I play tennis at the same place every Friday night and I’m lucky enough to have a little group of fans who love The Energy Crusades. They’ve made a fan page on Instagram and now I’ve been interviewed by the lovely Julianna. It was fun and I love how there is tennis being played behind me during the interview.
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.