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Life in Agenting – 2: Querying: Do’s and Don’ts

Posted by Caitie F on February 17, 2015

Everyone always seems to have the most questions about queries: how to write one, what needs to be in it  Instead of just saying this is how you write a query, I want to share some of the do’s and don’ts when querying me.

Some background – I have read and replied to over 600 queries since opening up to them a month ago (EDIT: This was an estimate, I just looked and it was over 1,000). That is a lot of queries and that is all outside of work hours. If you query me, you will most likely get a response late at night or on the weekend. Those queries are what inspired this post.

DO include a great hook
What is your book? What makes it great? Figure it out, write a sentence, and make that the first thing I read. A great hook instantly has me excited and hoping that the rest of the query is amazing. I have requested pages when the hook is amazing and the rest of the query is good.

DO write a clear summary
So often, I read the main part of the query and have no idea what the book is about. I couldn’t tell you who the main character is, what the central plot is, or even sometimes the genre!

DO have someone unfamiliar with your book read your summary
That is how you make sure that it is clear. Find someone you know who doesn’t know your book or a community online that you can get someone to read your query. Have them explain back to you what your book is about. You will be able to tell if it is clear.

DON’T tell me your life story
There are so many queries I get that have more about the writer than the book. If you are writing fiction, just a couple sentences are enough. I tend to skim the long bios and probably miss the information that might matter. There needs to be a bigger bio for nonfiction, but some people list every paper they have ever been on and all their media exposure. I just need the highlights!

DON’T be a jerk
I know, it should be obvious, but I have gotten many queries with racism, sexism, and classism. I have also gotten responses to rejections that call me a bitch or say I am going to hell. The only response you should ever send is “Thank you for your time”. But you don’t have to send that.

DO your research
At least to the point where you know I am the right person to send something to. I still get lots of books I don’t represent and those are the easiest to reject. But I hate that everyone’s time was wasted.

DON’T agonize over that personalized paragraph
If you don’t have a personalized paragraph, it won’t keep me from requesting pages if the query is great. That said, those personalizations sometimes turn a maybe request pages to a yes.Not because the person said they follow me on twitter or read my blog, but because they saw I love x book, TV show, or movie and their book is like that is y way. Or they change their comps (accurately!) to things I love. Don’t say your book is like something just because i love it though – I need to see that while I am reading the query

DO query one project at a time
Only one project per query and only one query at a time. If I get four queries in a row from you, I probably won’t take any of them as seriously. I am probably not the right person for all the books. It is fine to be querying multiple projects at once, just end the one you think is the best fit first, then wait a little until you send the second.

DON’T be scared
I want every query I get to be amazing. I want to fall in love with your pitch. I want to want to see pages. I do this because I love working with authors.

DO keep going if I reject you
I am often not the right person for the project. You want someone who loves what you are doing to represent you. I am one person and there are a lot of agents out there.

Good luck!

Posted in Editorial | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Top Authors I’ve Only Read One Book From But NEED to Read More

Posted by Caitie F on September 16, 2014

Thanks to the wonderful readers over at The Broke and the Bookish for hosting! Today’s topic is pretty self-explanatory, so let’s just start!

1. Susanna Kearsley

I read and LOVED The Winter Sea, so now I want more!

2. Jandy Nelson

I just reviewed I’ll Give You the Sun yesterday, and it is one of my favorite books of the year. I need to read her debut!

3. Sarah J Mass

I just finished the first book in her series and need to read the rest because she is fantastic!

4. Catherynne Valente

I read one of her books and it was magical, Must read more!

5. Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind was an incredible book and I need to read more – he has a way of writing that takes the reader completely out of their own world and into his.

6. Margaret Atwood

I have only read Surfacing, and while it was just okay, I thought the writing was very good and I will read at least three or four more of her books

7. Jennifer E Smith

I have only read one of her books (no ida how that happened), but plan on reading more.

8. Karen Finneyfrock

Starbird Murphy and the World Outside was a book that was SO written for me to love, so I need to see what else she has done

9. Huntley Fitzpatrick

I absolutely adored What I Thought was True, and have heard others liked her first book even more, so I need to read it.

10. Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Naturals is exactly what I have been looking for in YA, so obviously I need to read more!

Posted in Blogging, Editorial | 1 Comment »

Top Ten Book Characters That Would Sit at My Lunch Table

Posted by Caitie F on September 2, 2014

Sorry this post isn’t pretty – I am writing it on my phone in the car on the way home from visiting my parents in Ohio.

Thanks to the wonderful people over at The Broke and Bookish for hosting!

