Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Backspace Lesson #4: Read, read, read. Then read some more!

The query letter workshop was an eye opener. Not so much from the 'what the heck's wrong with my query' perspective, but more from seeing the agent's reactions to the twelve queries in our YA group. Some were met with nods or head tilts or questions, others with requests for pages and one 'wow, this is hot.'

Go Koreen! ;)

We had the pleasure of sitting in a group with Kathleen Ortiz and Roseanne Wells, who were both amazing and so wonderfully honest. And I noticed that with each query, they recommended similar-sounding books for the author to read. They wanted to see a couple comparison books in the body of the query. And there were so many excellent examples from The Hunger Games of what to definitely do that I lost count. Ahh, I love me some Peeta.


My point (yes, I have one!) is that agents are reading, editors are reading, published authors are reading. Everyone is reading all the time, and it would be ludicrous for aspiring authors to get in a mode where we cut out our own reading. Read in the genre you write. Read outside the genre you write. Read books that sound so-not-for-you, and read the ones for which you're counting down the seconds (I'm looking at you, Original Sin). I try to get in a few chapters during my lunch hour, and when the book gets amazing, I'll bring it home and read a few more before I fall asleep.

By the way, this is the craziest thing in the world to do, because you don't want to stop. So, of course, you keep reading, and then it's midnight, and you say to yourself 'just one more chapter.' Yeah, how often do you read six or, you know, just finish the book? That's not just me, right? :)

Write like you're possessed, but read the same way. Set goals. Stick to them. And give every book three chapters before you give up. That's only fair, right?

Happy reading!



Jeanmarie Anaya said...

Hi Marie!

I went to Backspace's November conf. And had a similar experience--I came away with a mile-long addition to my TBR list. But there were some great recommendations--one of which is now a comparable in my query.

Zan Marie said...

Do you think anyone has a handy list of "Women's Fiction" for me to read from? It's so broad and I'm having a bit of trouble trying to figure out where to start. I'm never without a book going. I just need to target a bit better. ; )

Laura said...

The three chapter thing...does that include your OWN book? <>

Laura said...

@Zan Marie, if I may, you should check out Kristy Kiernan's book CATCHING GENIUS. I opened it Christmas morning and I didn't close it until I turned the last page. She also has two other books that are wonderful: MATTERS OF FAITH and BETWEEN FRIENDS. Personally, I read mostly YA books, but these are wonderful, wonderful novels in the women's fiction arena.


Marie Rearden said...

Laura, especially your own!

Zan Marie said...

@ Laura--Thanks so much! I'll certainly check Kristy Kiernan's books out.