Wednesday, July 25, 2012

If I Were A Literary Agent...

I have a dream. That dream is to be a fabulously wealthy author whose books everyone and their mother's read. I think there are about five modern authors who have been so lucky.

I have another dream, and it is by no means a "back up." I want to be a literary agent, because that moment I open a book, read the first line, or chapter, and sit back, preparing for my life to be changed is my favorite. 

In preparation for the job I've begun a training regimen I would like to share with you all.

I get about twenty plus books for review every month. I used to shelve them all, get to them eventually and read each one until the end. In reality I should have known better; based entirely on the novel's "pitch" I knew that certain books just weren't for me. Yet I opened them, read the novel meant for an entirely different personality, and felt under-sold. But I finished all these books, just to check the box, and ultimately write another tiring, "It all sucked," review with the greatest amount of decorum possible.


Well, because I thought of myself as a reviewer first, a blogger second, a writer third and a future agent never.

Now those have switched, with writer and agent-hopeful leading the pack! 

I now approach books with a firm confidence in my tastes, a knowledge of timeless writing and what I believe to be an eye for the idea.

To give you an example of how Mod Podge Thoughts shall expand with a new query-me-quotable feature I thought I would analyze the debuts I've read this year as if they had all just landed in my e-mail bank!

For the purposes of this post we're going to base this off my reactions to chapter one and the summary, which will serve as a query letter.

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield

I would have requested the full manuscript and offered Kat representation upon completing the novel.

Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore

I would have requested a partial, and ultimately rejected the novel asking the author to query me again with other projects in the future.

Fracture by Megan Miranda

I would have passed on this query entirely after reading past the letter.

Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers

This one is still sitting on my read-again-later shelf on Goodreads, so I'm thinking this book would have become stuck in that terrible 'maybe' pile of doom!

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

I would have asked for the full, read it, loved it, but ultimately send Jodi the kind, but annoying, "I loved it, but not enough," rejection letter.

One For the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

I would have requested the full and offered representation!

Partials by Dan Wells

I would have requested, ironically, a partial of this novel and would have rejected it in the end.

The Selection by Kiera Cass

I would have passed on this project.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

I would have requested a partial, and then a full, mulled over asking for revisions, but would have ended up sending a kindly-worded rejection letter.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

I would have asked for the full because the first ten pages of this novel kick butt! I would have asked for revisions and let the author take the lead, assuring her of my desire to work with her, despite what I consider some of the more prominent flaws.

The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy by Nikki Loftin

I would have requested the full and offered representation!

Slide by Jill Hathaway

This one would have gotten a partial request and an eventual rejection.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Another full request, more revision mulling, but ultimately I would have passed.

Obviously the exercise is a touch flawed to begin with- I was the one to add all of these to my TBR, but I hope you can see the benefits of framing books in this new light. Please look for the new Q section after Thots, which shall be continued come next week!


Amanda Pearl said...

Wonderful post! Seriously I love this idea. I do have one question though, how do you know what their query letter says? Are they sent along with the review copy? I would love to read them just so I could see what you were judging. It's very interesting!

Gabrielle Carolina said...

Amanda, I used the jacket-cover synopsis as a query letter.

If you want a look at some YA query letters, might I suggest the 2012 Children's Author and Illustrator's Market Guide?