Tag Archives: agents

Auctions: A Professional Critique of Your Manuscript

This is a Worldbuilders blog.

Last year, several publishing professionals donated their time and energy to Worldbuilders, offering to give unpublished novelists feedback on their manuscripts.

The response was wonderful. The auctions raised thousands of dollars for Worldbuilders, and a lot of people got good feedback on their books. It was one of those warm, fuzzy win-win situations.

So this year we’re doing it again. I’ve gathered a few professionals willing to donate their critiquing skills to the cause.

All auctions are starting at the price of one (1) penny. Personally, I think these would make great Christmas gifts for that hard-to-shop for writer in your life…

And remember, all the proceeds go to improving people’s lives all over the world with Heifer International. So bid lavishly and spread the word.

  • A read-and-critique of the first 20,000 words of your manuscript by Lindsay Ribar.
(Bam!)

Lindsay is assistant to Matt Bialer, my agent. That means she reads a *lot* of manuscripts and works intimately with the publishing world every day. What’s more, she does work as a freelance editor. In short, Lindsay knows about stories, what sells, and how the industry works.

What more could you ask for, really?

Here’s the official description of what she’s offering:

Lindsay Ribar (assistant to Matt Bialer, freelance editor) will read and evaluate the opening chapters of one manuscript (up to 20,000 words) within six weeks of submission. She will write a general evaluation of the book, with a focus on character, language, and story structure. Line- and copy-editing are not included. Representation is not a guarantee, but not out of the question either. Lindsay is open to editing all genres of fiction, but keep in mind that the bulk of her experience lies in the realm of YA, fantasy, SF, thrillers, and mysteries.

Interested? You can bid on the critique by Lindsay Ribar over here.

  • A read-and-critique of the first 100 pages of your manuscript by David Pomerico.

David is the sort of editor I would have loved to have read my manuscript and give me a few pointers back during the long years of rejection before my book was published. What’s more, he’s an absolute prince for donating his time and energy to Worldbuilders even though I don’t have the least bit of blackmail evidence to use against him.

The official description:

David Pomerico is an Assistant Editor at Del Rey Spectra, where he focuses primarily on traditional fantasy, urban fantasy, and dystopian and post-apocalyptic literature.  That’s not to say that he doesn’t know other genres (he claims to be something known as “well-read”), but that’s definitely where his interests lie.  He’s worked with a variety of authors, including Felix Gilman, Sarah Zettel, David J. Williams, Chris Wooding, Darin Bradley, and Ari Marmell, as well as being a part of the Star Wars publishing program at Del Rey.  He’s offering a detailed critique and commentary (but not a line edit) for the first 100 pages or so of your manuscript (double-spaced, please—and no margin shenanigans!), which he will get back to you within the first three months of 2011.  While he could possibly be blown away and want to make an offer on your book, this isn’t guaranteed (otherwise this might be a really pricey auction!)

Mailing details and contact with David will be set up following the auction.

Interested? You can bid on David’s critique over here.

  • A read-and-critique of the first 20,000 words of your manuscript by agent Matt Bialer.

Matt is my agent, and I wouldn’t trade him for his weight in gold. He helped me revise my book several times before we landed a publisher, and his help has been invaluable in revising my second book. He’s all kinds of smart, understands stories, and I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

You can get more of his professional information HERE.

Matt Bialer (literary agent) will read and evaluate the opening chapters of one manuscript (up to 20,000 words) within three months of submission, not including the last few weeks of December. He will read and critique, and help the author think about the issues that could be raised by editors at publishing houses. He will write a general evaluation of the book, both strengths and weaknesses, but line editing is NOT included. If the book is fantastic or has the potential to be fantastic then offering representation is not out of the question — but representation is not a guarantee.

Interested? You can bid on this critique from Matt Bialer over here.

  • A read-and-critique of your entire manuscript by Pat Rothfuss.

(Me.)

Man. It’s hard for me to do these promotional write-ups for myself. Let’s see…

Before I became a published writer, I was a teacher for five years. Before that, I was a writing tutor for nine years. So I know something about giving productive feedback on a piece of writing. I’ve read roughly ten thousand novels, and my first book, the Name of the Wind, is published or forthcoming in 30 languages.

I think about stories all the time and am obsessive about revision. I also have a soothing baritone voice, an IQ in the 160s, and the ability to steal any other mutant’s power just by touching them.

Ah hell… See? I can never take these things seriously. Just read the official description below for the details:

Patrick Rothfuss (international bestselling author, lover of women, and hirsute iconoclast) will read your manuscript and give you critical feedback. We’ll schedule this based on when your manuscript will be ready and my own schedular constraints.

I’ll read through your manuscript, scrawling notes and dirty words in the margins, then I’ll call you on the phone and we can discuss it. I won’t write you up a detailed critique because that’s not how I roll. But we’ll probably chat on the phone for a couple of hours discussing the various strengths and weaknesses of the book, your writing craft, and I’ll offer any suggestions I might have.

If I think your book is super-awesome, I might be willing to pass it along to someone. But be very aware that what you’re buying here is a critique, not a blurb or an introduction to the publishing world. A critique.

Interested? You can bid on the critique by Pat Rothfuss over here.

NOTE: All these auctions will be ending on December 3rd.

Time is limited, so if you know someone that might be interested in these auctions, I’d appreciate you spreading the word….

