In September, I became an Associate Literary Agent at Donaghy Literary Group. I won’t go into my journey of how I got there, but I will say it was a lot of hard work, and a heck of a lot of reading.
When I opened for queries, I thought “who the heck will query me, I’m so new?”. Ha ha! Little did I know I would receive hundreds of queries in my first month, and they keep rolling in. Consider my query statistics (yes, I keep a spreadsheet of queries):
- Number of queries read in September: 220; Date reached in query box: September 6th
- Number of queries read in October: 289; Date reached in query box: September 22nd
- Number of queries read in November (so far): 159; Date reached in query box: October 3rd
These staggering numbers prompted me to close to queries in order to catch up. “But you just opened!” you might say. Yes, I just opened, but I cannot physically read any faster and these numbers do not include the submissions I have piling up as well. Of the 600 plus queries I’ve read, I’ve requested about 70 manuscripts. That’s a little better than 10% of the queries read. I know what it’s like to query agents, to wait for responses, to hope hope hope. I do my very best to be timely, believe me I do. The query box is never far from my mind.
For the most part, I am extremely impressed with the quality of queries and the accomplishments of the authors seeking representation. But, if you’ve had the pleasure of being in the same room with me while reading queries, you’ve heard my frustrated sighs, my fits of yelling, or the slam of my hand on the desk.
Why? Here are some reasons:
- Author does not mention name of book, genre, or word count
- I continually get queries in a genre I do not represent
- Author fails to mention they are already self-published
- Query is incomplete or contains attachments
- Author does not give their name or sign their query (this happens WAY more than it should)
I came back from lunch the other day to find this message waiting for me:
- Sports played: None
- Involved in drama/ theater at her high school
- Last book read: Love the One You’re With, by Emily Giffin chosen because she read another book, Something Borrowed, by the same author and thought it was “amazing”.
- Last movie watched in the theaters: The Fault in Our Stars
- Favorite Restaurant: K’ya Bistro
- Favorite place to shop: Farmer’s Market
- Favorite Band/ Musician: Maroon 5
Miranda chose to review The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green (book version). Miranda’s review was short and to the point. She liked the author’s objective perspective on cancer, but disliked how the book felt unsentimental at the beginning of the story. She gave the book 5/5 stars and will definitely read more by this author.
My next guest for Teen Beat Thursday is Myles, a 13 year old from Southern California:
- He just started 8th grade
- Plays football on a team
- Also loves to skate and surf
- Last book read: The Red Pyramid, by Rick Riordan
- Last movie watched in the theater: Earth To Echo
- Favorite Restaurant: Kobe Steakhouse
- Favorite place to shop: Active
Myles chose to review The Red Pyramid:
Myles says he hates to read but had 4 days to finish a reading assignment for school. He had to choose a book and the book had to be worth 25 points. The Red Pyramid was the only book on his list worth that many points, so he chose it by default. However, he ended up liking it because it got him an A in reading and he loved the way the narrative switched with each chapter. The only thing he disliked about it was that it was a book and he had to read it. When I asked how many stars out of 5 he would give it, he made no hesitation when saying 5 (maybe he likes to read a little?). He says he’ll keep me posted on the books he has to read this year.
Teen Beat Thursday continues with Erika, an 18 year old from Florida. WAIT A MINUTE!! Today is Erika’s birthday and she is 19!!! Here is a bit about this young dynamo:
- College student, studying criminal justice and hopes to be a private investigator
- Played soccer in high school and now on a club team
- Her favorite things to do are: read, go to the beach, fish, listen to music
- Last Book read: Looking for Alaska by John Green
- Last movie watched in the theaters: Into The Storm
- Favorite Restaurant: Salvo’s Seafood in Louisiana
- Favorite place to shop: Changes from time to time but currently, Cotton On because they have really good deals right now
- Favorite music: depends on mood, but mainly Country
Erika chose to review Looking for Alaska, by John Green, a book she picked up after having read his book The Fault in our Stars. Here is her review in her own words:
Summary (from Amazon):
Winner of the Michael L. Printz Award An ALA Best Book for Young Adults An ALA Quick Pick A Los Angeles Times 2005 Book Prize Finalist A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age A 2005 Booklist Editor’s Choice A 2005 School Library Journal Best Book of the Year Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . . After. Nothing is ever the same.
