call for ideas

With everything that’s going on, I keep finding myself stuck when I sit down to work on an idea for my next RTB column. It’s due Friday. Ah, the irony of an agent being blocked on something like this. In any case, I thought I’d ask for suggestions as to potential topics. It doesn’t have to be related to the romance genre, though I’m sure they’d consider that a plus. It could just be about anything an agent could elaborate on in a useful way. So, any ideas? What do people really want to hear about from me?

21 responses to “call for ideas

  1. You’ve probably done this before, but the 7 things to surely not get you to do what I (a writer) want would be interesting to know.
    Yeah, that probably has been done time and time again.
    Good luck anyhow.

  2. Maybe, romance versus reality? As in, the writer’s own romance and how different writers can handle it effectively…?
    Nah. I got nothing.

  3. I see a lot of articles out there about how to find an agent, how to query, etc. What I don’t see much of at all is anything on ‘How to keep a good agent once you’ve found one’ — there definitely seem to be people out there who manage to find agents, but then have unrealistic expectations about how that agent-author relationship is going to work.
    Just my 2 cents…

  4. Maybe how “It’s not your fault I don’t want to represent you” is really, truly, the truth. You could talk about things you passed on that went on to be published, and how it’s not personal.

  5. How about what an agent does for the author? I’d be interested in the process you go through to sell a book for the author.

  6. I’m currently mulling my own entry for Storytellers (due, ulp, Wednesday, I think), so am running low on ideas, but how about the responsibility (or lack thereof) of the agent to keep the writer from being his/her own worst enemy?
    (or, failing that, “Amusing Author/Editor Interactions I’ve Had to Referee”)

  7. Could you talk about career-building for writers? Not the obvious stuff like ‘be professional, deliver on time, be prepared to edit your darlings’ but questions like ‘should I try to write for a particular line’ or ‘I write both romance and fantasy, should I concentrate on one field first,’ placement of books with small presses or as paperbacks only. And for anyone outside the US, there is the eternal question of whether to try and get published at home (Britain, Canada, Australia…) or to go for the American market and an American agent as a default.

    • This would be a cool subject. I for one would love to know the ins and outs of writing for more than one genre. I’ve got a finished Science Fiction/Mystery that could end up being a series, plans for a fantasy trilogy and the beginnings of a mystery/suspense and a romantic suspense novel.
      Which do I write first? What do I concentrate on? Which genre is doing the best right now?

  8. If not for your article could you answer for me anyway?
    I am writing a large book (estimated 285K), and I am constantly told that it is to large, and as a first time submitter that it will not get picked up. Is this true? It is the genre fantasy. What are the basic lengths for novels and can first time writters get away with writing large than average books?

  9. How do you keep up with the romance genre? If we read all those books, you’d never get any work done (and we authors wouldn’t either). But just reading the tip sheets doesn’t seem to be enough.

  10. Pros and cons of writing in multiple genres (from the standpoint of the author’s career).
    For example, I’m nearing completion on a mainstream novel, am about half-way finished with a science fiction novel, and have outlines for two romances (and not even the same style of romance). And, yes, I love buffets. 🙂

  11. How about what you look for in a good synopsis? Or else something about where the border is between modern romance and chick lit? Or what makes a viable cross-genre story (such as the Luna line?) Lately I’ve read so much SF that’s billed as YA, or as romance, when it doesn’t seem appreciably more young or romantic than other stuff published as straight SF, that I could imagine a lot of authors aren’t clear on just where their stuff might fit.

  12. What to expect when you’re expecting…er, anticipating.
    Like a timeline of what goes on in the process, from receipt of query to confirmation of representation to sale?

  13. One I am deeply interested in, and also probably a culprit of breaking, is what boundaries do we place in our digital lives with respect to professional relationships? The internet seems to blur lines of professionalism sometimes, and thanks to the blogoshpere many people (self included) are now intertwined with the personal lives of others whereas previously this has not been the case. I can sit behind this screen and produce a little wit and snark in bigname_editor/author/agent’s blog on occaision, because I’m protected by a couple of satellites and a few thousand miles of cabling. But is that a no-no? The kiss of death for some people? It’s not always apparent where the boundaries are here. (where is here btw?!)
    It’s obvious to me that tomorrow when I turn out a query letter that I put the professional hat back on. Then again, I’ve learned to switch hats from many years in the military—maybe not so transparent to some people? I guess to make a long query short: how about a little netiquette in the age of the blog?

  14. how about the place of cross-genre works? The received wisdom is that they’re bad, but imagine Jennifer Crusie without the murder mystery side of things. What makes cross genre books work from an agent’s point of view?

  15. Translation of decline letters…what you think they mean, what yours mean when you don’t have time to be more personal. I think we writers spend far too much time trying to understand the meaning behind seven word sentences.

  16. Slightly snarky ‘cuase I read RTB regularly:
    Something with a clear beginning, middle and end? Mostly the end. Several of the column just trail off. Just want something with a point at the end.
    Your columns, of course, don’t suffer from this, but it was the first thing that popped into my head when you mentioned RTB. So take others suggestiosn for what to write about.

  17. There’s a lot of information on the Net about exactly what agents want in a query letter and synopsis and so on. Do you feel that most of it is accurate and relevant for all agents? If so, it’s probably not column-worthy. If not, though, it would be very interesting to know some of the ways in which individual agents differ.

  18. I think you may have already done this, but: What does your day look like? How many words per day do you read? How on earth do agent people manage to have a personal life? How do you manage to have the most awesome client list of all time? Did you plan that, or do they get together behind your back and do mind-melds or something?

  19. Not a suggestion
    Just saw mention of your 3-book deal for Butcher in “Publisher’s Lunch”. Congrats!

  20. You might write about how you compose a rocking rejection
    I’m not the one who submitted –I just visited and read about how even your form rejections are thoughtful. I do know how true it is that a “good” rejection letter can make the day the bad news arrives a lot less miserable.
    Kate Rothwell

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