Monday, July 1, 2013

Hiatus Over! And Stats from Brenda Drake's Pitch Party



I’m back from my hiatus. I’ll be slow catching up and getting back into the swing of things, but it’s looking like I’m going to be moving to a two-day-a-week schedule because reasons. I love blogging or I wouldn’t keep coming back, but it’s time to be realistic—and the 5h!7 is getting real as of late (more on that at a much later date).

Writing news that isn’t really news: the WIP isn’t done because I took three weeks off (bloody pirates). Yeah, I know, I need to keep moving forward and all, but I NEEDED those weeks. That being said, I think we’re a week or two from the “You’re going into the stew pot” party (that’s nerd speak for I’m almost done with the rough draft). When that’s finished I’ll probably start waxing poetic about the novel I’ll be revising. It would appear that I fall back in love pretty easily since all I can think about lately is the novel I’m about to be revising (more on that after I put the pirates in the stew).

I’ve been entering contests like a mad woman, so I’m going to take a break from those and absorb all the feedback. Even if that feedback doesn’t go into Query Bait, I’ll keep it in mind for the next run. And speaking of contests, here are the stats from Brenda Drake’s Adult Pitch Party!

Genre
Number Entered
Number of requests
Women’s Fiction
11
11
Historical Fiction
11
4
Paranormal Romance
5
3
Thriller
11
3
Urban Fantasy
17
6
Fantasy
10
1
Romance
20
31
Science Fiction
9
13
Mystery
7
9
Commercial Fiction
4
5
Total
108
95



New Adult Romance
6
7
New Adult everything else
15
7
Total
21
14


A few caveats: This contest leaned heavily towards romance, and with numbers like these, we can’t really call it statistically significant. So it looks like a really rough time to be writing fantasy, but there’s no way to tell if the ten manuscripts were actually representative, or if they were all unlucky in that they were really similar to the requesting agents’ lists. Which is to say, even though these are fun, they don’t really tell us all that much.

What I can say about contests is this: They are really good for you, and not always for the reasons you think. Yes, the feedback and friends are invaluable, but there’s more. There was an agent who requested my material, and I never would have thought she’d take a second look at Sci Fi. Nothing in her profile indicates that she does genre fiction, so for everyone out in the query trenches: QUERY WIDELY. I would have never, ever—not in a million years!—suspected that agent might have even the slightest interest in that work. I’d even passed up contests where this agent was one of the judges because I didn’t think there were enough agents in my genre to be worth my while! How crazy is that??

Okay, enough of that. Get back out there and write/query/revise/skip rocks across the gazing ponds of life.*


*The Get Back out there and fight is a direct quote from my single favorite arcade game of all time, T-Mek. If you know where there’s still a functional cabinet, let me know, I would seriously travel to play it again! (enter arena, turn left, hit the guns)

18 comments:

  1. Wow! Great recap. So many requests. I love seeing that. I swear, Brenda is so amazing. What wonderful opportunities for aspiring authors. Now if I can just get my MS completed already :)

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    1. And HUGE CONGRATS on the request!!!!!

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    2. Thanks! I don't know if anything will come from it, but it is a lot of fun to hope!

      I was really impressed with how many requests I saw, and it gave me a really good indication of what the slush piles look like right now, so that was nice.

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  2. Of course, you would come back just as I'm headed out the door for my hiatus. :P

    Thanks for sharing the stats. Very eye opening. It seems agents still think the trend is Sci-fi, when in actuality it's fairy tale retellings. *shrugs* Maybe they're looking into a different crystal ball.

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    1. The reason for the high Sci Fi request could be because those entries were stronger. It could also have been because dystopian leads to more traditional sci fi. Or it could have been that a couple of agents thought "hey, you know, I don't have any Sci Fi on my list..."

      Which sort of means that we can't really tell much of anything.

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  3. Very interesting. And congratulations on the request! Good luck!

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    1. Yes, I'm a big fan of running numbers out of curiosity. So much to learn.

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  4. Thank you for sharing your stats! I had entered as well (one of the lucky that got some interest, very exciting!) and did some of my own number crunching. Only 50% of those that entered got any interest. Really good odds for the writing world and a wonderful opportunity. My first time participating in an event like this.

    Best of you luck to you! Congrats on your request!

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    1. Most agents say that they have a request rate of one manuscript in ten (some much less, some much more), so the fifty percent doesn't surprise me. What did surprise me were the projects I've seen making the rounds that are really good, but didn't get any requests. I just wish everyone could get requests, but part of the road is the rejection I guess.

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  5. "There was an agent who requested my material, and I never would have thought she’d take a second look at Sci Fi. Nothing in her profile indicates that she does genre fiction, so for everyone out in the query trenches: QUERY WIDELY."

    Same for me. My request came from someone who usually does romance, and mine only has a romantic sub-plot. I was staying away from the "romance only" agents because we've been told to target who we query, right, right?? Looks like my "to query" list is going to get bigger!

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    1. I know! I was completely on the fence about entering the contest because I didn't think there were that many people with my genre! So yeah, it looks like I need to expand my query list, too.

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  6. Interesting about not focusing so narrowly when querying. Who would have thunk it?

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  7. Those stats are really interesting.

    I'm rooting for you. I'm sure the agent will love it. :)

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    1. Well, you know how personal it is. What one agent loves another thinks is trite and cliche.

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  8. How awesome is that that an agent requested your stuff!? I'd be a believer in contests now too.

    Looking over the stats, I was intrigued...they had more requests for romance than they had entries?

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    1. Some entries got multiple requests, so even though there were more requests for romance than there were entries, there were still entries that got no requests. So yeah, the numbers like this are somewhat misleading.

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  9. I'm really pleased by those sci-fi numbers! But sad about the straight up fantasy numbers. But again, as you said, it doesn't neccessarily mean anything, not unless you've got the correct sample size and all that junk

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    1. I think fantasy really suffers in that format (35 word pitch plus first 150 words) because many really good fantasy novels have a lugubrious start. They ramp up in other ways.

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