Every writers’ conference has a few panels designed to answer general questions on their area of expertise. Pennwriters featured two panels, one with agents and one with editors. I had to miss most of the editor panel to attend my pitch session(still clinging to hope on the requested submission), but I did scribble a few notes.
The editors attending were Leis Pederson, an associate editor at Berkley Publishing, Barbara Lalicki from HarperCollins Children and David Pomerico, an assistant editor at Del Ray Spectra.
Leis Pederson specializes in genre fiction including, romance, erotic romance, urban fantasy, women’s fiction, mysteries, thrillers and general fiction. Her biggest pet peeve with authors is the missing of deadlines.
Barbara Lalicki focuses on tween fiction which is books for 8 to 10 year old or 10-14 year old child. Barbara claims no particular pet peeve only a regret. She wishes she could spend more time wither her authors and have a more personal relationship with them.
David Pomerico wants to see traditional fantasy, dark fantasy, urban and contemporary fantasy. He also likes dystopian literature, near-future thrillers and quirky literary fiction as well as some nonfiction such as humor and sports.
Unfortunately, I had to leave the editor’s presentation after these few enlightening remarks. It is a given at writers’ conference that you can’t listen to every presentation.
The agent panel had some good tidbits for query letters. Alex Glass of Trident, Jenny Bent, Janet Reid and Emmanuelle Alspaugh sat at the head table and took questions. All four agents prefer e-queries and offered some input as to how it should be done. Each of these agents graciously gave other presentations throughout the conference and you can read about them in previous posts.
The three women chastised Alex Glass in front of the audience because he admitted he didn’t respond to queries if he wasn’t interested. He gave into their majority and said he would in the future but I wouldn’t count on it if you’re submitting something to him. Jenny Bent said her best quality for helping you succeed was her push personality. It sounds like a good thing for an agent to have.
Emmanuelle impressed the other agents and the audience by saying she would respond to a full within four weeks. Janet Reid advised you to be careful in you cut and paste on your query email. This can mess with the formatting especially is you use Gmail. Put space between your paragraphs.
Don’t include an address heading like you would on a regular letter and it is fine to use the agent’s first name. Janet gave the example of someone pasting a query to her and it had someone else’s name in the heading.
Make sure the agent you contact actually represents what you’re written and follow the submission guidelines found on their websites exactly.
Most of what was shared was common sense but reminders don’t hurt. Have you queried agents or editors who have never responded? What is the shortest time and longest time you’ve waited for a response?