

  42. Ralene on January 30, 2009 at 9:31 AM

    >Congrats! I’ll bet you are both super excited about the deal.

    My rant is pretty generic. Why can’t there be more hours in the day? Amazon’s contest opens on Monday and I am running through a final revision of my ms. Don’t know how well a Christian novel will do in a secular contest. But, hey, God’s worked bigger miracles, right? 🙂

  43. Dara on January 30, 2009 at 9:27 AM

    >I don’t watch football, did but being from Cleveland originally, I could never cheer for the Steelers 😛

    I did have a question but it was already addressed in an earlier response. 🙂

  44. Jeanie W on January 30, 2009 at 9:18 AM

    >Congratulations on the book deal! Your client’s before and after pictures are impressive. I bet she’s got a lot of great advice to share.

  45. Rachelle on January 30, 2009 at 9:17 AM

    >P.S. The photo is my adorable puppy Reagan, four years ago. He’s not that small anymore, but still just as sweet!

  46. Amy Storms on January 30, 2009 at 9:09 AM

    >I think I’m rant-free today, but it’s still early.

    My question is, how long does it typically take an agent to get a contract? From the day you agree to represent a client, until you’ve sold their book…Or is that even an answerable question? 🙂

  47. Mark H. on January 30, 2009 at 8:59 AM

    >I’m pulling for my Eagles! Woohoo!

    They what? They lost to whom? No, you must be mistaken. Don’t be ridiculous. The Cardinals never make the playoffs.

    I could rant about the size of the national debt, the “bailout”, or Wall St. companies awarding bonuses with taxpayer money, but it’s too depressing. Let’s just remember that God is still in control and that we can be thankful. I have a fun, loving family, a job, a home, and great friends. God is good.

  48. Anonymous on January 30, 2009 at 8:36 AM

    >Hi Rachelle, I have a question. What was the shortest amount and longest amount of time you’ve had a book on submission?

  49. Anonymous on January 30, 2009 at 8:28 AM

    >Hi Rachelle, I’m a regular reader of Publishers Marketplace and saw your latest announcement. I noticed it said Julie Hadden got “a good deal” with Guideposts, which means it’s in the six figures, so congratulations to both of you! I also remember Julie from The Biggest Loser. I look forward to seeing the book!

  50. Richard Mabry on January 30, 2009 at 7:56 AM

    Congrats to you and Julie on the sale. And thanks for linking to my post. Hope you have a restful weekend. You deserve it.

  51. Catherine West on January 30, 2009 at 7:56 AM

    >That’s baseball, right??
    I’m afraid my rant today would be unacceptable for this ‘G’ rated blog, so I shall bow out of this one. Suffice to say that satan’s dominion is alive and well and running the contracting business in Bermuda. :0)
    Aside from that, I’d like to know the REAL scoop on what to expect from the publishing world this year. Does anyone know? All I’m hearing is how bad it is, people being laid off, fewer books will be acquired etc etc… For this tired and as of yet unpublished writer, author or whatever I’m supposed to call myself, all the talk hardly makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. So what’s really going on out there in the trenches? Do we keep plugging away and hope for the best or can we take a year off and hope things pick up at some point? (I know your answer to that one…)

  52. Karen on January 30, 2009 at 6:56 AM

    >I’m rooting for Arizona for two reasons:

    1. I love an underdog.
    2. I’m from Cleveland. I could never root for the Steelers.

    Have a great weekend everyone!!

  53. Susan on January 30, 2009 at 2:57 AM

    >I actually don’t know anything about American football, however, I will have a soft spot for the Arizona Cardinals. Ben Graham (the punter) use to play for Geelong, the team that I follow in Australian rules football.