Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Are You Asking Questions

We just had a great webinar yesterday with Joanne Grant talking about what editors and agents want. When we opened it up in the middle for a quick round of question and answers, at the beginning, things were really quiet. We brought up, however, that asking questions when given a chance is something authors should be doing, and yet often do not do.

I remember sitting in a room at an RWA Convention up here in Seattle and we had the standard editor/agent panel. When it was open for questions, there was nothing but crickets. No one said anything. Finally, it was just the editors and agents who started talking because frankly, it was uncomfortable to be sitting at that table and just staring at a very large ballroom full of authors just looking back at us.

Editors and agents are out there a lot trying to answer questions. Many have social media accounts where they openly tell people to ask questions. And if you are not, you are missing out on a great opportunity.

I also bring up the question of whether you are asking questions or not, based on many of the submissions we are seeing lately. It seems that so many authors out there rely solely on websites such as Query Tracker or USA Literary Agents. They have somehow come up with the belief that if they go there, it is one-stop shopping. You get a list of agents, you get their email address and a single line of what they represent. I should note, that it seems many authors ignore that line, or think it is just what they are interested in right now. Do they go to the website and do research? No. Do they do any additional research? No.

Now, I know that some authors admit that they do go and ask questions, but we run into another problem. They return to those sites and ask questions in DISCUSSION BOARDS. So who they hear from? People who have not gotten representation. They get nothing but people who complain that they did not get what they want. This should seem obvious though. Think of it this way. I am an author. I use the site and get the representation. Do I need to go to the site any more? Nope.

If you are just relying on what other people say, you will simply run into a lot of rejections because of misguided information. These sites are not trying to deceive, but it is not going to be all that you need to be successful. Take the time to do your research. Ask questions. Visit their websites. Do your own work!

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