Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Query Success Story

On November 5th Jaye Wells queried me via my agency submission form about her urban fantasy novel, RED-HEADED STEPCHILD. Here's her query:

Sabina Kane's mixed blood labels her the red-headed stepchild of the vampire race. Despite this, she is loyal to the Dominae, the vampire rulers who raised her to be an assassin. When an undercover mission reveals the Dominae's secret plans to wage war against the mage race, she must choose between the only family she's ever known and the one that disowned her at birth.

The 92,500-word novel presents a few twists on the standard vampire mythos. For example, vampires love garlic, but apples are a poison. All red heads have some trace of vampire blood in their gene pool. Also, Lilith was Adam's starter wife in the Garden of Eden before a series of affairs with demons and others spawned the dark races.

On November 6th I requested the first fifty pages, which Jaye sent to me a few hours later.

On December 12th I requested the rest of the novel, which Jaye sent to me that afternoon. I read the rest of the manuscript later that evening, and made an offer of representation on the 13th. On December 14th Jaye accepted my offer of representation and we discussed revisions.

On December 24th Jaye sent me the revised manuscript, and on December 30th I responded with a few additional edit requests. Jaye made the changes immediately and returned the manuscript.

On January 8th I pitched the project to six editors, and by the next morning all of them had received the manuscript. By January 16th we had received multiple offers and conducted an auction for the book. The auction closed late Friday afternoon on January 18th, with Orbit/Hachette winning.

This is definitely not the norm; most sales take far longer and auctions are infrequent events. That being said, I hope this gives all of you aspiring writers out there some hope about the querying process.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Lyons Literary Goes Dark

Well, not literally. But starting today* I will no longer be accepting any queries by mail. Once again, please use my website submission form if you'd like a response. Assuming you fill out the form correctly, you don't have a spam blocker, or no acts that occur that might qualify as force majeure, and I'm not on vacation or out of the country on business, I guarantee you'll hear from me within two weeks of submission (but usually much sooner). 

* I didn't actually post this at 12:00am, of course. 

Monday, March 31, 2008

Previously Published

I've been getting quite a few queries lately from authors who inform me that they are previously published, but then they don't list their publisher. After a bit of research I then discover that the author was self-published. I'm now annoyed.

I have nothing against self-publishing, but I do not consider someone to be "published" if you've chosen this route. After all, if anyone can do it then why should I be impressed? The only way you'll impress me with a self-published book is if you have good sales figures. But the authors who write me these queries know this, or they would have told me who their publisher was in the first place!