Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Pass Or Pages Lessons

Guys, I love Pass Or Pages. I learn so much every time, both from the behind-the-scenes stuff I do and what you guys see on the blog. The agents that participate in Pass Or Pages aren't compensated in any way except the satisfaction of helping people write better queries, and the possibility of finding a gem in our entries. Agents aren't the bad guy gatekeepers. They love authors, and books, and want to help those books find homes. I love working with them to bring this contest to you. I also love all those that entered. You are brave, and I admire you.

Here's what I learned this time around:

  • At least three entrants misspelled the title of their book when filling out our form. Guys, precision is key when entering a contest: It's like practicing querying for real. So I guess what I learned is that while typos may not be the end-all-be-all, they do create a first impression. Spoiler alert: It is not a good one.

  • At least one person who I critiqued through Tuesday Museday entered, and I could see how much their query improved from the first time I saw it. I'm not saying it was my feedback; I am saying that in general, feedback works and you CAN improve. How great is that!?

  • Every time we do this, I relearn the lesson that taste is subjective. What one person thinks is boring or overdone, another person will think is clever and fun. You MUST query widely to improve your odds of finding the right person to champion your work.

  • There are clear differences between MG and YA, and trying to blend the two doesn't seem to work. Know the differences between the categories, and use them as you write to help define your work.

  • Similarly, don't make an agent have to work to figure out what genre your work is in. If it's contemporary, fantasy, mystery, whatever--make it clear.


Unknown said...

I am paranoid about writing out any of my titles for that exact reason. When I was querying agents, I was also concerned with spelling their name correctly. :)

Anonymous said...

Eagerly awaiting the next Pass or Pages that I can participate in!

Anonymous said...

I knew tastes in writing were subjective but, man.... one says this query is outstanding, one says it's terrible; one says opener works, one says opener should be cut. No wonder writers drink!