What I liked:
I liked how the book itself was written. It’s about a boy who didn’t know anything about friendship, love, loyalty, and how to break the rules. All of which changed when he fell in love with a girl named Alaska when he moved away to boarding school. Its also about not knowing what could happen at anytime and that the inevitable is bound to happen at any given moment. This book to me just made me realize about growing up and finding love and friendships with others that you never thought would be there. I also like how this book took an unexpected turned, but I also disliked that turn at the same time. Any great novel has to have some type of unexpected twist to make you want to read more. But once I finished this book by John Green I decided to go out and read some of his other novels, and I haven’t been disappointed by any of his books so far.
What I disliked (SPOILER ALERT):
There’s nothing I really disliked with this book. I guess the part that I didn’t like the most was that Alaska died once Miles kissed her and decided that he was going to tell her he loved her. I did want Alaska and Miles to be together and that’s why this part of the book would be something I disliked. But at the same time, I understand that this plot twist was needed for the book. And like I said, I didn’t really dislike these parts, I just didn’t expect these sorts of things to happen. My heart was broken when Alaska died and how Miles and Chip took the news. This book builds you up into thinking one thing will happen, and then breaks you down when something you didn’t even think was bound to happen, happens.
Out of 5 stars I would probably give it 4.5/5 just because he did a surprising plot twist but without the death of Alaska I don’t think the book would have been as good if it was a happily ever after. This plot twist did break my heart but it also goes to show that you shouldn’t leave anything unsaid because you never know what’s going to happen.
I am fascinated by teenagers and what makes them tick. I especially love the awkwardness of the age group– the in-between stage bridging childhood and teen-dom. Is it any wonder that these two top my favorite teenagers list?
In honor of these enigmatic creatures, I decided to introduce a series of posts called Teen Beat Thursdays. My requirements are simple: fill out a brief questionnaire and chose something to review (book, movie, tv show, restaurant, etc).
First to return the questionnaire and review was Sophia, a 16 year old from California, about to enter her junior year of high school. A little about Sophia:
- Plays tennis on the Varsity team for her high school
- Auditioned for and made Advanced Drama for the upcoming school year
- Studies French
- Last Book read: Fallen, by Lauren Kate
- Last movie watched in the theaters: Lucy
- Favorite Restaurant: King’s Fish House
- Favorite Place to Shop: Free People
Sophia chose to review Fallen, By Lauren Kate. Here is her review, in her own words, lightly edited:
What attracted me to this book: I picked this up at Barnes and Noble because I thought the cover looked interesting and I wanted to know more about the story. After I read the description on the back I was all in.
Modern day seventeen-year-old Lucinda (Luce) Price is suspected of the murder of her prom date her junior year and is sent to a boarding reform school in Savannah, Georgia. She doesn’t remember committing any of the crimes people are accusing her of doing. Her new evil, Sword and Cross reform school built during the civil war era is dull and ancient until she sees Daniel Grigory. Even after his rude introduction, she’s drawn to him like a “moth to a flame.” Even though there is Cam, the super handsome and reliable bad boy craving her attention, she still can’t get Daniel out of her head. Little does she know Daniel is hiding a huge secret, and they’ve met many times before. How will Luce get the answers she wants from someone as stubborn and uninterested as Daniel?
What I liked about the book:
I loved an abundance of things about this book. I’ve always found myself a little attracted to the darkness and unusual ideas (for me at least) about religion or concepts on life. This novel is the perfect dark romance for this generation. Yes, it may have your typical forbidden romance with two adolescent males fighting for the same pretentious, timid, helpless girl, but who doesn’t love a good love triangle? What girl wouldn’t want to be fought for over two hot fallen angels like Daniel Grigory and Cam Briel? I’m a huge history freak myself, (it’s my favorite subject) so two lovers meeting again and again throughout the ages is a complete page-turner for me.
What I didn’t like about the book:
There’s not much to dislike about the book unless you’re a complete stubborn skeptic. However, there are a few things about the novel I wasn’t a huge fan of.
Don’t get me wrong, I always love a good villain. But, my name is Sophia and the main villain in the story is their trusted teacher, Miss Sophia. Also, I didn’t like how Daniel would take Luce away from whatever she was doing and leave her within a short amount of time all by herself. Leaving her in random places like the woods to just figure out the way back.
I also don’t really like how strong Cam comes on to Luce. I’ve never known a guy that acted that way, so it’s a little unbelievable. It can also be quite irritating at some parts because it completely interrupts the plot.
This book is definitely one of my favorites. With a wicked imagination, you will get swept up in a thrilling fantasy world you could only dream of. To me, this book is 4 out of 5 stars.