This week’s top ten list is back-to-school themed! I am making one rule- only one character per book series, or it would be ten Harry Potter characters. And I can pick adults too So if I could have ten character at my lunch table, they would be…

1. Hermione Granger

Do I even need to say why?

2. Lizzie Bennett from LBD

She would be so fun to hang out with and we could do reenactments of things.

3. Macallan from Better off Friends

She would bring the best lunches to share.

4. Atticus Finch

I know, weird match with everyone else, but he would give great life advice.

5. Arya Stark

I would NEVER get on her bad side, but she would make out table a little dangerous and would teach us all to use needle.

6. Thursday Next from The Eyre Affair

She can jump into the stories of books. That is just awesome.

7. Georgie from Landline

She is incredibly smart and clever. I think we would get along really well and I want to know more about her job.

8. Beth from Attachments

While I was reading this book, I wanted to spend time with her and I think the lunch table would be more interesting with her there!

9. Isaac from TFIOS

We would really get along and he would be a good friend to have around. He would also compliment the others well.

10. Mia from the Princess Diaries

She is sweet, smart, and really funny I bet she would be a great lunchtime companion!!

Who would be at your lunch table?

Posted in Blogging, Editorial | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Top Ten “Gateway” Books in My Reading Journey

Posted by Caitie F on April 1, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish .They pick awesome things to talk about!

I have always been a reader, so this was a little hard for me. When i really thought about it, I could come up with the books that got me hooked, and the books that got me interested in new genres.

1. Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McClosky

29291This was my favorite picture book growing up and it really got me interested in stories!

2. Matilda by Roald Dahl


Matilda was my first Roald Dahl book and it taught me what it meant to get lost in a book. I had to read more after that!

3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


I read it for the first time in fourth grade and fell in love. I have reread it at least six times and every time I enjoy it even more. It is one of the most amazing stories ever told.

4. Baby Sitters Club by Ann M Martin


This was the first series I ever read and it got me hooked. I read every single book that my library had in the series and I loved it!

5. The Giver by Lois Lowry


This is the best book I read for school and instilled me with a lifelong love of dystopian books.

6. Harry Potter Series by J K Rowling


This series had the biggest impact on me by far. I am a HUGE Potter fan and have lots of friends because of it. I am even going to LeakyCon this summer!

7. The Stand by Stephen King


The Stand was the longest book I had read when I read it and among the first truly adult books I ever read. It got me hooked on Stephen King and books where not everyone gets a happy endings.

8. Looking for Alaska by John Green


I never really went away from young adult, but at the beginning of college I read less of it. This was the book that really brought me back in and got me into the nerdfighter community.

9. Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass


I didn’t read much middle grade until I read my first Wendy Mass. It ioen my reading horizons up to an entire age group of imaginative stories!

10. 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die




I will never read all 1001 Books. I will be happy if I get to 250. This book has opened up my eyes to so many great books I would have missed without it. There is a reason so many of these books are classics.

Posted in Editorial | 3 Comments »

2014 Goals!

Posted by Caitie F on January 1, 2014

Jason put up a list of his resolutions today and i thought I would too! Here are my goals for 2014


If I stay in my current job, read 140 books.
If I change jobs, read 100 books.

Read 5 books from the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list

Read 10 non-fiction books

Finish all the challenges I signed up for!


Get down to 150 pounds

Get a couple of specialist doctors

Cancel our gym we dislike and find something new

Join a Masters swim team


Spend more time with family

Get into the next step in my career

Find 5 fun new activities to do with Jason

Posted in Editorial | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

TSS: New Adult

Posted by Caitie F on March 3, 2013

tss-badgeThere has been a lot of talk about New Adult books lately – books that are for the 18+ age group, that take place in college or later, but still have some of the themes of young adult books. I have an interesting history with this idea, so I thought I would talk about it a little.

Way back in 2010, I posted a survey about 20-32 year olds and their reading habits. I asked if they read YA and if they thought that something was missing in the market. I thought there was, and it turns out that most of the people who responded agreed agreed. There wasn’t much between high school and married with kids. There were a few “girl moves to big city and finds love”, but not that many. I wanted to see if there was a market for these books and it turns out, there is.

As long as it doesn’t turn into sexy YA, it will be awesome, and I think it isn’t going to turn into that. There have already been some incredible books that fit into this category. I am going to go back through older posts and tag reviews that I think fit into this category. I also have a shelf on goodreads (link is in the sidebar) with books that fit into the category. Just to get you to know what I mean, I would include books like Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys and Just One Day by Gayle Forman, along with many others.

