Tuesday, April 24

RIP Partial Requests

Are partial requests a thing of the past?

I read several articles over the past few days that say yes. More and more agents are skipping over the partial request and going directly from query to full request when considering a manuscript for representation. The reason that the articles caught my eye in the first place was that I'd started to notice that very thing myself, and was wondering if it was simply a fluke or a real trend. I still spend a lot of time on QueryTracker.net reading comments, and more and more writers are reporting getting full requests from queries--which used to be practically unheard of. The initial reaction is, "Wow, they must have really loved my query!", but the truth may be simply that there is a new protocol emerging.

If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Back in the day, when we had to print and mail out all of our submissions through the post, of course we wouldn't want to pay to print and send an entire manuscript, only to have it rejected before the reader got past the first chapter. But now in the digital age, there is no difference between emailing a partial and a full.

It really could be a time saver for both the agent and the writer. If an agent likes a query, why not ask for the entire manuscript in advance? They will still start reading with the first three or so chapters(the partial), and if they don't like those, then  they can stop reading and send a rejection. However, if they do like it and want to see more, they no longer need to ask the writer and then wait for it to arrive, possibly finding tons of other things to do and new projects to work on in the meantime. It really would make the entire process faster.

It will also force writers to be on their game, and weed out those few who think it's okay to query when you haven't finished the book. How many times have you seen a querying writer say, "Agent X loves my partial and requested a full! I'm going to spend the next few weeks cleaning it up so I can send it!" No, folks. It should be clean. It should be spic-and-span and ready to go out before you send your first query. Asking for a full instead of a partial will help the agent separate the men from the boys, so to speak.

The one problem I do see writers having with this, is the fact that there will now be a substantial rise of form rejections on full manuscripts. Usually, a form can be expected on a partial, but for a full, writers expect some sort of critique from the agent. However, this expectation is based on the assumption that the manuscript was read from beginning to end, which now, many more will not be.

Honestly, problems aside, I think this 'query to full' procedure makes a lot of sense.

You? Any thoughts?

Monday, April 23

Caught White Handed

This is a post I did some time ago, and I got to thinking about it today and decided to re-post. Happy Monday! :)

So a friend of mine sent me a story today that I just had to share...

An editor put a post on her blog titled "How not to boost your word count." Apparently she was considering a manuscript for publication in one of her house's category romance lines. For the particular line this author was looking to be published in, the mandatory word count was 60-90K. The author pitched the manuscript as 67K, and when the editor checked the count on her computer she found that it was indeed 66,749. However looking it over it seemed a bit short. It wasn't until she loaded it to her e-reader that she discovered the trick. The author filled the empty page space between chapters with paragraphs of sort nonsensical words, then changed the text color to white, so you couldn't see them! The editor's e-reader was set to sepia, which made the while text stand out against the beige background. Once all the extra text was deleted, the word count only came to 52K! Talk about padding!

I'm not sure if this author is an idiot or a genius, but either way, I about died laughing!

Friday, April 20

Researching Woes...

Too much researching. There is such a thing, and sadly, I am there. It has been frustrating me the last few days, and since my kids are 1 and 2yrs old, and are currently too busy fighting over a Cinderella doll to listen to my woes, I thought I'd pour them out to you all.

Since I am currently waiting on edits for both my books, I've decided in the meantime to work on a new project totally unrelated to my previous two. I love the idea, and have been hard at work researching as it is historical, and part of it involves a Native American tribe, the Shawnee.

Never heard of them? Probably not, and hence my woe. They are a fascinating race, however unlike the Cherokee, or the Iroquois, or the Navajo, they are not generally well known, and there is very little information out there about them. That in itself is frustrating, but what's worse is that the information that IS available contradicts itself at every turn! One book--written by a true Shawnee, mind you--says one thing, while a second book--also written by a Shawnee--says something completely different!

Who's right?

