October 24, 2010

Vampire fish?

In an email to my editor, Laura Kepner, I mentioned how my husband could not fathom agents failing to see how wonderful my novel Jewel of Ramstone is. (Can't help but love that man, huh?)

Laura wrote such a touching and inspirational response to my email that I asked if she would allow me to post part of it here on my blog. I feel it would help other writers and their loved ones accompanying them on the road of queries, rejections, agents and publishers. It sure made my husband see things in a different, if not brighter, light.

Well, enough talking about the email. Here it is:

"It is difficult to try to explain to those not trying to get published, (and sometimes hard for us who write to understand), why a wonderful story does not (usually) get swallowed up by the first publisher or agent. The best way I can think to describe that is to say imagine a Monday morning. You got two hours of sleep the night before because you were at a party and on the way home your tire blew out. Then, your son got sick right when your head hit the pillow. You make it to work and there are fifty new manuscripts that you are supposed to scan through in the next two hours. Your lunch appointment canceled and you were really needing to discuss something with the guy so that your bonus gets approved. A schmoozer who started in the mail room is now in the corner office across from your desk, smiling at you because he is now making twice what you are--all because he found the next big series, and it's all about happy vampire fish. Now...what's this query letter? It's about love?...Romance? Historical romance?..."I need vampire sharks or something!"

"And then, on a beautiful, sunny Friday morning, another agent picks what you just turned down. He is happy because his girlfriend just accepted his marriage proposal. His stocks shot up and he got the prime parking spot this morning. Three beautiful women smiled at him in the elevator and his boss patted him on the back for his hard work. He sits at his desk and there's something called Jewel of Ramstone. He likes the title...he opens it to page one...

"Anyway, I guess my point is that I KNOW mood affects decisions. I have read recently how publishers are turning down my ms. for stupid reasons, like one didn't know my main character was a girl until page two. (That could be such an easy fix!) Anyway, they have stacks of things to read, and if they know a historical romance with a great title is possibly going to sell, and if they are receptive, they might read it with different eyes than if their morning started out poorly. Also, their bosses are telling them to look for vampire fish novels and there might be one in three thousand authors who ever mentioned a fish with teeth, so they are feeling overwhelmed. I had one publisher say that my writing was gorgeous. Yet, she still turned me down because she didn't fall in love with my main character enough to take it to the next step. Ha! It's very personal for them. Basically, the query letters are the same deal. They have to feel compelled to read your book in order to ask to take it to the next step."~~Laura Kepner, Editor (and friend)

For those of you who need an editor, she is amazing.


  1. God, I love that woman. She has such a way with words and putting things into perspective. Thank you for sharing this, and thank Laura too.

  2. I love the way she expressed that. ;) When I'm ready for an editor, I'll surely contact her.