Manuscript Wishlist Update: Fall 2015

I haven’t updated everyone on my wishlist in awhile. There have been some recent changes. I am no longer signing up or working on children’s book projects (picture books to YA); I will be focusing my efforts on adult fiction and non fiction.

Currently Seeking:

  • Smart Book Club Fiction
  • Women’s Fiction
  • Upmarket Adult Fiction
  • Commercial Adult Fiction
  • Literary Mystery & Thrillers
  • Historical Fiction
  • Contemporary Romance
  • Pop Science and Pop Psychology
  • Cookbooks
  • Unique Memoirs
  • Lifestyle Non-Fiction: health, nutrition, relationships, parenting, lifestyle
  • Narrative Non-Fiction
  • Platform Based Non-Fiction: must have demonstrable expertise and a quantifiable market

Currently NOT Seeking:

  • Picture Books
  • Middle Grade
  • Young Adult
  • Science Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Poetry
  • Screenplays

Some of my top recent reads:

  • The Admissions by Meg Mitchell Moore
  • The Underwriting by Michelle Miller
  • Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  • Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford
  • A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan
  • Bennington Girls are Easy by Charlotte Silver
  • Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
  • Friendship by Emily Gould
  • Days of Awe by Lauren Fox
  • Among the Ten Thousand Things by Julia Pierpoint
  • So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
  • I’ll Drink To That by Betty Halbreich
  • The Long Hello by Cathie Borrie

Please send your material with my name and your book title in the subject heading to query(at)psliterary(dot)com.

“The Call” Reversed: What agents like to know about potential authors

contract signingAuthors are usually busy studying up for “the call” (an agent reaching out via phone to offer representation) when they know it’s on the horizon. It’s an exciting time for authors and agents! Resources are everywhere and there are many great guides to “the call” including these:

However, what about the flip side? What do agents like to know about writers when we offer?

What agents like to know about potential fiction authors:

  • What are you working on next?
  • How long does it take you to write a draft?
  • Who are some of your favorite authors?
  • What kind of support are you looking for?
  • What has been your path to publishing? Agented before? Published before?
  • How do you workshop your work? Critique group?
  • Where do your ideas come from?
  • What is your day job? And what does your writing schedule look like?
  • What are some of your career goals and expectations?
  • How many other agents are looking at the manuscript?
  • Do my editorial notes match your vision for the book?
  • How do you feel about social media?

Why I want to know these things:

This is a sample of some of the questions I like to know answers to when I’m getting to know a potential author. Some of the most important things are that we share the same vision for this book and your career, and that we have similar taste in books we read for fun. I like to know that writers have a strong work ethic and a writing group they work with so I’m not the sole provider of feedback. I want to know about your publishing history even if it’s not clean and tidy–often it isn’t. I like to know your patterns like how fast you write and when you write, plus the best time to get in contact with you.

Is it about the answers?

You don’t need “perfect” answers to these questions. It’s nothing you can study for. At the end of the day we want to work with writers who we get along with, whose work we love and feel passionate about, who have a career path that we feel we can assist in, and who trust us.

That call is about both of us deciding we’re a fit. Just because you get an offer doesn’t mean you have to take it. 

Q: What have you been asked on “the call” or hope to be asked?

Further reading:

7 ways to make yourself an easy author to work with

Workshop: Literary and Upmarket Commercial Fiction

Backspace is hosting great workshops this fall! Check out my multi-agent workshop on literary and upmarket commercial fiction October 19 to 23.

This week-long conference session includes:

  • A query letter workshop with 6-10 students and 2 literary agents
  • An opening 2 pages workshop with the same 6-10 students and 2 different literary agents
  • A 2-day interactive panel discussion and Q&A with all 4 agents
  • Full access to the Backspace Writers Conference video archives
  • A PDF copy of The Science of Rejection Letters: A Step-By-Step Guide to Analyze Rejection Letters in Order to Improve Your Writing & Get Published by Jeff Kleinman

Don’t miss this great event!

Sign up today!

How it works:

Monday: Students post introductions to their workshop group in a private discussion forum.

