Friday, March 21, 2008

Who Knows

Someone asked why I don't blog more about what I do want, as compared to writing about what I don't want.

The answer is actually straightforward. Just as writers should write about what they know, so should agents represent the types of books they know. I'm what is called a generalist. My reading interests are broad and eclectic, and I therefore feel comfortable representing varied genres in both fiction and nonfiction. Sure, I have my preferences, but I really do feel comfortable handling almost anything (with the exceptions being very traditional romance, erotica, poetry, short stories, novellas, and picture books).

That being said, there are some subjects that just don't appeal to me on a personal level, whether it's because I'm burned out on the subject, or because I feel that it hits too close to home to represent. But whatever the reason, since I truly believe that I need to be as passionate about the work as the author, I've turned down projects that were extremely well-written with a strong publishing viability if I didn't love them. Agents that do sign up authors and projects without feeling that emotional connection typically are the same ones that will bail on you if it doesn't sell after the first five submissions.

So what I can do is from time to time fill you in on things that I know I won't be able to represent passionately. For now, this includes books about the election, religion, the Middle East, business leadership books, and the Peace Corps.

BTW, I've got nothing against the Peace Corps. I've just gotten way too many submissions involving this in the past few months.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

An Update on Queries

I' m still far behind on any queries sent by mail in the past few months, but if you included an SASE I will respond to them all eventually. Again though, please remember that I won't be accepting or responding to mail queries that arrive after the end of the month.

As for queries sent via my electronic submission form, I am up to date on responding through yesterday. If you have not heard from me, and you used the submission form, my best guess is that you filled it out incorrectly or have a spam blocker that prevented my response. Feel free to resubmit if you like.

Finally, a point of clarification. I don't respond to all email queries - I only respond to those queries sent via my website submission form. I delete the rest.

I've had a few people suggest that my new policy is draconian. It may well be, but in return you are guaranteed 100% a response within a week. I think that's a good trade off.

Thriller Award Nominees

Here are the nominees for the 2008 Thriller Awards:

Best Novel
No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay (Bantam)
The Watchman by Robert Crais (S&S)
The Ghost by Robert Harris (S&S)
The Crime Writer by Gregg Hurwitz (Viking)
Trouble by Jesse Kellerman (Putnam)

Best First Novel
Interred With Their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell (Dutton)
Big City, Bad Blood by Sean Chercover (Morrow)
From the Depths by Gerry Doyle (McBook Press)
Volk's Game by Brent Ghelfi (Holt)
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (Morrow)

Best Paperback Original
The Last Nightingale by Anthony Flacco (Ballantine)
A Thousand Bones by P.J. Parrish (Pocket)
The Midnight Road by Tom Piccirilli (Bantam)
The Queen of Bedlam by Robert McCammon (Pocket)
Shattered by Jay Bonansinga (Pinnacle)

Winners will be announced at Thrillerfest on July 12th.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Random Musings

I can't think of anything original to write about today, so here are some random musings.

Arthur C. Clarke and Anthony Minghella both passed away yesterday.

Maya Reynolds provided a great overview of a publishing contract, here and here. And if you want to hear about publishing contracts in person, come to my Mediabistro class on March 27th.

Amazon completed their purchase of

The Supreme Court has decided to review whether the government can ban "fleeting expletives". I'm concerned.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

That Darn Chicago Wizard

I'm going to see Jennifer Jackson tonight, and it made me realize that I had yet to brag about already reading an advance copy of SMALL FAVOR, the newest title in the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. Harry's all mixed up again with Mab, the Winter Court Queen, making him a target for just about everyone, including the Summer Court and The Denarians.