Friday, April 9, 2010

Ms. BookSniper Outs Herself (And answers all your burning questions!)

There's a new totally mysterious, completely anonymous publishing blogger on the interwebs and she ROCKS. Today we're welcoming the amazing Ms. BookSniper for a guest blog. We've gotten to know her a little bit over the past few weeks and let's just say we've developed a raging girl crush.

First things first: Go to her blog and become a follower. Believe me, you won't regret it. This woman knows stuff about publishing. All the secret stuff that no one ever wants to tell lowly aspiring authors like us.

And the very best thing about all Ms. BookSniper's visit is that she's agreed to answer any and all questions that you guys have about publishing! Just leave a comment on this post and she'll post the answer on her blog next week. See, I told you she's cool.

Ok, enough with all this telling, time to do the writerly thing and show you how amazing she is. Without further ado, I give you Ms. BookSniper:

My right leg twitches with every bump of the train. The pounding in my head has made me slightly nauseous. And I think I have officially chewed a hole through my cheek. This. Can. NOT. Be. Happening.

It's 8:48 and I'm on the way home. But I've forgotten one very important thing and it's making my stomach cramp. What was I going to say about Chapter 12 in Manuscript X again? How did the hero in Author Z's chapters resolve the conflict? And what was it that was bugging me about the new pages from my boss? For some reason I can't remember a thing about any of my projects, even though I've read them each multiple times. It doesn't matter. The only thing that matters as I fold over and stick my head between my legs-breathe in, breathe out-is that I LEFT MY KINDLE AT THE OFFICE.

I'm not going to lie. It takes me a good three minutes to calm myself down. Then an additional five minutes to somewhat relax. And when I do, I start to think about work again. And about the editorial letter I have due to Author Z in the morning. And the notes due to my boss by lunch. And the phone conference at breathing quickens and suddenly I can't breath. I can't breath. OMG. I can't breath. Is this what a panic attack feels like??

Then my phone vibrates with a text from BFF Extraordinaire.

BFFE: What up, MB? Want 2 see How 2 Train ur Dragon tonite?

A movie tonight? I had about a billion things to do before work tomorrow....

MB: Sorry. 2 much work : (

BFFE: U always say that! >:-\

And then it hits me. BFF Extraordinaire knows me better than anyone. And BFFE is right. I DO always say that.

My father once said "Do something you love and you won't have to work a day in your life." This, Dear Readers, is very, very true. I work all the time, every day. I work so much that I'm working in my sleep. I'm constantly reading, editing, writing notes, taking calls, checking emails, tweeting, meeting with agents, editors and other industry professionals.

My life has become books. My life has become WORK. But it never feels like it. And the only reason I'm freaking about my Kindle is because all of my working manuscripts are on there and even if I don't use it I feel 100 times better just having it close to me, just in case the train breaks down and I have time to read a submission. Or in case I wake up at 3am and decide to finish the manuscript from Author Q. Something about it just being THERE keeps me sane.

So there. I just outted myself. I proved to you that industry professionals can be just as obsessive and worrisome as writers. And I think what it all boils down to is that we are all doing what we love. We know it.

Deep down, we understand how lucky we are, and we all have the constant worry that at any minute it's going to be taken away from us and then we'll have to go back to...gulp...real life. Maybe my fingers will all break at once, or the computer will spontaneously combust taking all work with it, or maybe you'll get writers block and can never, ever come up with a creative thought again. It's there. Don't deny it. Part of you is always worrying that someone is going to turn around and say to you "You can't write, so don't bother. And here, let me just chuck that computer out the window for you." You have this ridiculous fear of messing up and not being good enough, because this is too good to be true, right?

Well you know what I say to that?

Me too.

And I think I'll take the night off. I mean, I can write off How to Train your was a book, right?

Ms. Booksniper

Now here is where you guys come in. I'm starting an industry related blog for book reviews, questions, publishing posts, giveaways, contests, and advice. And to start it, I'd like to take some questions from all of you! Lisa and Laura Roecker came up with the fabulous idea to have you ask your questions here, in the Comments of their fabulous blog. Then I will answer them for YOU, one by one, starting Monday, on MY blog So please, ask me any questions you have!


Stina said...

Yay! I get to be the first commenter. How cool is that? Thanks girls for the link. *runs off to check it out*

Have a great weekend!

Matthew MacNish said...

First things first: Thanks Lisa and Laura for sharing and for introducing what will surely be a great resource for all of us (blog is opened in a new tab, will be following momentarily).

Second, thank you Ms. Sniper for sharing (I love that name). The glimpse into your life is both entertaining AND inspiring, and I look forward to reading more of your posts.