I am going to be really excited when some authors start writing specifically for this category. I think we are going to see some great books.

Of course, those of us in our twenties and above are still going to read incredible young adult books, it will just bring more books into the market, which is never a bad thing.

There is one issue I have though and that is the name. New adult seems condescending to me. It seems like someone who is older picked out what it was going to be called, instead of having someone in the age group think of something creative that didn’t feel undermining.

I look forward to seeing new adult grow and transform. What do you think of this new age group? Let me know in the comments!


Posted in Editorial | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

TSS: Writers Impress Me

Posted by Caitie F on February 24, 2013



I hope everyone is having a good Sunday! I wanted to talk about something that I talk about a lot in life, but not much in my blog.

How impressed I am with writers. While I love to read, review, and edit, I am not a writer. I can look at someone’s work and see how it can be improved, but when it comes to writing stories myself, it has never been something I am interested in or something I have tried to do outside of a classroom. I am not impressed with every writer ever, but I am impressed with writers who know their craft. They know the market. They have excellent grammar. They write, and rewrite, and rewrite their rewrites until things are as perfect as they are going to be. Seeing a manuscript develop is a wonderful thing.

And now for the main part of my post – I am going to brag about my husband a little. Okay, a lot.

He is a teacher and a writer. He is not published yet, but he does have an agent and they  are about to begin sending out his second book (which is actually the first one he wrote) to editors. That book is really cool to me because he began writing it when we had been together for not very long, so I have seen every edit. He sends me his books a chapter at a time, then sends his rewrites. I am putting the most recent version on my Nook this weekend and look forward to reading his changes that he made in the round with his agent. The book is so different from that first draft. He is an excellent writer and knows his craft, but he also knows how to take criticism and make it better.

There are times he sends me a chapter and I say “No, this doesn’t work, you need to start again”. He writes 60 pages of a book and we talk about it and he sees it isn’t working, so he puts it in a folder. He looks in that folder years later and figures out how to make the story works and starts again. He fixes his flow, he improves his characterizations, and he does it with not much direction.

He has written six manuscripts and has four others (I think there may be one more) in various stages so far. Yes, that is ten ideas in just six years. Ten good stories that are original and well-thought-out with great characters. Six of those that are complete. It amazes me daily that he can do it.

It isn’t always easy, finding an agent is tough and sending to editors is juts as tough. It can be discouraging and it can bring us both down. But he keeps writing these incredible stories. It isn’t something anyone can do.

I know he will find an editor for one of his books. He is too good not to. He is too creative not to. He is too hard working not to.

My husband is a writer, and he impresses me with every chapter he sends my way. I cannot wait for the day that I get to tell you all he has a publisher.

What writers impress you the most?

Posted in Editorial | 2 Comments »

Year End Survey and Wrap Up

Posted by Caitie F on December 31, 2012

i love doing the End of Year Survey from Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner  every year. But first, here are some stats!

Books read: 100 – hit my yearly goal!
Pages read: 38,315 – thanks to A Song of Fire and Ice, beat last year by more than 2,000 pages!

Read for work: 31 – this number will probably go down next year
Read 1001 Challenge: 9
Read 1001 Children’s: 2
Read for pleasure: 68

YA books: 30

Time for the survey (click here for original survey post)

1. Best Book You Read In 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want)

This will be the answer for a LOT of things The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. He is my favorite author and this book is amazing.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen  Thought this would be fantastic, but I found her so condescending towards young people.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012? 

The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay. This was my second most recommended book of the year. I gave it to three people for the holidays!

 4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

Again, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I gave this book to six people to read. I will continue to give that book to others!

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. I read the entire series this year. It isn’t the best series ever and has flaws, btu it is really fun to read.

 6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

Ami McKay who wrote The Virgin Cure. I will read whatever she writes next!

Ernest Cline who wrote Ready Player One

Owen Laukkanen who wrote The Professionals 

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

The Man Without A Face by Masha Gessen. This book changed my opinion on Russia. It is the best nonfiction book i have read and everyone needs to read it.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin. Best book in the series!

9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:

Take A Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg. I adore every single book that Eulberg has witten and want to re-read them all in 2013, and I think this is my favorite one! If you have not read her books yet, you really need to. She is the future of YA and she is brilliant.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?


Didn’t love the book, but think the cover is beautiful!

11. Most memorable character in 2012? 

Josie from Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys. It comes out next year and it a fantastic book, mostly because Josie is my favorite character of the year – with Hazel from TFIOS by John Green as a close second!

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

Surprise, surprise, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. So beautiful!

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012? 

