Short and Not-Always-Sweet Answers
Here are some quick answers to reader questions that don’t require entire blogposts unto themselves:
If you have more than 2 POV characters, are your chances of publication lessened?
→ Not unless your book is really bad.
If you live near a major publisher, and your book takes place in the same area, does this help at all with marketing?
→ I can’t see how it would make much difference unless living really close means you bring them Starbucks every morning and chocolates every afternoon.
What makes you mentally snort and roll your eyes around in your head while you’re listening to a pitch?
→ “This book is a guaranteed bestseller.”
When agents and editors read manuscripts, do they print them out? Or read them on the computer?
→ There are these newfangled devices, you may have heard of them, called e-readers? Yeah. (I’ve heard rumors of some people still using their printers, but I haven’t met any of these fine folks.)
Why do publishing houses give such large advances to some debut authors? It seems like a big risk.
→ Why do publishers do anything? It’s business, baby. They think it’s a good decision that will pay off in the long run.
Do you think agents are more likely to take on work that has a great plot with writing that needs work, or great writing with a plot that needs work?
→ Great writing with a weak plot – for sure. I can help a good writer improve their plot. But teaching an average writer to be a good writer is not my job.
How many books would an author have to have published by a major publishing house to be considered a true success, household name or career author?
→ Considered a success by whom? By God? By their mother? By the general public? Some people are household names after one book. (Think J.K. Rowling or Dan Brown.) Many, many writers toil in obscurity, successfully publishing dozens of books, make a good living at it for decades, are definitely successful career authors, but are not household names.
I would like to know if “lurkdom” is a word.
→ If I said it, then yes.
I’m wondering how to handle racial slurs, such as the N word. When a truly vile character would really use such terms, how does the publishing world handle it?
→ Well, usually a smaller font works for those words you want to include but feel like you should whisper them very quietly. Kidding! It depends on context, who the publisher is, and what their guidelines allow. What are you doing writing about truly vile people anyway? This blog is supposed to be safe for the whole family!
I hesitate to ask, seeing as you don’t rep it, but what is the state of fantasy and sci-fi right now?
→ Iowa? Rhode Island? Oh, you mean… okay. Those genres are hanging in there on the strength of established name authors and hardcore fans, and according to my crystal ball, hoping for a resurgence.
Is there any hope of long (150,000+ words) fiction ever making a comeback?
→ Let’s think about this. Over the last, say, five decades or so, have people’s attention spans been getting longer or shorter?
I’d love to read about a day in the life of an agent.
→ Which agent? Do you know any interesting ones? (If not, you could click here.)
I think the only real question to ask is: What are we going to watch now that LOST has ended?!
→ I know, right? That, and “Why did it take so long for Jake and Vienna to break up?”
Got any more questions? Bring ’em on.
Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent