letters from the query wars

# of queries read this week: 158
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 0
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: n/a

It seems like every week someone responds to a rejection by arguing that if I only read their book, I would see I was making the wrong decision. Frequently, it seems this person has not taken advantage of the fact that our submission guidelines allow for the first five pages to be sent with the query (note: pasted into the email, no attachments). But on the occasion that they have, their contention seems to fall into either “five pages isn’t enough” or “those aren’t the best five pages.”

I’m a reader. I was a reader long before I was an agent. So please believe me when I say that it’s one of my favorite aspects of being an agent. However, there are only so many hours in the day and, though it pains me greatly, many of them are taken up by other unavoidable tasks. This year I’ve already responded to over 3200 queries. Naturally, I couldn’t ask for a submission on each and every one. I’d have to read around 35 books per business day, and not just casually but with a critical eye. And that doesn’t even include manuscripts from clients I already have. How many books do you read a day? A week? I’m sure some of you will make me envious if you answer that question….

It might not actually feel like five pages are enough to make an assessment. But isn’t that the same thing that happens with readers/consumers? They walk into the bookstore, pick up the book and read the back-cover which has a pitch (like a query has) and then flip it open and read the first couple pages to decide if they want to take it home.

As for the five pages… A couple things go through my mind when I get a query that doesn’t include the five pages. First, that the submitter didn’t take even a few minutes to see if they could find out anything more about me or the agency. Both our official site and my own site mention the query letter, synopsis and first five pages guideline. I find it particularly peculiar when they mention reading the website (or this blog), but still don’t include the five pages. Then I wonder if possibly they just aren’t that confident about the five pages and think it will be a detriment to getting a request. Of course, since I would end up reading those first five pages if that were the case, that theory doesn’t seem to hold water. I’m stumped. Since so many writers seem to be campaigning to be able to submit more materials to hook the agents, I just can’t figure out why someone wouldn’t take advantage of it. What do you think?

Happy long weekend. May you read something good!

53 responses to “letters from the query wars

  1. When browsing in a bookstore, I look at the writing on a random page in the middle, because I know the first five are worked on so intensely that they’re often not a good indication of what’s inside.
    But then again, I’m pretty strange. And I read a max of three pages, so five is generous by my standards. Asking for the first five pages is the least arbitrary way I can think for you to handle this — what other range would you ask for, the last five? Pages 6-10? Pages 46 to 50?
    The practice of wanting the first five pages is very instructive for first-time writers like myself, who can be prone to concentrate on what they think of as “the exciting part” of the story and dismiss everything that comes before as “setup” or “exposition”: “I admit the book is slow for the first 50 pages, but wow is it ever worth it when you get past there!” That does no good if the reader never reaches page 50, so that’s not a good way for an author to amass a following. If you want most people who read your first book to be watching for your second, you have to have a strong opening.
    Anyone who doesn’t send you the five pages is either hamstringing themselves by choice, or just not paying attention.

    • I picked up a book from the shelf whilst waiting for the grocery pharmacy to open. I am not quite sure where I put it down — sometime in the first 10-15 pages, I think it was. The premise was interesting, and I was drawn in and cared about what happened to the characters… until the author didn’t let the viewpoint character read the letter that her husband wrote to her before his death… when said death was apparently a year or two after his reported death.
      The artificial “oh, I’ll read it later” made me close it and put it away…
      So… Yes, those first few pages are very useful for readers who don’t want spoilers!
      I wonder how many “read past the first 50 pages” authors are thinking of some of the (so-called) classics they (were forced to) read in school. Moby Dick lost both me and my English teacher on the chapter about all the different kinds of fish/whales. (I don’t know why we didn’t just skip that chapter to see if the next one was okay. I think our brains were numbed by all the whales.)

    • I’m like you: I read middle pages of a book to see if I want to buy it.
      I figure if an author’s writing is so engaging that I become interested in the story/characters without having any idea what’s going on, then it will be a good book indeed.
      I can, however, completely understand why this wouldn’t be a good model for an agent or editor.
      If nothing else, by the time I’m picking up a book and looking in the middle, it has already been gone over by at least three sets of eyes besides the author. Not so with a submitted manuscript.

  2. Those five pages are why I’m terrified to query anyone. It seems to be a common submission guideline, and the problem is not the pages themselves, but how to include them! A graphic novel just doesn’t have pages that can be pasted into an e-mail or web form… they’re images, and e-mail programs read them as attachments. With so many agents clearly preferring e-queries, this makes it very difficult to query without looking like I ignored the no-attachments, no external links rule.

    • I think in a case like that you can include a link to the first five pages in an online portfolio, or ask if you may forward the first five pages as a jpg/pdf. If an agent likes your query, they may make an exception.

  3. Speaking as a slow reader with not much time to dedicate to the task, if I’m not hooked right off the bat, I’m on to the next book. (In fact, I gave up on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone twice before my husband, in frustration, read it out loud to me until we got through the boring beginning.) So, yes, I concur that expecting to know whether you want to read the whole book or not based on the first five pages is eminently reasonable.

  4. “…and then flip it open and read the first couple pages to decide if they want to take it home.”
    Heh, I don’t even read that much. I look at the pretty pictures on the cover, scan the back cover, read the first paragraph, open it up about halfway and read one or two sentences. If it doesn’t grab me by then, back it goes on the shelf! 😛

    • I’m the same way. We tend to judge a book by its cover. =P
      Anyway, in response, it’s most likely just plain and simple that they aren’t paying attention. The first five pages seem to be important, because as it’s been said, we as authors need to be able to hook the reader within the first SENTENCE, let alone the first five pages. So you are giving them an opportunity to ‘woo’ you with their writing and they aren’t taking it. Is is a shame, but they seem to just be oblivious.

    • I’m just the opposite. I gave up reading covers when the primary incident in several stories was “spoiled” in the cover blubs. These days–for fiction anyway–I read new stuff by my existing favorite authors, recommendations by those authors, and recommendations by friends who know my taste in books. That keeps me busy enough. I can’t remember the last time I picked up a random novel and decided to buy it.

      • I HATE that! I cannot read the cover flaps, they give WAY too much away. I read the first paragraph. In fact, if the first sentence isn’t awesome, I put it back. I’m a tough cookie.

    • I go for the most appealing covers too.
      It does seem from what I see that people judge books by their covers potentially more than some art departments appear to think they do. It’s a shame, because I’ve read some good books with poor covers and I wonder how many people (including myself) have passed over a good book because it doesn’t have a visually attractive cover.
      Given the cover is the first Port-of-Call for a reader in the bookstore, just as the query is so for the agent, it’s always a shame when it’s not the best it can be. That said, I’ve picked up older books with new covers that I’d passed on before, simply because they didn’t stand out the first time.
      On that note about reading internal pages (which I definitely do :D) rather than the first few; I’ve seen it done on a couple of books at our local Borders where they have a sticker on the cover recommending a random page to flick to. Seems like someone’s caught on ;D

      • Listopia
        There’s a list on GoodReads.com for best book cover art, and it has some of the worst book covers I’ve ever seen. It looks like a lot of covers were added to the list based on the popularity of the books.

  5. I agree; five pages is generous. I never get that far in a bookstore.
    I have a question, though: When do you stop reading? Do you read at least the first page? Or do you stop after the first paragraph if you don’t like it right away? I can see reading all five if you’re on the fence (or hooked), but surely you don’t read everyone’s five, do you?
    P.S. I love your ‘Query Wars’ section. Thanks for doing it!

  6. You can’t teach them as won’t learn, as my dear old gran used to say 🙂

    • I agree. There’s no rationalizing why a person wouldn’t take advantage of an opportunity they claim means everything to them.
      On the reading front, I’m halfway through Kelly Link’s Pretty Monsters. Good Stuff and funny!

  7. You are exactly right about the first five pages, as I’m sure you know. If a writer can’t grab your attention in the first five (or more realistically one or two) pages, it doesn’t matter if they are followed by 550 of the best-written pages on the planet, their book won’t sell. It sucks for people who can’t put together a catchy first five pages, but that’s life.

    • Actually, as I recall, Heinlein once wrote that you realistically have about half of one page to grab the editor. If the editor isn’t motivated to flip to the next page, you lose.
      You should consider asking for *fewer* pages. 🙂

      • Hehehe, How about “Please query with your single best sentence”? It would cause most querists to collapse in a puddle of second-guessing. Could do wonders for cutting down on the backlog of submissions. 🙂

        • edited to fix html
          I could totally query on my single best sentence.
          (I admit, I very carefully tweedled my first five pages to end on my Single Best Sentence… after I got smart and axed the original first chapter. Which was, alas, after very reasonably bounced the query. *facepalm* It was a chapter I needed to write, to put world and character and backstory into my head. But was then a chapter I needed to cut.)

        • “But *all* of my sentences are the best! If you’ll just read all 800 pages of my novella, you’ll totally see!”

  8. I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of sending an agent a rebuttal to her rejection. The process of researching and submitting to agents is exhausting enough for me. I don’t have any energy left to argue.

  9. That ‘5 pages isn’t enough’ logic always makes me laugh. It’s a lot like people telling me ‘read book X – beginning 50 pages suck but it GETS good.’ Hey man, it’s either good or it isn’t. If you are querying with 5 pages that suck, you need to rethink what you are doing.

  10. I think you are correct. If you allow the pages, I don’t see why someone wouldn’t take advantage of it. I certainly did. Heck, I’d send my full manuscript if your guidelines had said I could. @=)
    Of course, after I read your blog, I had to double-check my sent mail. I had a sudden need to make sure I hadn’t accidently hit send without pasting in the pages. Maybe that’s the problem? Their paste isn’t working properly or they hit the enter key and the mail sends before they’re ready? If this were the case, though, I’d expect they’d immediately send a followup email with an apology and the proper query.
    Unless they are truly not paying attention.

  11. I used to say, if someone read my novel, then I would have a chance to prove myself. Sadly, I did get a chance to submit the entire novel and you know what…? I didn’t get published from it. A lot can be done in five pages, it is just sometimes hard to get those five pages to be so fantastic that they can only be responded to by a query for more.
    I’ve experience a lot about that, and I know now, that the entire book won’t get you anything if the first five (ten, twenty) pages can’t.

  12. I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t include the five pages with their query. I sure did when I queried you recently. I appreciate agents that allow for any part of the manuscript to be sent with the query. It makes me feel like, if I do get a rejection, at least that work got a fair chance. And five pages is more than fair. It’s more than I read sometimes when determining what to buy at the bookstore. Some people just take rejection hard and try to find any excuse that will make them feel better (hence the reason if you read more pages you’d still probably get comments like “but if only you’d read to page fifty-two instead of just page fifty, you’d see that’s where it really takes off.”

  13. First pages
    I agree that if the first 5 pages don’t “hook” you and “reel you in” then you won’t be interested. The legendary editor Bennett Cerf was once castigated by an author for not reading his entire manuscript. Cerf replied–“One does not need to eat the whole egg to know that it’s rotten.”

  14. Maybe they forgot to attach the pages because they were nervous? I have no idea… I’m with you on this. I’m a picky reader and I’ll read the back of a book and maybe the first three pages. If I’m not sure I might flip the book to the middle and check for language and content.
    Nine times out of ten, I pass on books. But when I find a new author I love, I usually buy everything they write.
    Re: Book Reading
    I average a book a day. A new book goes faster and I can polish off the average paperback in a couple of hours. Books I’m rereading wind up in random piles around the house, laying around until I sit down near them and pick up where I left off. Doing that, I might be reading three or four random books at the same time. A chapter here and a chapter there.
    That’s no good for critiquing though. When I’m shredding a friend’s rough draft I can spend anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour on one chapter.

  15. I usually average a book a day if I’m on track with my work (which is not at the moment *shh*). As for including pages; I’m echoing the disbelief! I know I appreciate every opportunity I can have to prove myself.
    Since we’re talking first couple of pages in a manuscript and submissions, I have a question I’ve been curious of. The dreaded prologue. If one should exist and an agent asks for the first five pages, I’m going to assume that to be literal and therefore inclusive of the prologue. But what if an agent asks for the first chapter? Is a prologue, in industry terms, a chapter? Or is it considered a prefix to the main body of the manuscript in the instance it appears?

  16. Each page needs something!
    Someone once said, (and I cannot recall who, it might have been Stephen king), that there has to be something on every page that will forward the story in some way or at least have that “special” spark of interest to catch the readers attention and ensure they want to read on. This is besides the correct formatting, spelling sentence structuring and well written prose.
    If the first five pages have all this. Then along with the query and the synopsis, you should have a good chance of catching the agents eye. (Providing of course that you have ensured they work with the genre you have submitted. What I’m trying to say is this: It doesn’t matter if the story starts off slow or those five pages are not as riveting as some further along in the manuscript, as long as that “special” something is still in each page.
    Oh! And don’t ask me to define “that special something” I don’t think it’s possible.

  17. There is a book published here in Poland
    from a well-known author that has terrible first 20 or so pages. I’ve borrowed it from a friend and could not get through first five pages. I was told, that after I get through those pages it gets really nice. My answer? I don’t care. I can’t force myself through the beginning for a promise of something good, when there are so many good books out there.
    I’d say it’s the same for any submissions. As a reader I give 5-10 pages chance for a book and maybe slightly more for comics (a chapter-two depending on the pace). I don’t see why an agent should do it differently.

  18. Why? It means that I still have a long way to go until I get properly published. It defines a goal. Even after I came up with that, I still submit novels to places, I still write, I just try harder because I’m not “all that”.
    It was a great disillusionment. It got rid of the idea that I was somehow a “great” writer, but no one gave me the chance. Instead, it reminded me that I’m a good writer. I still have a chance of being a great writer, I just have to work hard for it.
    And I consider that encouraging.

  19. Submissions guidelines seem to be an increasing issue lately. I’m so sorry you had to read someone who didn’t pay attention to your guidelines, its a waste of your time and all the other writers who did follow the guidelines! As for the first five pages, if that writer would have read ‘The First Five Pages’ by Noah Lukeman they would know why agents can accurately judge a book within the first five pages! -HeatherM

  20. Suicide rate going up is obviously a bad thing, but I think the publishing world would be a lot better off if more writers hung it up. Computers have not been good to the industry. The reason editors could read slush in the old days was because everyone who didn’t know how to type, or didn’t have the patience to retype, was automatically out of the submission pool.

  21. The five page thing is tricky and not ideal, but it is understandable and better than the no pages submission.
    Of course five pages is not enough to judge a book. As a reader I know some books wow me straight off, but then other books take some work, and I don’t think that is a bad thing. I will choose a book because I know and like the author, because it is in a genre I like, because the author has a reputation, because it is something in a subject area I want to read, or just to give something different a go. Quite often the books that are outside my usual area of choice or take that bit of effort really repay it double or triple. I would never have read Don Winslow but I wanted to read present tense and discovered a fantastic writer in the process.
    As for managing five shiny pages that is actually no guarantee that the whole story/experience will be as great. I think Miss Snark’s query thingies (though they were shorter) proved that pretty conclusively. Also I’ve read openings that pulled out all the stops and then been really disappointed when what followed fell flat.
    As for arguing with the agent (or an editor), there simply is no point, don’t waste the energy! Perhaps the agent is right, perhaps they are wrong, time will tell. Just get on with writing and submitting. After years and years I’ve worked that the only thing you really have to have is a skin tougher than a rhinoceros and endless optimism!

  22. Okay–first rule of submitting: no arguing with the agent! (Or editor, for that matter.) Who doesn’t know this yet?
    I rewrote my first 5 pages over and over. And over. Submitted to RWA contests and got good feedback and editing some more. When I am in the library or bookstore, those first 5 pages either hook me or I put the book back. Why shouldn’t my first 5 pages be expected to be that good?

  23. Five pages…
    ….certainly aren’t enough to judge a book, but they are enough for a trained agent to judge a person’s writing. From what I hear, in five pages, most agents can separate the contenders from the pretenders. Doesn’t at all mean that the book is publishable, but it does let the agent know whether the author is worth their time.

  24. The first five can often be the worst. If a story is just getting going the first five can be the dull setup part. It’s like the movies have conditioned us to expect a major explosion or dramatic event in that opening sequence of any form of fiction. The first five are not necessarily the pages that a prospective reader is going to read when checking out a book.
    Also, what ends up happening is that the author will polish the first five and the rest will slide. If the agents wanted random pages that they specified on a daily or weekly basis that might be a better test. Of course, they’d have to keep track of the required pages from week to week, which would suck.

  25. Regardless of what I once thought, five pages is usually enough to ascertain the quality of a novel; I’ve put down novels after reading the first page.

  26. TBR pile
    I just realized I have one! When my books were published, the bookstores wouldn’t stock it, so I started a bookstore of my own for the purpose. Since then I stock all the books my publisher makes, for those who don’t read fantasy (there are some readers like that, go figure). I try to read all of them so I can direct my customers to the genre that suits them (the authors and titles are all unknown, like me), and I realized that there are at least 14 books i haven’t read yet!!! Since I just finished Galbraith’s The Great Crash:1929, I have time to fill.
    When not writing the third book in my series, that is.

  27. This may be a mute point!!!!
    The following was one of the headlines today:
    ‘The number of print-on-demand titles published in the US has exceeded the number of traditional books produced for the first time ever, according to bibliographic data provider Bowker.
    US title output in 2008 decreased by 3.2%, with 275,232 new titles and editions, down from the 284,370 titles that were published in 2007. By contrast, Bowker projects that 285,394 ‘on demand’ books were produced last year, a 132% increase over last year’s final total of 123,276 titles. It is the second consecutive year of triple-digit growth in this sector, driven by the huge rise in self-publishing’.
    People have been forced into self publishing or the now popular POD publishing, for many reasons. One main reason being that traditional publishers are only willing to look at a manuscript if it’s going to make them money. (This is obvious because they are in business and I don’t begrudge this). But it is for this very reason that even many of our great authors have had to fork out their own money or borrow from friends to get their book out to the reading public and onto the shelves. (Tolkien comes to mind).
    I know my comments should address the topic of arguing with agents and about the elusive first five pages, but if this trend keeps its momentum you may not have to worry about this discussion at all!
    Jennifer,perhaps this could be a discussion for your next query wars blog statement? Could I please pose the first question?
    If this trend continues, why can’t an agent like yourself read the up and coming authors, query, synopsis and five pages, and then, if the author is hell bent on publishing (even if you know the manuscript might not see the light of day through the traditional publishing route for a multitude of reasons), tell them so, and suggest self publishing? Of course you have to really think they might have a chance, and the manuscript is good.
    If self publishers had some support in writing, or even a contract of some description from agents, then their books would have a better chance of getting onto the book shelf in main stream book sellers. This type of action would of course place the final nail in the traditional publishers coffin, but hey, the dinosaurs had their day!
    All I’m saying is that times and technology are changing. Half those self published books out there may be substandard, or they may not. I’m trying to suggest that traditional publishing may have had its day and a new hybrid might emerge if a savvy agent or publisher had the foresight to take the advantage in this era of change.
    Final word! I’m intending to go down the tradition route with my manuscript, but in truth, if after two years (maybe less)I keep getting rejection letters that tell me, “Great book, good read, but not quite what I feel would make it”. Then I will start considering self publishing. Who wouldn’t! And this is what’s going to kill the traditional book publishers and maybe the agents as well.
    Chris Ballantyne.

    • Re: This may be a mute point!!!!
      There’s not much incentive for literary agents to split their finite time even further developing a whole new area of expertise. Not unless the average self-publishing title outsells the average self-published one.
      Note the difference between that and the statistics you cited, which didn’t say anything about the profit or loss from this triple-digit increase of new self-published books. Floods of new titles that all sell poorly change absolutely nothing in the “traditional” publishing market — it merely creates a new, entirely separate market, centered around an entirely separate kind of transaction: books that make money from the writer rather than the reader.
      Self-publishing’s a good route for many non-fiction books, and I can’t speak for the non-fiction market. But as far as fiction goes, the traditional book publishers aren’t in the slightest bit of danger from writers deciding self-publish, because that’s the supply side of the equation, and a shortage in supply is the last problem in the world they’d ever have. And traditional publishers certainly don’t depend on writers for their dollars. Traditional publishers could only be put into danger from the demand side: that is, if the book-buying public decided to start buying more self-published fiction books (and the movie industry started buying the rights to more self-published fiction). I see no indication of that happening.
      Believe me, no one would be happier than me to see it easier to get new fiction published. But the demand for fiction books is falling (note the 3.2% decrease you cite) — check out ANY industry where demand is falling, and guess what? Selling’s tough! The prospect of self-publishers changing that is wishful thinking.

      • Re: This may be a mute point!!!!
        Argh, made an error. My last post’s second sentence should read: “Not unless the average self-publishing title outsells the average traditionally published one.”

