2018 MSWL

Subway Girls_Final CoverI’m open to queries again and here’s the wishlist:

  • Upmarket, structurally interesting, sweeping love stories of all kinds. I’d truly love a LGBTQ in the vein of ONE DAY or THE VERSIONS OF US. Something like a more commercial PAYING GUESTS (which I loved, but I’m not interested in capital L literary fiction right now).
  • Historical novels where plot & setting have to work together i.e. NIGHTINGALE, ARCADIA, GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND. I’m not interested in writers using historical novels to tell me how much research they’ve done. I want a very plotty historical. Beatriz Williams-esque.
  • Multi POV, time slip or dual past/present narrative structure women’s fiction, historical, domestic suspense, or upmarket like THE ALICE NETWORK, THE SUBWAY GIRLS.
  • Literary mysteries/suspense/thrillers with female lead i.e. DARK PLACES, YOU WILL KNOW ME, THE FEVER, THE POWER
  • Still looking at domestic suspense, and psychological thrillers. The stakes are high and competitive out there so I’m not looking for something that is overcomplicated and trying to out-do what’s on the market. I’m looking for excellent, simple (which is so much harder!), spooky/creepy writing.
  • Plot-driven story of marriage, complicated family drama, or mother/daughter relationships i.e. THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS, EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU, MATING FOR LIFE, MODERN LOVERS, THE NEST, SHE REGRETS NOTHING, THE PEOPLE WE HATE AT THE WEDDING
  • Coming-of-age anything! i.e. THE TWELVE LIVES OF SAMUEL HAWLEY, YONAHLOSSEE RIDING CAMP, AFTER HER, THE SECRETS OF LAKE ROAD, THE GIRLS, HISTORY OF WOLVES, GIRLS ON FIRE, AGE OF MIRACLES, YOU WILL KNOW ME
  • Would love an East/West Germany or Berlin Wall historical with a romantic hook. Something sweeping and heartbreaking.
  • I’ve been fascinated by this actual event for a decade. Looking for a historical women’s fiction/book club book about garment district’s 1911 shirtwaist fire tragedy.
  • Accessible, smart, heartbreaking love stories: THE VERSIONS OF US, FOREVER INTERRUPTED, ONE DAY
  • Commercial “Millennial” novels: i.e. STARTUP, THE HATING GAME, THE ASSISTANTS, THE KNOCKOFF, THE REGULARS. Starting careers, moving to new cities, friendships etc.
  • Family secrets & single events that chance the course of many lives i.e. COMMONWEALTH, ONE DAY, VERSIONS OF US, ATONEMENT
  • #ownvoices, sweet, funny, family-centric love stories i.e. JANE THE VIRGIN, AYESH AT LAST
  • Non fiction: parenting, feminism, health, wellness, business, essay collections—from individuals with large platforms (bloggers, YouTube, newsletters etc)

Submission directions here.

2018 Client Projects

There are some talented writers (mine!) with gorgeous books coming out (below!) that you can order or pre-order right now.

Andrea Dunlop’s SHE REGRETS NOTHING (Atria/Simon and Schuster, 2018)

Named a “Must-Read” by Town & Country * Elite Daily InStyle

“The love child of Gossip Girl and Crazy Rich Asians, plus the social climbing of a Gatsby party.” —Refinery29

SHE REGRETS NOTHING

Ross Benes’s TURNED ON (Sourcebooks, 2018)

A gripping exploration of the relationship between sex and our society, with a foreword by bestselling author A.J. Jacobs

TurnedOn_101117_CVR

Cara Sue Achterberg’s ANOTHER GOOD DOG (Pegasus Books, 2018)

A warm and entertaining memoir about what happens when you foster fifty dogs in less than two years―and how the dogs save you as much as you save them.

