April 4th, 2012
Top Five, Top Four, Top Three…Is There Anyone Left?

Over the past year I’ve been gathering names of agents to query. I am no longer looking for an agent to represent my adult work. I fully expect this to be a problem when I begin the query process, but I didn’t want it to stop me from preparing the YA. Well, I’m down to the last few steps, which means that soon (if I still want to sell my young adult to N.Y.) I am going to have to start querying.

My list of agents/agencies has been fluid since it started. Every time I think I have the top five/ten nailed down, I hear something about one of the agencies that freaks me out. Unfortunately, it happened again yesterday with my number two choice. &$#@ I know there was no guarantee that this particular agent would be interested in my YA, but it’s getting disheartening that people are being wiped off the list or dropped WAY lower before I even get the chance to query them.

I’m beginning to wonder if I should bother querying anyone this year (even though the book is done) or just let it be until next year. Wish I had the answer.

Anybody have a magic eightball?

10 comments to “Top Five, Top Four, Top Three…Is There Anyone Left?”

  1. My opinion is go for it now. From what you’ve written in the past, you’re really excited about your YA. Who knows what will be happening next year. You have provable name recognition sales right now that would be a real bargaining chip an agent can use at this very moment. You know more about this than I do that’s for sure, but can’t that one fact get you a lucrative advance? I’m not saying your sales are going to take a hit. It’s just from what I’ve learned about marketing lately, nothing can be put on the back burner. Okay… remember… you asked. 🙂

  2. Bernard, Thanks for the advice. 🙂 Not sure the ‘name recognition sales’ will be of much use, since I’ll be writing under another name for the YA.

    It’s ‘possible’ that my current e-sales could help me land a higher advance, but not likely given the change in name and the change in genre. When you make those kinds of changes, you have to prove yourself all over again. In this market, that’s hard for any author.

    About the only thing my publishing history will help with is getting me read. It’s a lot easier to get a publisher or an agent to read you, if you have some publishing history.

    And I appreciate your response. 🙂

  3. Tess Gerritsen and Nora Roberts did cross genre work without changing names, Jordan. I figured you’d already decided to keep your name for the YA crossover, especially considering your recent success. Since you aren’t, I wish you well. If you succeed, you’ll certainly be able to say you started from scratch. Although I’m sure listing your history will be a help getting read, I would think the publisher or agent would be more impressed with an established fan base. I read all genres as do many others. In any case, I hope it works out for you.

  4. Bernard, You’re absolutely right those women did a wonderful job of crossing over, even though Nora technically did change her name when she started the J.D. Robb series. Later, the name Nora Roberts was added to the series on the covers. Tess G. is still battling for respect after all these years because she started out writing romance. (You should read her blog sometime. It’s not been an easy road for her to keep her name.)

    No, I’d actually already decided just the opposite. That’s what I was trying to explain earlier. I am sure a publisher and an agent would love to tap into my built in readership. Makes perfect sense, unless the new work is polar opposite of that particular readership, which it is in my case. I am very well aware of the uphill battle I have ahead. I know it’s going to be ten times harder to build a new name in this marketplace than it would’ve been five years ago.

    I would have absolutely no problem keeping my name…IF I hadn’t started out in erotic romance. I’m not ashamed of what I’ve written. I still write spicy. These days my stuff is tame by comparison to much of the work getting published by N.Y. BUT, and it’s a big BUT, I don’t want my YA crossing over into my adult work. My adult work isn’t for kids. I don’t want kids seeing the name Jordan and thinking that the books are safe for them to read. This is especially the case since my YA is skewing younger.

    The book I’ve just finished editing (okay, so I still have five chapters left to edit 😉 is bordering on upper middle grade. My next two ideas feature leads in the 12 to 14 age range. I’m not writing YA’s for older teens at this point. I tried, but my voice is skewing WAY younger.

    It became readily apparent fairly quickly (by the third partial) that keeping the same name would be out of the question.

    If I wrote for older teens, I wouldn’t be as concerned. I’d probably still want to change my name, but it wouldn’t be as big a deal. Since I’m not interested in an agent representing my adult work, it seemed the easiest way to take care of both problems. 🙂

  5. I read Tess’s blog, although she’s steered clear of anything in a controversial nature since that troll thing she went through. We’ve e-mailed back and forth before. She’s a little sensitive about a few e-mails from fans of her mystery series getting upset over buying a romance book of hers from long ago. I told her say ‘sorry, read the excerpt next time’. She’s a NYT’s bestselling author with a TV series. How upset can your fan base be if you sell a million books just by putting your name on the cover. 🙂

    That voice thing in YA is a very interesting point. Even the younger range fans want some hint of romance in their novels. The older teen target also draws a larger adult audience. I started reading Edgar Rice Burroughs novels when I was nine, and what enthralled me then was rooting for the romance in the midst of an adventure. There may be a much wider ‘older teen’ paradigm than ever before with ages twelve and up. Voice is definitely something to consider.

  6. Bernard, Yes, well, some fan bases are very vocal. *ggg

    There’s a very big difference between having a romance thread in a book and having an erotic romance storyline. You know that. I haven’t read the Princess of Mars yet, but I doubt Mr. Burroughs went super erotic in that book. Like you, I read books way out of my age range, when I was thirteen/ fourteen. Those books had love scenes, but again, they weren’t graphic.

    I hope that older teens want to read my book, but I’m expecting 9-14 year olds to be my target market. Another thing I’m taking into consideration is the fact that my next two books/story ideas feature boys as the leads. One of those books is absolutely aimed at 8-13 year olds. The other will probably skew both younger and a little older, depending on the reader.

  7. LOL! I wasn’t hinting you can put an erotic love scene because I read ERB’s books, or that there is no difference. I was trying to back up my thought that a YA novel can be geared nowadays to a much wider range of teens that also appeals to adults if done carefully. That would put the target audience as YA but appeal to 12 and up.

  8. There was a lot of naked in the Barsoom books, although I think the sex was more hinted at than graphically described, left to (lurid) imaginings.

    Sorry about your agent search difficulties. I wish I had a magic 8 ball to consult myself.

  9. Bernard, LOL, I didn’t think that you were. I agree with you that some YA’s definitely can cross age ranges. I’m just not sure that the one that I just finished will have that kind of wide appeal. Perhaps as the series goes along that will change.

    I still think this particular book is going to skew younger. (i.e. 8/9 and up)

    My next book will probably have a broader appeal because it will have a much stronger fantasy element.

    I really do not want an agent involved with my current name. Unless they are selling foreign rights versions, there is no reason for me to split any monies with them. And even then, it’s doubtful.

  10. Charli, I have no doubt that naked was around, but I kinda figured that the actual sex would be implied or semi-offscreen. Certainly not as graphic as my books.

    Well, it’s not search difficulties as much as list difficulties. I’m getting tired of re-arranging the list. Makes me start to reconsider the agent hunt altogether.