“I always feel that authors are so focused on the editor-agent thing that they forget about the people sitting right next to them, the other writers who could actually be of huge assistance to them. Your business is writing, so make a connection with the writers.” — Jeff Kleinman, Folio Literary Management

Tuesday 2:00 P.M. EST: Query letter workshop with 6-10 students and 2 literary agents held via conference call. (Approximately 2 hours)

Wednesday 2:00 P.M. EST: Opening 2 pages workshop with same 6-10 students and 2 different agents held via conference call. (Approximately 3 hours)

“Everybody who does these conferences is a pretty nice person, so just talk. Know what your book is about, be able to discuss it concisely and passionately. And then be ready to listen, to hear the questions the agent asks, be ready to respond concisely and passionately.”Jeff Kleinman, Folio Literary Management

PLEASE NOTE: Conference calls are recorded. If a student is unable to join the call at the scheduled time, a literary agent’s intern or assistant will read the student’s pages for them, and the student can listen to the discussion later. Alternatively, if a student can attend only a portion of the call, let us know and we’ll make sure your pages are scheduled to be read while you’re in attendance.

Thursday-Friday: Interactive panel discussion in which agents answer questions from students in the private discussion forum. Students also discuss among themselves what they’ve learned throughout the week by posting questions and comments to the group, or by private message.

Questions? Check our FAQ for students or the FAQ for faculty members, or contact conference organizers Christopher Graham or Karen Dionne at You may also telephone Chris at 732-267-6449.

5 Steps to Internet (and IRL) Safety and Privacy for Writers

There are many ways to think about internet safety, but with the fall publishing season book launches coming up I wanted to take the time to share my thoughts about staying safe when you’re used to interacting on the web. I consider safety physical or intellectual.

I definitely think everyone clearly knows how dangerous the web can be, but sometimes we all think we’re immune to it and take risks when we don’t know we’re doing so. It’s the thing that happens to *someone else* not us.

5 Steps to Internet (and IRL) Safety and Privacy for Writers:

Tweet or post when you’re leaving somewhere, not when you’re getting there. DM the people you’re meeting up with at the book launch instead of broadcasting it to the world. Instead of tweeting on the way to an event, why not tweet after you’ve gathered your thoughts and maybe taken a picture or two? If you are going to post in real time, don’t take pictures from the same location all night. It seems silly, but if you’re prone to over-sharing make sure you’re keeping people on their toes.

Think twice about geo-tagging. (This is when your location is attached to your social media post.) Especially if you pair it with photos. It’s easy for anyone to connect the dots if you’re posting every day or multiple times per day. When in doubt (like me), follow tip 1: geo-tag after you’ve left. I don’t need to recount all the horror stories about geo-tagging for you to get my point. Don’t forsake safety for social currency.

Check your settings. Do you know your privacy settings on all your devices? Believe it or not uploading from your phone vs. uploading on your computer require different privacy settings on Facebook. Knowledge is power. Don’t regret things later; get ahead of your privacy issues and learn where you might have cracks.

Keep your book ideas close to your chest. One of writers’ big worry is that someone will steal their idea. Journalists know to keep their stories to themselves, so writers need to think carefully about this too. If you’re doing book research keep it to private messages and open ended social media questions. I’m not saying people will steal anything, but why give yourself the opportunity to worry? Share your ideas with people you trust: writing circles, agents, and editors. Ideas also change; slow down on blogging through the details of your latest book. Give yourself freedom to make changes and add a little bit of mystery.

Remember: the trolls only win if you feed them. The internet breeds animosity. There are many opinions out there, some of which it’s hard to agree with. It’s tempting to fight back at the trolls, but all it will do is make you mad. It’s hard to change anyone’s mind, especially when you add in limited characters and a social platform. Internet fights can follow you around for a long time. Not all of us will get our Twitter spats featured in major news outlets, but blogs live on–and bloggers don’t have to fact check. It’s best to let things breeze by. No one wants to be Googled and found that their online fight has followed them around for years.


I love social media for the way it brings us together, but be wary about your privacy. Most book publishing people are great people! But social media is available to everyone.

Your life belongs to you, not the web. So be careful about what you decide to share. Privacy is important and you control the message. Even if you’re not thinking “privacy” at the time of posting, remember that people can connect the dots across social media platforms and days or weeks at a time. Patterns are there whether they’re intentional or not.

Lastly, if you’re into Cons, or all things amazing, grab Sam Maggs’s book FANGIRL’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY where there is information about staying safe at big fan events.

Q: What do you think about when you’re planning your internet safety as a writer?