  28. Then I wonder if possibly they just aren’t that confident about the five pages and think it will be a detriment to getting a request. Of course, since I would end up reading those first five pages if that were the case, that theory doesn’t seem to hold water.
    Do you get many queries to which you say ‘yes’ and then never hear from them again? Maybe they DO have a crisis of confidence….

  29. 5 pages
    I guess I’m a very critical reader because almost nothing grabs me in the first five pages. Some of my favorite books didn’t really have me hooked until two or three chapters in. I’m reading one of Grisham’s latest now, 166 pgs. in and I’m still not hooked. But it’s Grisham so I figure there’s got to be something there, eventually. Right?
    Seriously, the first five pages of a manuscript is barely enough space to introduce a protagonist and that’s more than most of the books on the shelf manage to do. My own writing is extremely fast paced. In 100k words I usually have enough action for two or three novels from big-name writers, and yet I can’t even give you a taste of my writing in five pages. In fact, anyone who reads fantasy should know that the setting and back story often take as much space as the plot itself. This will be interspersed and well-timed if done correctly, but the first five pages? Well I guess it’s a foot in the door so to speak. I’m not sure that it’s really any better than just reading the summary and deciding if it’s an interesting premise, and then requesting three chapters.
    This is not meant to be critical of agents and editors, its just an issue of modern business models -not only in publishing, but across most industries. For decades -since the end of the depression- we’ve expected to increase productivity with a smaller workforce and greater profits year over year without rest. Eventually, if you push a system far enough, it will break. In other words, I think the American business model is broken. We’re now wringing water from stone. With modern technologies like the PC and word processor, more publishable material is almost certainly being written than ever. That’s more material than ever competing for less of an agent’s time and less space in a publisher’s agenda; and all of that supposedly being managed by a smaller than ever workforce! Did I just hear a beam cracking? No, couldn’t be. A house of cards doesn’t have beams.

  30. It’s moot not mute
    It’s a moot point not a mute point.

    • Re: It’s moot not mute
      Is everyone more likely to make fundamental spelling and grammar errors when posting on LJ blogs? Or is it just me?
      I spent years as a professional proofreader, for crying out loud, and for some reason my spelling and grammar turns atrocious on these blogs!! Am I just nervous because they’re blogs that belong to agents? Or is it just that I tend to post here late at night?
      Anyone else experience this?

  31. I just know that page six would have sealed the deal. Five pages? Not quite there….

  32. Mute not Moot
    Perhaps the point was relatively silent….

  33. Submissions
    I kept having issues with my first 5 pages. It had a lot of action in it, but my problem is I tend to expand on my characters too much- and that takes away from the plot.
    I love that there are agents out there who ask for the first five pages though. I haven’t quite figured out how to write my hook yet (the bane of my existance- this hook) I could barely get my book under 110,000 words let alone sum it up in one sentence. Arrr!! (the reason I’m not querying like a mad woman) But at least during those trial queries I got to show off a strong part of my book.
    If you don’t have a strong beginning to your book you’ll never get the reader to move forward to your other scenes no matter how great. That’s why I continued to plug away. Cut more- that’s what I’d been told- good advice too, my first chapter use to be three times as large as it is now… scary really.
    But really, I’m new to this and understand that you have to research where your sending your queries. Why wouldn’t someone want to send their first five pages if they can? I don’t get it.
    Justine Hedman

  34. First five pages
    I have to agree with the first five page rule. There are books that look great when you read the back and then you start reading and it sooooooo boring. It’s like the writer had a minimum word goal and couldn’t fill it with actual story line so they go on and on about the scenery. I really don’t care to read two pages full of scenery descriptions. The first page should grab you into a story. I also understand that sometimes you have to build and it takes the first chapter. I am in the process of working on a book to submit to you, but I have to write the first chapter in a different order so that you’ll get a better view of the story. I want it to grab the reader and real them in. If I can real the expert in then it’s a grand slam.

  35. How many books do you read a day? A week?
    Maybe the question is how many books COULD I read in a day or a week vs. how many could I give an honest response to in a day or a week? In my shutdown modes, which have not happened for a long time, I have read 6 books in a day; BUT that is speed reading and there was no real depth to the books. AND I didn’t have to respond back to the writers with any kind of critique. So it’s okay to make the writer work for it.

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