Looking ahead, and back
If it's not too far from this newsletter's brief, I'd be interested in knowing what's changed for agents these last four years:
1. Did you get a deluge of covid novels you're still working through?
2. Are houses making fewer deals (as opposed to deals for fewer books, such as 2-book deals instead of 3)?
3. Are the metrics of what publishers are looking for, such as "followers" and "platform" changing?
4. What topics/genres are falling out of favor and what's taking their place? Me, I see women's historical fiction taking the place of all the WW2/Civil/Founders histories from the 90s; true? Are publishers still looking for what SMP called "twisty women's psychological thrillers"? What comes next?
5. What's the state of lunches with editors?
Glad you're feeling better, and well done on four years of Substackery. I self-published four books, and even without knowing that I self-published, or whether I was successful at it, people come to me in the most awkward and inappropriate settings and demand my advice. They rebuff my suggestion that they consult more knowledgeable sources, and if I try to be genuinely helpful, they resent my not confirming their fondest hopes about how publishing works. Kate, I also have a dear friend who's an agent, and I have the greatest sympathy with what you guys have to put up with (and I speak as someone who seems a bit troll-y at times, so sorry about that). This is a terrific resource, and I now know to sic these people on you! :)
I'm glad you're back~~the upper respiratory demon visited me too...it did afford me time to hone my first query letter (which I have now edited and re-edited 10 times). Fingers and eyes crossed. Candles lit...wish me luck~
Glad you're feeling better. I thoroughly enjoy your newsletter. After getting minimally encouraging feedback but no offers from about 25 agents, I signed with a small publisher (not a hybrid, pays royalties). It feels good to have a book coming out, but I wonder if I'll always wonder, what if...
My favorite line: "Still here.... Still excited." Thank goodness! I'm still here and still excited to read everything you write. You rock, Kate!
Yay for four years (and glad you're healing and feeling better)!! Congratulations!! I'm so glad I stumbled upon your newsletter 💛💛💛
Just want to say how much I appreciate this newsletter. I have learned so much and I feel like you do a great job of giving a realistic view of what all this looks like from the agent's side. Keep it coming!! I hope you are feeling better!
Someone replied to a newsletter I wrote about failure to let me know about the typo I'd made. You were the first person I thought of lol
New writers: I highly recommend The First Five Pages, a book by agent Noah Lukeman, and for querying, Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents.
‘The Incompatibility of Being Alive’
Thank you for your wonderful newsletter. One of the GOATs.
I'm glad you're feeling better. I love your newsletter! I love reading it, even the things that aren't applicable to me. I look forward to seeing what's in store for 2023 and would even love to see you revisit things you've already talked about.
I am currently working on my memoir about living in my wiggly body(cerebral Palsy)with the roots of my childhood, my yoga practice and helpful hands keeping me moving forward. Any ideas about editors or publishers interested in the genre?
Bobby Finger’s “The Old Place” was first rate--well done on that pick.