Another Good Dog Cover

Susie Orman Schnall’s THE SUBWAY GIRLS (St. Martin’s/Macmillan, 2018)

“Schnall has written a book that is smart and timely…Feels perfect for fans of Beatriz Williams and Liza Klaussmann.” ―Taylor Jenkins Reid, acclaimed author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

“A fast-paced, clever novel filled with romantic possibilities, high-stakes decisions, and harsh realities. Perfect for fans of Fiona Davis’s The Dollhouse, this engrossing tale highlights the role that ambition, sexism, and true love will forever play in women’s lives.” ―Amy Poeppel, author of Small Admissions

Subway Girls_Final Cover

Karen Katchur’s RIVER BODIES (Thomas & Mercer/Amazon, Fall 2018)

“Karen Katchur’s River Bodies has it all: a horrific murder, mysteries resurrected from the past, a story line packed with tension, and vivid characters to bring it all to life. A riveting thriller that suspense readers will love.” — Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author

cover Karen Katchur RIVER BODIES .jpg

Anne T. Donahue’s NOBODY CARES (ECW Press, Fall 2018)

From the author of the popular newsletter That’s What She SaidNobody Cares is a frank, funny personal essay collection about work, failure, feminism, and the messy business of being alive in your twenties and thirties.

nobody cares

Meg Myers Morgan’s EVERYTHING IS NEGOTIABLE (Seal Press/Hachette, Fall 2018)

Surprising ways we limit ourselves and our happiness, and how to challenge the internalized wisdom and circular thinking that holds us back.

9781580057899

Lindsay Wong’s THE WOO-WOO (Arsenal Pulp Press, Fall 2018)

In this jaw-dropping, darkly comedic memoir, a young woman comes of age in a dysfunctional Asian family who blame their woes on ghosts and demons when they should really be on anti-psychotic meds.

9781551527369_woowoo

 

 

Closing Down The Blog

 

Hi everyone, it’s been a great 6 years of blogging, but it’s time to end the party.

My advice to all writers regarding social media and blogging is that if you can’t post consistently with new content then it’s not worth it–and I’m taking my advice! I will leave it up so that you can still read the articles for information.

Thank you to my 3,000 blog followers–and 80,000 visitors a year!– for engaging with me and asking great questions.

Here are some of my top posts from over the years:

On comparison to other writers

On where your book begins

On Instagram

On characters

On category and genre

On querying

On personalizing your query to agents

On your first page

Did you have any favorite posts over the years? Let me know in the comments.

Moving forward, I’m taking the energy I was using on blogging and spending it on my other social platforms. Come follow me over there!
Instagram / Twitter / Tumblr

 

 

 

5 Reasons for “Quick Pass” on a Query Letter

Agents do inhale query letters. We get 1,000’s a year and go through them periodically; usually consuming them in batches of 20-100’s at a time. I try to read them once or twice a month.

Your query letter is my first encounter with you. It doesn’t have to be “perfect” (I mean that!), but it does have to convince me why I need to read your writing, get lost in your voice, and why this particular story matters more than the others.

Your query letter is the first opportunity to engage me and show me how you’re a storyteller no matter the medium. Storytellers can write a novel and explain it in a few paragraphs–they have to.

FIVE REASONS FOR A QUICK PASS:

  1. Novel that’s under 70k or over 110k. Storytellers know how long it takes to tell a story and a novel-length project requires a certain depth of story.
  2. Wordy descriptions that are better suited for a synopsis than a pitch. No need to show off. Use plain language that shows your voice and range.
  3. Inaccurate or wildly inflated comparative titles. You don’t have to use the title du jour or name every bestseller (I assure you, this doesn’t wow us); instead, pick comp titles that are successful but not ubiquitous.
  4. Lack of core conflict. If you can’t tell me what your book is actually ABOUT then we have a problem. Storytellers can distill because they start from the main question of the plot and work backwards.
  5. Picked the wrong agent. Information floats around the web and often gets attributed incorrectly. Always go back to an agent’s website or blog for the most accurate information.

Next time you’re crafting your query think about what agents need to know and why. From those 80,000 words, extract a hook that shows me you can tell a story in 350 words–or 350 pages. That’s your job.

Your query letter tells me what kind of storyteller you’re going to be and I want to work with writers who understand the difference between writing and storytelling. Anyone can write, but not everyone can be a true storyteller.