Monday, March 31, 2014

Agency Lessons: A bit of this and that

I've got a hodge-podge of a lesson today, but stick with me and I promise to make it worth your while.

Blogging from A to Z
A reminder that tomorrow starts the Blogging from A to Z challenge. I'll have new posts up every day this month (except for Sunday) with tips on Marketing from the Edge. This means there won't be any Agency Lesson posts in April, but they'll be back in May.

Reader Question
I got a great question the other day and I wanted to share my response here in case any of you are wondering the same thing.

Annonymous author writes:What are your thoughts on series/sequels? The plan is for me to tell my story in four MG/YA (I think it falls in between the two) books. I just wanted to know if you took on series before I sent you my idea.

My response:
First, you have to distinguish between MG & YA. They live on two completely different book shelves, cater to different readers, and have different requirements. Your series might start out as MG and move into YA (hey there, Harry Potter), but each book has to be one or the other.

Second, this first book MUST be able to stand on it's own. This is especially important for a debut author. Publishers are not keen to pick up a book knowing that they are almost obligated to buy the next books. It's okay to have a few loose threads, but your first book must have it's own stand alone plot line that is followed all the way through to completion. Using HP as an example, we are left not knowing what happened to Voldemort, but since that wasn't the focus of the book it doesn't matter. Harry needed to save the Sorcerer's Stone and he does. The traitor teacher is found and dealt with, end of story. So make sure any loose threads are unrelated to the core plot of the first book.

An invitation
Do you have a question you'd like me to answer? I love hearing from you guys, both in the comments and the private notes that you send me. If you have a question about marketing, publishing or just books in general, please feel free to ask in the comments or send me an email at SarahNegovetich (at) Chances are, you aren't the only one with the same question.

On that same subject, I've heard from so many of you about how much you enjoyed the DIY Blog Tour series this past November. This tickles me to no end. I'm always glad to hear that readers find helpful information here. So I'm working on a secret project as a follow up to the DIY Blog Tour. That's all the details I can share right now, but I'm really excited about it and can't wait to tell you more.

Also, I'm planning another series for this summer focusing on social media and platform. Right now I'm looking at July, barring anything crazy going down between now and then.

One last completely unrelated note. This May I'll be attending the DFW Writer's Conference. I am beyond excited to work with this awesome group. Rumor has it this is quickly becoming a must attend conference. If my own attendance isn't enough to draw you there, Donald Maass will be there. Is it kosher for an agent to fangirl over another agent? Who cares, I love Donald Maass.

Tomorrow is the last day to get regular registration costs. After April first, registration goes up from $345 to $390. Still a reasonable price for such a great event, but go ahead and register now to save $45.

And that's all. I feel like I just committed the world's worst info dump, but I hope there's enough fun info in there that you'll forgive my writing sin. See you all tomorrow for the A to Z kick-off!


  1. So geared up for April!

    I guess, since you invited us to ask, I have a bit of a 'well, sorry to tell you...' question, that being how I imagine your answer will have to begin, but... I'm hoping, in some of your posts in April, you might touch on the marketing of anthologies. There are SO many out there, and they're a hard sell to begin with, but it seems to be the stepping stones for a lot of indie authors, and my group puts them out annually (we just have no one in our membership who really understands marketing, whoops...) I'd love to hear your thoughts. :)

    Alex Hurst, fantasy author in Japan, participating in Blogging A-Z April Challenge.

    1. Alex, I don't have anything in April that's specifically for anthologies, though I think a lot of the ideas could be applied to them. I'll put this on the calendar and definitely get something set for May to give anthologies a little marketing love. Great suggestion!

  2. Agents unanimously want a standalone first book in a series and never want the rest of series already written because editors may want big changes to that first book that will make the others unusable -- yet I've seen countless writers work on a series anyway. They invariably end up self-pubbing, and their books don't sell. I'll never understand why people flout the "rules" and take the easy way out.

    1. I don't care if an author wants to write the next books in the series, so long as they understand that those books may never get pitched (if the first book doesn't sell) and may have to be completely rewritten (due to any publisher changes to the first book). I understand that sometime you just have to write a book to get it out of your head and move on to something else.

  3. I love series, but I think I'm leaning more an more toward standalone books lately.

    I'm so excited for your April posts, Sarah! I have my notebook and pen ready! :)

    1. I love a series as much as the next nerd, but I've been trying to pick up stand alone books for my own reading time. I just can't keep all the details straight in my head so by the time the second or third books come out, I don't remember what happened in the first one.

  4. April is a busy month! I'm doing the AtoZ Challenge as well as Camp Nano. What was I thinking? Lol..

    1. Yeah, me too. I've got my project outlined and I've got a draft of each of my April posts so I don't go completely crazy. I'm guaranteed to go at least a little crazy. Good luck!


Share the love, man...