The Man Without a Face by Masha Gessen. I have never had a book change my mind about something like this book did.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read? 

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. It was my first Austen and I loved it!

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?

“Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin,”  – from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

Prodigy by Marie Lu. It isn’t out yet but the END! Everyone needs to read it so we can talk about THE END!!

That is already out – Insurgent by Veronica Roth. This one was also the ending. It took the book up an entire star because it was so awesome and epic!

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

Jennifer and Quark in The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Seriously, if you haven’t read this book yet GO GET IT NOW!!

20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde. My husband recommended it to me and I loved it!


1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?

Code Name Verity

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?

For everyone else to read Out of the Easy

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2013?

Read at least another 100 books!

Posted in Editorial | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

An Exciting Trip to the Bookstore

Posted by Caitie F on September 24, 2012

I have some very excited news to share with everyone! I had the most exciting trip to a bookstore on Saturday! I know that sounds strange, an exciting trip to a store, really? Really! I actually had tears from being so happy.

Back when i was unemployed, I was critiquing  queries and partial manuscripts for writers. I would give them a sentence by sentence evaluation of their query, then write them an editorial letter on the first fifty pages. I didn’t get to everyone who sent them to me, because a LOT of people sent it to me!

I got a response to one who had gotten an agent and a book deal! He said he would put me in the acknowledgements, but I thought nothing of it.

I realized that the book had come out this week and we were in a Barnes and Noble. I looked in science fiction and couldn’t find it so I asked someone for help. She thought it would be in new science fiction, couldn’t find it and checked again. It might be in the octagon in the front of the store! It was – it was actually right under the latest J.D. Robb book! Now that is placement!

Now it was exciting enough that a book I did something with was published and in that location. But that isn’t what gave me happy tears.

No, that happened when I turned to the acknowledgements in the back and saw

My name. My name in the acknowledgments in someone’s book. What Jay said was very touching and I thank him. Saying you will do something is one thing. Actually doing it is a whole other thing.

I started teary up and jogged towards my husband jason (I know, running in a store is bad, but I was too excited for thinking) and opened the book. He had no idea why I was so excited!

This was my first acknowledgement. It isn’t much, but this is what I like doing most. I love working with authors to make something that is already really great even better. It is what i am passionate about and is just a dream. That is has happened is amazing. I hope it is the first of many.

I cannot wait to read the entire book. The first fifty pages were great and now I am sure they are even better!

Obviously, I won’t be able to review the book,  but here are some reviews from other bloggers!

Steph Su Reads

Good Books and Good Wine

Sorry this wasn’t more articulate – I am still just so excited that it is hard!



Posted in Editorial | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

TSS: Reading Series

Posted by Caitie F on May 20, 2012

How is your weekend going? mine has been awesome Went to a Chili Festival yesterday, which was just okay but I still had a good time because of the gorgeous weather. We also went out to dinner with friends and walked around a cool town on a beautiful night. And I finally got an iPhone, so if you have any app recommendations, let me know in the comments! Today, we are running errands and finally seeing The Avengers! I am so excited! Onto bookish things!


So I have been reading A Song of Fire and Ice this year and I really enjoy it (just finished A Storm of Swords, the best book so far), but it has made me think more about series. I love a great series. It allows you to really get to know and connect with characters and it makes me feel more invested in the books when I know there is more to come.

I hate being reading this series how I am though. I am also reading The Mortal Instruments series and am in the middle of what is published with that one too. And I just hate it! I like either reading a series as each book comes out or reading it when it is complete.

If you read a series as each book comes out, you are reading with the other fans. i have two friends at work that also love ASOFAI , one is caught up, one is one book ahead of me. When we talk about it, we all have to be very careful, because none of us want to hear spoilers. It makes it very difficult! Thanks to the internet, I always have to watch myself to make sure I don’t read anything about from a book i am not up to. As someone who loves talking about what I read, this is a challenge and I don’t like it  I also love the community discussion reading as a series comes out brings. I am just so far removed from the discussions that I feel like I am missing out.

I also don’t mind reading a series when it is completely over. Then you can just read the entire thing and not have any waiting. Once I catch up with the series still being published, it is a little irritating. You could read the entire thing at your own pace then suddenly…nope! It isn’t a big deal, but it feels like the story should continue. If it is done, it is also easy to jump right into discussions and talk about the series as a whole.

It really does make me leery of reading any series that aren’t complete yet if there is more than one or two books that I can quickly catch up on.

How do you read series? How do you prefer to read series? Let me know in the comments (and don’t forget to tell me about awesome iPhone apps!)

Posted in Editorial | Tagged: | 4 Comments »