Query.Sign.Submit. with Roseanne Wells

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Roseanne represents adult, young adult, and select middle grade fiction, as well as nonfiction. See her guidelines for more specific interests.

She responds to queries that she’s interested in. When an author queries, they will receive an email stating the time frame for requesting more material. It can vary, but she tries to keep it to 8 weeks or less. If you have not heard from her by then, it’s a pass.

To connect with and learn more about Roseanne . . .

The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency
Twitter

literary agent and author

QUERY

How do you tackle your inbox? Do you go in order or jump around?

I go in the order that I receive them. If I see something that speaks to me, I will open it right away, but I try to read in submission order. I will occasionally scan them as a whole to look for junk mail and invites to LinkedIn or Twitter.

If the query sounds generic or familiar, I will usually skip down to the pages. But if the query is great, I get really excited to read more. Which is why reading the submission guidelines is so important! If those pages that I’m so excited about aren’t there, it’s an opportunity missed.

Is it okay for a writer to nudge concerning queries or partial/full requests?

I really appreciate a nudge with partials and fulls. I don’t request partials unless the material comes from a contest where partials are part of the guidelines. If I want to read beyond the pages with the query, I want to be able to read all the way through. I get frustrated when I want to read page 51, but it isn’t there! I won’t make it through every manuscript to the end, but I like having that option. Because I’m reading mostly fulls, and I try to give some feedback as to why I am passing, it takes a little more time.

I like knowing when you’ve received an offer of rep with queries, but it’s considered above and beyond in my book. I get irked when someone doesn’t tell me they have or accepted an offer when I have the full, but that doesn’t happen very often. With the amount of resources available, I find astute authors (such as your readers!) know the etiquette of submitting.

Do you ever offer a Revise & Resubmit? When would you do so?

I do offer Revise & Resubmits; I’ve gotten clients that way. I think it’s valuable to see your notes in action, and how well the author absorbed them and took them to heart. I mostly do R&Rs when the writing is really good, and the voice is there, but something isn’t quite working. I also do R&Rs when I want to see if our editorial styles will match. If I know it’s going to be an intensive edit from the start, I will look for the edits to be fruitful right away. If they aren’t, then it’s not a good match.

SIGN

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

I am looking for long-term, career authors. One of the most important questions when I offer is, “What are you working on right now? What is next?” I want to see that you have skill, stamina, and more than one story to tell.

What is the revision process like when you’re working with a client?

I call my editorial style problem-finding instead of problem-solving. I am the fresh eyes that the manuscript needs, and I will scout for the things that aren’t working, on a macro level (plot, character, pacing, overall appeal) and micro level (grammar, punctuation, word choice, etc). I will also suggest solutions to those problems, and the author and I will find the best solution together.

Do you want to see sample chapters as a client writes or do you prefer to wait until the manuscript is finished? Or is it up to the client?

I like to see manuscripts when they are finished. I also tell my clients that if they are having trouble with a section or chapter, send it and we can work it out together. I have clients who want the privacy to have a few drafts to themselves before showing me, a few clients who want to show me every single version, and some who want to work through some scenes and then show me. I try to adapt style to my client’s needs, so that we can get to the good stuff—the revision work!

SUBMIT

At what point might you suggest making more revisions?

When the author and I see a trend in the responses from editors, we start to consider making revisions. If several editors are naming the same reason for passing, they are giving us valuable information on where to start an edit to make the book stronger. If there’s no real consensus, then it’s more likely personal opinion or what works for that imprint/house.

What is the next step if an editor shows interest?

There are several steps between an editor’s interest and a deal. An editor will often ask for peer reads, so she can gauge how others feel about the project as well. Then s/he will get the book on the acquisition schedule, and then s/he presents the book to the acquisition meeting. This includes editing, marketing, publicity, and art departments, and sometimes production as well. They talk about the merits of the book, what markets/demographics it will appeal to, their profit and loss statements, how similar books have done for the imprint/house, how they will market it. If they think it will work, they present deal points. The agent and editor negotiate the deal points, and then the editor or contracts department sends the contract. The agent and editor/contracts person negotiates the contract, and then the deal is signed.

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

Write! I think one of the best solutions for submission anxiety is to work on other projects. Not the sequel to the book or the companion novella, but a different project. If it’s the next book we want to sell, great; if not, let’s discuss why. It can be an opportunity to start that next project, or working on craft, write in another genre, or work on articles or blog posts supporting the client’s work. What matters is that it helps the author feel in control by being productive, during a process that is out of their hands.

How much contact do you have with a client when he/she is out on submission? Do you send weekly updates or update as responses come in?

I send updates to clients as they come in, and I encourage clients to stay in touch if they are feeling nervous (and then get back to writing your no-anxiety project). I appreciate a check-in from clients, and if I feel like we haven’t talked in a while, I will send a no-news-but-how-are-you email. I think communication, even if there’s no news and you just want to send cat videos and talk about True Blood or Veronica Mars, is important.

Thank you, Roseanne!

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Posted October, 2014 – Always check for current info and guidelines.

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