Wednesday, June 10, 2009

If you had the opportunity...

to ask an editor, agent, or author some writing career-related questions, but weren't specifically wanting to pitch your work to them, what would you ask?

I may just find myself in this predicament next week, as the line I'm wanting to pitch to isn't going to be represented at this conference. But, there are going to be some great agents, editors and authors with invaluable information to share. If only I knew what to ask? What to pick their ingenious brains on?

Any suggestions?

Here's some rolling around in my brain:

For Authors: How do you shut the internal editor off so that the story can just spill out? How do discern which critique suggestions to make, and which to leave alone?

For Agents: What first lines of query letters grab your attention? Are you looking for authors with several novels ready, or is one good one enticing enough to spur your interest?

For Editors: Who are your favorite agents to work with? Do you take un-agented proposals?


What about you? If you had this opportunity what questions would you ask?


Surrendering to Him,

Eileen

10 comments:

MeganRebekah said...

I love the question for editors in regards to their favorite agents. I want to know who they like working with, because that could make or break your book's chances.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Megan, that was my thoughts exactly. Similarly, I guess I could ask Agents which their favorite publishing houses are to sell to. The answer to that could speak volumes too, couldn't it?

Jody Hedlund said...

So are you getting ready?! It must be getting really close now! Too bad you won't have the specific editor there to pitch too. Will you at ACFW? For an agent, you could ask what they like/dislike about representing authors who write for category romances. It would be interesting to find out what they think.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Jody, that's a great one. I'm adding it to my list. It could be a great conversation starter for sure. Thanks!

Katie said...

I have no idea what proper etiquette would be, as I've never done this. But I think I would like to show them my work, make sure they know I'm not trying to pitch to them since I know they don't represent what I write, but get their opinion on how to improve it.

Terri Tiffany said...

Great questions already! I wanted to picth something at my last conference but the editor didn't show until after I was already home but I did meet with another editor and had her tell me what she looked for in the first fee pages.

Jessica said...

It might not hurt to have an agent look at your work and give feedback, but maybe they don't like to do that? Hmmm...Great questions here. I don't really know what I'd ask. I think it was a good idea to ask about repping category authors, etc.
I can't wait to hear about your experience! :-)

Erica Vetsch said...

When I had my first meeting with my brand new editor (She announced the contract during the ACFW conference about three hours before our meeting,) we talked about what to expect in the upcoming weeks and months, then she asked if I had any questions.

I asked her, "What is one thing your new authors do that you wish they wouldn't?" (Because I didn't want to make a frightful dork of myself!)

She liked the question. (Her answer was her newest authors often feel like they can't ask her a question because they don't want to 'bother her' or come across as 'needy.' She said to contact her any time, she's never too busy to answer a question.)

I'm thinking agents and editors would like to hear more of this type of question in their appointments.

Jill Kemerer said...

I took a free class through the RWA Pro Loop where we asked editors and agents anything we wanted. It was awesome!!

I'm interested in the nitty-gritty. I asked how long they expect to wait on a novel they've requested to revise and resubmit? If an author takes too long, does it affect her decision? (Answer: depends on the editor. One expects a ms back within 3 months, the other doesn't care how long it takes as long as it comes back good.)

I also asked about unpublished author's Internet presence: does it give the author an edge? (Answer: It's all about the writing!)

There are so many little questions I have that aren't answered on the Internet. I would love to pick an editor's brain for an hour.

T. Anne said...

I'm going to pray hard for the Lord to bless you big time next week! Where is the conference? I'm excited for you!