Query.Sign.Submit. with Jaye Robin Brown

Jaye Robin Brown

Jaye is a young adult author and her debut No Place to Fall releases from Harper Teen in fall 2014! She is represented by Alexandra Machinist of Janklow & Nesbit.

Connect with and learn more about Jaye . . .

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literary agent and author Now for Jaye’s insight on querying, signing with an agent, and going on submission!

QUERY

What are some important things for querying writers to consider when researching agents?

I’d say have a clear understanding of what you want and need. Are you someone that needs a once weekly check-in e-mail? Do you want someone pushing you editorially? Or do you just want someone to handle the business end of it and leave you alone with your writing? It’s important that your needs mesh with your agent’s style to insure a long and happy relationship together.

What resources and websites did you use when querying?

I loved Querytracker.net and it was well worth the $25 to upgrade. It kept me really sane (and a tad insane) as you could keep track of when agents were responding to queries. Also Literaryrambles.com was a great site to read agent interviews to get a feel for who you were querying.

What do you wish you’d known back when you were in the query trenches?

Not to query until your manuscript is truly ready. And to start small enough that if you receive nothing but standard rejections or no responses, you haven’t burned all your bridges and can head back to readers and revisions.

SIGN

Did you sign as a client of a career agent or on a book-by-book basis?

My agent’s agency contract is for book-by-book, however we have a verbal understanding that this is for my career. That being said, if I write a book she doesn’t think is up to par, she may not sign a new contract for that book. I trust her knowledge of the business, implicitly so I’m okay with that. But it also gives me some choice as well.

Once a writer has signed with an agent, what’s the next step?

In my case, it was to do a few minor revisions and then the waiting game. I didn’t want to know anything. I basically said, “Don’t call me till we have an offer or super good news.” Though I broke my own rule when my editor followed me on Twitter and I DM’ed my agent all blubbery and “whaa??, whaa?? OMG!”

Do you have input on the pitch to editors or does your agent take care of that?

My agent takes care of it, but I’m sure if I had strong feelings on how to approach she’d hear me out. That said, I’m in the writing business. She’s in the pitching business. And that’s why I have an agent!

Do you send sample chapters to your agent or do you wait until the manuscript is finished?

At this point I’ve done both. But my personal preference is full manuscript. Things change so much as I write that I’m not sure a partial would be an accurate representation of what I’m doing. Plus I pretty much always rewrite the first third of my book once I’ve gotten to know the characters a bit better. I don’t think it really matters to my agent. She’s savvy enough to deal with it either way :0).

SUBMIT

What is the next step if an editor shows interest?

In my case my editor got additional reads in her department. When those went well, it went to an editorial meeting where it passed once again, then on to acquisitions where marketing looked at sales projections, etc and gave it the go ahead. Then, offer! Then your agent negotiates. My particular case only took around 3 or 4 weeks, but I know this can be longer, or shorter if it’s an auction situation.

What do you suggest a writer does while out on submission?

Fahgitaboutit! Yeah, right. So, try to write. Always write. Writing is why you’re in this, the thing that keeps you sane, and the thing that will keep you on submission. Also do some fun stuff. Go see some movies. Have drinks with friends. I was at an SCBWI conference the day I was in acquisitions and if I’d not been surrounded by writer friends, I surely would have gone insane with the waiting.

Can you check in with your agent if there hasn’t been any news in a while?

Absolutely. But I’m also respectful of the fact that I’m not her only client. I don’t bug her and I try to wait to e-mail until I have several thoughts or questions to be addressed.

Thanks for joining us, Jaye!

See other Query. Sign. Submit. interviews
Read inspiring stories of writers getting agents
Find out about agent-judged contests

Posted December 2013

4 comments:

  1. Great interview! I love hearing about agent-client relationships and the acquisitions process :) Congrats to Jaye on her book!

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  2. Nice! I love reading posts like this that give me a good overview of what someone actually went through and learned through the process.

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  3. Always enjoy these. Thanks, and congrats again to Jaye.

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  4. Thank you all! And thanks Dee for the interview - this is a great series!

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