Honestly, they are probably both right. While there were major beliefs and practices that all Shawnee adhered to, lots of other things varied from village to village. Certain things like marriage, pregnancy, etc., may be handled in one way at one village, while those same things in other villages may have been handled in totally different ways.

Grumble, grumble, grumble...

Generalization is another problem. Think about what a person 200 years from now would say if asked about the custom of marriage in our time. That person would probably have to say that marriage was legally binding but casual, most marriages ending in divorce, with the majority of people being married more than once in their lifetime. Does that represent your life? Your marriage? Maybe not, but as a generality, sadly, it's correct. Imagine what a third grader in 2300 would write in his or her report about marriage in our time having read only that one sentence. Pretty bleak, no? So generalizations are usually inaccurate too.

Grumble, grumble, grumble...

Okay, so to recap, no one right answer, and beware the generalization.

Yeah sure, that's all well and good for a book report, but... oh, that's right, I'm writing fiction.

So what the hell am I supposed to do? How can I be sure I will get it right? After all, if you get it wrong, you are liable to offend someone. But what if there is no 'right'? How can there be 'wrong' if there is no 'right'?


I think, for me anyway, the answer for now is to jump off of the researching roller coaster and just write the story. I don't need to worry about details that I am not going to use, and I can't know which ones I will use until I write the story. Then I will go back, fact-check what I need to, and worry about inconstancy and generalization then.

Oh course, this is all easier said than done, as even as I write this I continue to worry and stress about it...

Anyone else have this issue? Any thoughts?

Monday, April 16

Open Door 2012!

Hello all,

Sinus infection from hell, so this will just be a quickie to let you all know that Angry Robot and Strange Chemistry (both distributed by Random House) have begun their annual two week open door submissions specifically for un-agented writers of SciFi and Fantasy.

For YA submission details: http://strangechemistrybooks.com/opendoor/

For Adult submission details: http://angryrobotbooks.com/opendoor/

Please pass on to anyone who may be interested!

Hope everyone had a great weekend, and I'll be back soon as my head reattaches to the rest of my body.

Monday, April 9

MORE News, News, News!!!

Good Morning!

So, remember last week when I announced my deal as Julianna Scott with Strange Chemistry, and mentioned that I might have more great news to come as Marian Vere?...


I DO!!!

I am so incredibly happy to announce the sale of my debut novel, Once Upon A Second Chance, to Elizabeth Harper of Omnifc Publishing! It will release Fall, 2012!

As a writer, it's hard to admit that sometimes there just aren't words, but as to how I'm feeling at the moment, there truly are not. Though, if I were pressed, overjoyed, humbled, and painfully grateful are a few that come to mind.

Thank you all so much again, for your amazing support! I couldn't ask for better friends; both real, and virtual! :)

Wednesday, April 4



It has been an incredible month, and I have been absolutely dying to tell you all the amazing news, and today, FINALLY I can!

My most amazing, most splendid, and most fantastic agent, Carly Watters, has sold THE HOLDERS, or the first book in my YA series to Amanda Rutter of Strange Chemistry Publishing, in a two book deal!

I am so excited, and bewildered, and in awe, and humbled, I can't even tell you! Really, I wish there were words, but there just aren't.

Or... I supposed that is to say, Julianna Scott, my YA alter-ego wishes she could find the words. If you are interested in following Julianna's journey, you can find her on Twitter as @Julianna__Scott, on Facebook, and on her brand new website! (Please forgive the sparsity of posts and tweets, I literally just created all this within  the last few days, but don't worry, I'll catch up soon! :D)

Finally, I wanted to thank you all for being so amazingly supportive though all of this madness we share in. A lot of you have been with me since QueryTracker, and you don't know how much having empathetic support has helped me though all this! I love you all! OXOX!

What's that? What about Marian, you ask? Well it just so happens that she has some pretty fantastic news of her own to share with you all...

...just not yet.

But stay tuned! ;)