Thursday, July 7, 2011

"Gearing Up to Get an Agent" Blogfest has Begun!

Deana Barnhart is kinda like Chuck Norris. When she's not raising kids, writing novels, spotlighting new authors or providing resources for aspiring writers, she's dreaming up brilliant ways for all of us to build our platforms, get connected and reach out to each other to make this blogging world a friendlier place.

Her latest brainchild is her "Gearing Up to Get an Agent" July Blogfest, which spotlights agent-grabbing elements (platform building, learning the craft, the novel and queries) in a unique and interactive way. Here is our topic for Week One, and check out her blog, DeanaBarnhart , for more information or to join in on the fun.

WEEK ONE: "I Just had to ask..."

What burning questions (ab
out writing of course) do you have? It doesn't matter how ridiculous you think it may be, just ask. Post the question on your blog and we will hop around the blogs trying to help each other out. Discussions about topics on writing can really pump you up for your novel, plus you can make connections, follow one another, brainstorm platform building ideas...whatever. This will be our time to ease into the blogfest and get to know one another.

Here are my questions, and I would looooove to hear your feedback, whether or not you are participating in the blogfest:

1.  How long is too long for a young adult novel?  
Mine is a young adult mystery / urban fantasy, and I'm pushing 100,000 words, which I feel may be a little long. According to QueryTracker, it seems like most young adult novels are approximately 70,000-80,000 words, but I once heard urban fantasies tend to run a little long, so I'm not sure if I should cut back my word count or not. What do you think?

2. Which avenues have been most effective to network and spread the word about your blog?  I'm an active member of QueryTracker and GoodReads; I also occasionally post on SheWrites and AbsoluteWrite. I find a lot of new blogging buddies through existing blogging buddies' recommendations, and I usually troll around and read others' posts for good ideas. I'm not crazy about Twitter yet, and I've mostly kept my Facebook page to my non-writing life, but I'm definitely open to suggestions. How did YOU find the majority of your followers?

That's all for now, I think. Thanks in advance for your help!


mooderino said...

Hello fellow bolgoramarist,

I think YA novels do tend to slightly fewer words than yours, but in terms of appealing to an agent/publisher i would think the pace would be of more importance. If it's a long slow read that would be a problem. If it's a quick long read they can always get you to cut it back later.

As for your other question, I only recently joined twitter and while I don't chit-chat much, it has increased traffic to my blog just by being a place where I can announce posts are up and what they're about.

Moody Writing

Amy Armstrong, MS, NCC said...

100,000 words is a tad long, but word count isn't everything. It might be a good idea to avoid mentioning the word count until you've already hooked someone on the idea, but you seem to be doing okay :-)

I've found a lot of followers through GoodReads, bur I've gotten a lot of traffic through Twitter too. Commenting on publishing and book blogs also seems to help. Twitter takes practice, but I think it's worthwhile. Oh, I also include the URL to my blog in my email signature.

Jenny Phresh said...

My book is over 100,000 words, which concerns me a bit, but I figure an agent who falls in love can insist I cut a bit. I had to tell the story I needed to tell, and that's what it took. In fact, only one agent has even mentioned the word count. (I suppose I am a bad person to ask because I seem to be Wordy McGee!)

Anita Grace Howard said...

When I first sent SPLINTERED out, it was 120K. And it got several read requests. But after four rejections on fulls, I cut it down to 105K. That's the one that snagged my agent. Now we've tightened it up to 90K to send to editors. So that's a whopping 30K cut off from the original.

I've heard the ideal for YA fantasy is between 75K and 85K. But if the premise and writing are strong, you'll get requests no matter what.

Oh, and QT and twitter have won me some blog readers. You seem to be doing fine for yourself. Over 100 readers now! Congrats!

BTW, I sent you two emails. Hope you get them okay. :)

LisaAnn said...

@mood: So nice to meet you, and thanks so much for the advice. I feel my resistance to Twitter fading, especially after your feeback. This WILL happen someday soon; I can feel it. :)

@Amy: Yay, I'm so glad you found me on QT! And thanks for the advice about publishing and book blogs... I haven't done that too much yet, so I definitely think I will start.

@Jenny: Fellow Wordy McGee here as well! Apparently I'm even overly descriptive when I give directions, which is news to me!

@Anita: I'm so glad to hear that you were able to successfully whittle down your story so much without losing its essence. My new plan is to try to at least knock a few thousand off... 98,000 sounds sooo much less than 101,000, you know? And have I told you lately how AWESOME you are??

Christa said...

Well, I found you through @Moody Writing if that is an answer for you. I also think blogfests/bloghops are great to join. I'm pro-Twitter (most of the time).
Also, I think agents and editors would pause at a 100,000 word YA book. But my current YA novel is 30,000 words (very sparsely written) and will also cause agents to pause. You are world-building so that gives you more wiggle-room but ask your CPs/betas to help you trim. Less is frequently more.

mooderino said...

Hey LisaAnn,

thanks for dropping by my blog. The follower gadget is finally fixed (for the time being anyway), thought I'd let you know. Look me up on twitter when you finally join!

Moody Writing

Bethany C. said...

Um...I think word count is totally subjective. Mine is 57K (Contemp. YA) and *agent* thinks it's just right in length. I've seen other agents who say "don't send me anything under 60K words", while others say, anything over 40K is fine. Bottom line: I think if they love the story, they will work with your word count--within reason. I do think anything over 100K words might feel a little daunting.

cherie said...

I heard that more and more agents go for the lower word count end of the spectrum. But you know. It's a subjective business. Still, I'd say it's good to be on the safe side. Maybe 85K, if you really want to push it.


LisaAnn said...

@Christa, Bethany and Cherie: The revisions have begun! I've already shaved about 2,000 off my word count, and I'm still working on the first 100 pages. My huge goal would be to get it down to 90,000, but I'm not 100% I'll get all the way there. Good to have goals, though!

@mooderino: On my way as we speak! Thanks for sharing!

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