Don’t forget, there are hundreds of rare and signed books up for grabs in this year’s Worldbuilders fundraiser. For all the details, click here.

Posted in Worldbuilders 2010 | By Pat50 Responses

3 – 2 – 1 Contract

So for the last couple months we’ve been selling the foreign rights to the book. And by “we” I mean my agent and his compatriots. My contribution usually amounts to listening to the offer, then asking, “Is it a good offer?” They explain to me why it is, in fact, a good offer. Then I say, “Okay, let’s do it.” Yet another example of why it’s so important to have an agent you can trust.

More recently, the contracts have been coming in. It’s a new and exciting world of me not really knowing what the hell I’m doing. You know those reading comprehension tests you took back in high school where you had to read a passage and then answer a question? These contracts are like that, except instead of a low SAT score, I’m worried if I don’t pay attention someone will slide in some a clause that gives them the legal right to one of my testicles or something.

This is the most recent contract to show up, the Russian one….

I’m not exactly sure what they use for money over there. Rupees or something like that. Regular money would be nice so I could pay off my credit card debt, but once these contracts go through, I’ll be able to buy a better shield and stock up on arrows. If I have enough left over after I’m done with that, I might buy a blue potion, too. Just to be safe….

Later all,

pat

Posted in foreign happenings | By Pat11 Responses

Ask The Author #1: Agents


Hey Pat,

What’s the deal with having an agent? I know an editor edits you, but I’m fuzzy on agents.

More specificially, I suppose, I’m wondering if you have one, or if you just deal directly with your publisher?

Emmie.

I do have an agent, Emmie, but I also deal directly with the publishers.

The agent’s main job is finding the right publisher for your book and working out the financial details.

But there’s more to it than just bargaining. The agent is also your navigator. Your trusty native guide in a strange land. Their job is to know the publishing landscape. They know who is looking for what, how much they’re willing to pay, how good the editors are, how good the marketing is, etc etc etc.

Once the agent finds you a publisher, then you start a new relationship with the editor there. The editor’s main job is to work with you on your book. But they also act as your liaison with the publisher, that includes sales, marketing.

But sometimes an agent will help with the marketing too, helping you get author blurbs, etc. It’s not like your agent doesn’t care about you anymore, they still want you to sell as many copies as possible. The more money you make, the more they make. The better your current book sells, the more they can sell your next book for.

My agent gives me advice on editing my novel. I trust him because he knows the genre and because he’s given me good advice in the past. But that’s MY agent. Your agent might be a shark when it comes to bargaining, but know precisely dick about how to tell a story.

Honestly, each editor and agent is different. Some work well together, some don’t. Some will go to bat for you, some won’t. It’s a strange, chaotic thing, and it entirely depends on the individual people you’re talking about.

This I will say. I’m glad I got an agent first. Not only did he help me get my first offer, he also gave me advice so felt comfortable turning that first offer down. (And that was a little hard, I tell you.) I’m much happier where I am now (with Daw) than I would have been with that other publisher.

Also, it’s good to remember is that:

1) Your agent bargains for a living, so no matter how much of a dealmaker you are, they’re probably better. They’ll more than make up for the 15 percent they take out of your advance. Don’t begrudge them their cut.

2) By handling the money end of your business, the agent also helps keep your relationship with your editor friendly. Your agent is a pushy dick on your behalf, so you can come in later and just talk about the book.

Think how awful it would have to be to go in to negotiations hoping for a $10,000 advance, only to have the editor argue you down to half that. So you sign a contract for $5,000 and spend the next six months working with them, editing, promoting, all the while you’re seething about the fact that they screwed you out of the money you thought you were worth.

Just as bad, what if you pushed your editor up to $12,000 and then they carried a grudge against you? What if they decided to skimp on your promotion budget because of that? That’s not a good foundation for an editor/writer relationship.

All in all I really recommend getting an agent. But make sure you get a good one. Tim Powers once said to me, “Who you pick for an agent is just as important as who you decide to marry.”

It’s really true. That person will be representing you to the entire publishing world. If they’re like my wonderful agent, they’ll make you look good. But if you get a bad agent, you’ll look like an idiot by association.

The worst part is that it’s really hard for a new author to tell if their agent is bad. If your publisher screws up, your agent will tell you. If your publicist screws up, your agent will tell you. But if your agent screws up…. well…. they probably aren’t going to be very forthcoming about that…

So do some research before settling on an agent. It’s exciting to get your first offer, but remember, this is going to be a long term relationship. A first kiss is exciting, but you don’t necessarily want to get married because of it.

There are a couple good websites out there with advice about picking agents and editors. So I won’t repeat what they say, I’ll just point you in their direction.

Writers beware.

Editors and predators.

Pat

P.S. While I was writing this, my agent sent me the following e-mail:

“This is your last week as an unpublished author!!!!!! Congrats!!!!”

This reminds me of another important role that agents play. They help dispose of unwanted exclamation points.

I kid. What I really mean to say is that in the best of situations, your agent ends up being more than just a colleague or a co-worker. They make pretty good friends too.

Alright. I’m off to celebrate my final Saturday night of nobody status by eating a microwave burrito and watching some Anime.

Later.

Posted in Ask the Author, Fanmail Q + A, Things I didn't know about publishing | By Pat4 Responses
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