Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Few Words from a Literary Agent...

Recently, I was privileged to listen in on a teleseminar as Randy Peyser, local author of "From Crappy to Happy", interviewed literary agent Linda Langton.

I was pleased to hear that Linda is one agent who will always give feedback to an author. She prefers to receive "snail mail" queries. By the way, a proper query letter will be well-crafted, short and to the point. It should contain one paragraph on the author, and one to two paragraphs about the book.

A novel should never be queried to an agent before complete. A sample book proposal should include a chapter by chapter outline, as well as three chapters to showcase the author's writing style. It is also common and acceptable to query more than one agent at a time. Just let them know.

Linda also had an opinion on self-publishing. She opined that you're more likely to be signed by a publishing house if your self-published book has won an award, and sold a decent amount of copies.

I have my own opinions on self-publishing fiction, but more on that later.

Linda is interested in receiving queries on what is selling right now, and that includes Young Adult (YA): vampires/fantasy/magical realism (think Twilight). In non-fiction "how to" and inspirational books (like Randy's) are quite popular.

Crappy to Happy: Small Steps to Big Happiness NOW!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chapters...when and how?

A few weeks ago, one of my favorite blogs discussed chapter length.
Is there an industry standard on chapter length? Do you stop at a particular point in the story and leave your reader hanging?

I remember once reading an article about a well-known author who actually did say that she knew her publisher expected 1,000 word chapters and that this was a formula she followed. A quick perusal of some of my favorite novels reveals that there is uniformity in regard to chapter length. Yet, most of the authors (mostly unpublished...hmmmm) did seem of the opinion that there was no hard and fast rule on chapter length.

Still, if a novel is to have a good pace, it makes sense that chapters would be a unifying basis for the pacing of the story.

Hey, makes sense to me.