Monday, June 30, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
- Climate: I was born and raised just outside of Denver, Colorado and have NEVER gotten used to the humidity and skunkiness of the Northeast. (Skunkiness is defined as grey, hot days with lots of haze, heat and humidity.) Summer in Boise features blue skies, sun, dry air and cool nights--just like my hometown.
- Emphasis on the outdoors: There's a greenbelt that runs from miles and miles all along the Boise River. You can walk. You can run. You can bike. You CAN'T drive a car! Parks and festivals abound. Bike lanes are common. What a place to raise a family. What a great place to live as gas prices continue to soar.
- Lots of coffee shops that AREN'T Starbucks: Each one is unique and...you can walk there!
- Nice people: It's true. On the surface at least, people in Idaho are nicer than people in the Northeast. From waitresses to rental cars, we were overwhelmed with kindness, manners and thoughtfulness. They are even nice at the airport!
I'm sure I just scratched the surface. Boise offers a lot more.
The purpose for our visit to Boise was to spend time with my brother and his family. While we were there we gave a workshop for authors at the Garden City Library just outside the city limits. (The library is brand new and gorgeous.) About 30 authors attended our presentation and afterwards we met with as many as time would permit to discuss their individual projects.
I was impressed with the quality of the writers we met. If you read this blog regularly, you can guess what we talked about--the business of writing and the quality of the work. The authors asked interesting and intelligent questions such as: How much money do publishers pay as advances? (It depends.....) How popular is narrative nonfiction? (Very.) Is it OK to query several agents at one time? (Sure. Just don't put all their email addresses in the "send" field.) Do we use an author-agent contract? (Yes.) How do we negotiate the author-publisher contract? (With great respect and humility and an eye on the bottom line, public relations, and marketing.)
My personal favorites that evening? The young lady who considers herself a modern pirate and the gentleman who sees the world through the experience of making omelets. Jon's personal favorite is an author whose partial we had already requested. She, her children and her mother drove 5 hours from Salt Lake City to meet us. With this kind of effort on the part of authors, we just hope we were helpful.
Look out New York--the Boise authors are headed your way!
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Jon received an email from an author whose chapters we'd requested in April. The author was simply asking if we'd received his materials.
As new literary agents, we've devised our own system to insure that all requested material is recorded in a written log. It works well for us and has saved us countless headaches. We record the author's name, date of receipt (in log and on package), and book name as soon as we receive the material. This time, however, we couldn't find any history of this author's chapters.
We've concluded that the material was truly "lost in the mail." We had to go back to the author and tell him his baby had not arrived. He was not happy and is sending us a new copy of the chapters. Jon assured him that he would not lose his place in the stacks. We've reserved his original spot and his chapters will be read as if we'd received them in April. We're still scratching our heads and hoping this doesn't happen very often.
Note on Queries: We receive SO MANY of these and we do not keep track of them in any way, unless we love them and ask for more. Please don't write (or--shudder--call) to ask if we've received your query. We'll be clueless! You'll hear back from us, one way or the other, in good time. We answer every query we receive. Exceptions are: no SASE included in mailed queries; gang email queries to every agent in the book; or really offensive and creepy queries. (Don't ask.)