A small, intimate schmooze. A time to critique and talk about the business. We reviewed our experiences at Agent's Day/OC (on May 5th.) Consensus was that we loved ALL the agents. A few tidbits about each one:
- Tina Wexler, International Creative Management: A few books/clients: HERBERT'S WORMHOLE by Peter Nelson, AS IF BEING 12 3/4 ISN'T BAD ENOUGH, MY MOTHER IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT, by Donna Gephart. Extremely humble, approachable, and knowledgeable. She's looking for unique, middle grade fiction--interested in: tall tales, mysteries, contemporary coming of age, and adventure stories with boy appeal. Tina is looking for a manuscri[t that makes her "miss her subway stop."
- Stephen Barbara, Foundry Literary: A few books/Clients: DEAD IS THE NEW BLACK series by Marlene Perez, EMMY AND THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING RAT by Lynne Jonell. Stephen is looking for books for precocious children and immature adults, ages 5-40. He encourages his clients to write what they want to write--to follow their hearts, and is most excited about "following through" with a manuscript.
- Chris Richman, Firebrand: Would love to have worked on: The Percy Jackson series, Hunger Games, The Giver. Does not represent picture books, paranormal romance, high fantasy, or chick lit. But Chris loves humorous, commercial MG & YA. He's looking for a quick, concise, and completely original pitch through the online query process at Firebrand.
- Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. A few books/clients: STORY OF A GIRL, by Sara Zarr, WAKE, FADE by Lisa McMann. Michael in interested in developing an a author's career. He likes realistic fiction, paranormal romance, humor, original fantasy that appeal to boys. He encourages his authors to brand themselves and write 3 books in a similar genre before branching into something different. His goal is for his authors to have the best quality books-- a mix of commercial and literary.
Before critiquing, we discussed the best ways to approach and accept a critique:
- Put on your "armadillo suit." Thick layers of tough skin are a must!
- Don't be defensive, and refrain from trying to defend your work. Sit quietly, take detailed notes, and accept comments.
- Put aside the critique for a few days/weeks. Even if these comments outraged you at first, go back to it and try to absorb them. Try to see the comments objectively. Don't take it personally. Your manuscript is NOT you! Look for the positives.
- Ultimately, go with your gut. You are the author and you decide what changes you'll make. If you hear the same comment at least 3x, then it might be something you want to look at.
- Usually, your critiquer is trying to help you improve your manuscript. But as we know, art is subjective.
- Remember, when having your manuscript critiqued (by an agent or editor,) your goal should be to make your manuscript BETTER. And amazingly, that's usually what happens...if you're open to the critique.
Thank you to our brave writers who read their work aloud and allowed us to comment. We all learned a great deal, and had fun at the same time~
Happy writing, and hope to see you all at the National conference in August!