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On Pondering....


Last night I twittered, "Finished a Full MS. Commence Pondering."

A few people replied, asking what that meant.

Whenver I finish a full manuscript, regardless of how much I love it, I try to spend a few hours (somtimes days, depending) thinking about it. I want to know that I'll feel strongly about it not just in that moment I read the last page, but that the feeling lingers, and the story stays with me, even after I'm done reading.

The first things I think about are revisions:

*How big would we need to go in revisions? Are the changes minor, or significant enough to request a "revise and resubmit?"

*Are the weak spots in the character, plot, or hook? How easily fixable is it?

Next, it's the market:

*Is this book hitting on a big trend? Or something that was a trend yesterday, and is now overdone? Or is it in a quieter spot in the market-- a niche or a literary book?

*How many editors do I know (without looking at my spreadsheet) who are dying for something like this? If I can think of at least five without even trying, that's a great sign.

*What other books are already out that deal with a similar subject/conflict/hook? How does this differ?

*Are there similar books (same paranormal creature, same time period, same something) that recently sold in Publisher's Marketplace? This can be good and bad-- good, if it shows interest in this type of book. Bad, if it is too simmilar or there are already multiple deals. An imprint that just bought a Boy-centric Steampunk Adventure won't want another one. Especially if they just shelled out BIG bucks for said boy centric steamppunk.

Next, it's the author:

*Do I know her already from being an author/networking? If so, what sort of personality and online presence does she have?

*If there are links in her query-- what does her blog/website say about her?

*What comes up in google?


The point here is to make sure that I have a strong project (hence the revision part of pondering) that is timely enough that I think I can sell it (hence the market part) and that it's written by an author I want to work with (hence the author part.)

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
brian_ohio
Jun. 29th, 2010 06:52 pm (UTC)
These are all great questions, many of them we, as authors, should be asking ourselves about our manuscripts and ourselves.

I'm curious, did you use the feminine 'she' because the novel you finished was written by a woman, or was it a Freudian slip, or the result of YA novels written mostly by women? ;-)
mandyhubbard
Jul. 2nd, 2010 04:03 pm (UTC)
I just used "SHE" becuase I tend to get more queries from women, and yes, the one I *JUST* was pondering about was a female.

Amazingly, though, of my clients, almost half are guys. Which is pretty unusual for agents in general as well as within YA.
sarahblackstock
Jun. 29th, 2010 08:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing! I love these little glimpses behind the scenes. These are the things you wonder about, but never have anyone to ask... Or maybe that's just me!
katyupperman
Jun. 29th, 2010 08:27 pm (UTC)
Great info! I'm always curious about an agent's thought process when considering a manuscript. Thanks for sharing :)
rabbithigh
Jun. 29th, 2010 10:46 pm (UTC)
I love seeing how you work, the questions you ask yourself as an agent!
And it's great because we writers learn from the questions :D Thank you!
ext_140782
Jun. 30th, 2010 02:27 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing, Mandy. We know an agent has to LOVE the book. Now we know there has to be more than that for you (and most agents)to sign a new client.
ext_238193
Jun. 30th, 2010 08:11 pm (UTC)
It's always great when writers can see what the thought process is for an agent or industry professional. Thanks for being devoted to being so honest.
(Deleted comment)
mandyhubbard
Jul. 2nd, 2010 04:02 pm (UTC)
You definitely don't HAVE to be a blogger, by any means. It's a nice bonus if you have a good following, but if there isn't any web presence, it won't change my mind.

It *WILL* change my mind if I find your blog and its filled with rants and unprofessional stuff.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
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