One caveat (for Lisa and Laura): I'm not sure you ladies can get away with referring to yourselves as aspiring authors any more. Seeing as how you are both represented by agents and have sold LIAR SOCIETY (congrats) I would have to argue that you have arrived.

Shameless promotion:

I have an awesome guest post today on my blog by Cole Gibsen.

This one is pure query/submission gold folks in which she shares the ACTUAL query that landed her an agent and the correspondence that ensued.

Please stop by to read, comment and follow.


Matthew MacNish said...

Oops, I forgot to ask Ms. Sniper a publishing question. So here goes:

How often does a debut author get away with having a novel published that is longer than the word count rule for it's genre?

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Thanks for the info! Questions answered. Ms. Booksniper here I come!!

Candyland said...

Love Booksniper!!!! (And LiLaCa...)

Sherrie Petersen said...

Okay, whoever Ms Booksniper turns out to be, she can obviously write and she has a sense of humor. Very cool!

So my question: What are three novels from the last year or two that you wish would have come across your desk, that you would have loved to edit?

Talli Roland said...

Anyone with a cool pet monster gets my vote for sure. Yay for BookSniper!

Um... can I ask what the beverage of choice is amongst publishing industry professionals, if there is indeed a consensus? If I want to think like them, I'm willing to drink like them. Such a sacrifice.

Thanks Lisa and Laura!

kah said...

LOL. She sounds awesome. Thanks for bringing her to our attention. Going over to become a groupie right now. ;)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

What a delightful read! I'm going to check out that blog and follow, for sure.
My question: Do you have advice on first pages? So often, writers make dozens of starts, searching for the right place and tone. Perhaps, you've noticed some pitfalls or methods that work to get it right.

JEM said...

I love this post specifically because I forgot my netbook at home yesterday and had to ride the train to work and home with nothing to do but stare out the window. Nevermind the two hours of writing time I lost. Rargle.

My pregunta: what would your advice be for first time authors regarding e-books in contracts?

Zoe C. Courtman said...

Great blog, Book Sniper! And thanks, Lisa & Laura! My question's about networking. If you happen to be friendly with or have worked for someone who has worked for a few publishing peeps, is it ever okay to ask YOUR contacts if they'd mind forwarding your MS to the publishing people they know? How would you feel about that if you were the publishing person in question? If it's okay to do so, what's the appropriate way to go about requesting such a favor?

Tere Kirkland said...

Thanks for the link, LiLa, Ms. Booksniper's blog already made me giggle once this morning.

As for a question, hmmm...

If you're querying an agent who requested a partial from an earlier work, do you mention it when querying the new work even if the agent didn't specifically ask you to query them again?

Thanks in advance!

Katie Anderson said...

Great post guys! This booksniper looks GREAT! But, I can't think of a question right now. Will be back later :)

Lydia Kang said...

Thanks for the introduction! I'm totally drawing a blank on questions since mine was taken by Solvang!

Christina Lee said...

Well... that story had me RIVETED to my chair! ;-) You sound fab and I must immediately go check out your blog. But first a question. Hmmm.... everyone always talk about novels that are too long, but what about on the short side? Which is more of a concern and how do you remedy that? Wait, was that more than one question--sorry!

Slamdunk said...

Informative post--I am sure Booksniper's site will do well.

Thanks for the link.

Anonymous said...

Questions? You're asking for questions? Do these count? I mean, they have question marks, and they're requests for information. I guess I wouldn't expect you to answer them on your blog though, good lady. The answers would be dull ("Yes, yes, and no") and not very publishing related.

Herm... okay, here goes:

1. Are publishing houses as enamored of sarcasm and snark as bloggers seem to be?

2. At industry parties, how many people, percentage-wise, will be drunk and saying inappropriate things in loud voices by the end of the evening? I mean, Janet Reid's a given, I think, but how many other people?

3. At editorial review meetings, do they have Dr. Evil-style chairs that can tip the editors with losing proposals into a fiery pit-o'-doom at the push of a button? That would totally raise the stakes, and be very, very awesome.

4. If I think of any more questions, I'll be back later...

Lori W. said...

Thanks Lisa and Laura for the link to Booksniper! I must acquire that frog/ninja book on her blog. Certain ninja lovers in my household can't get enough ninja-inspired reading material or fashion ("You're wearing that Leaf Clan headband to school again?" Please let me wash it. Please.").

Broad "Choose Your Own Adventure" Style Question: What a) industry trends b) projects c) authors
excite/discourage/inspire/humble/shatter you at the moment?

Sarah Wylie said...

Great post! LOVE knowing that industry professionals are just as obsessive as writers. I have a couple of questions:

1. Okay, so editors obviously go into their professions because they love books. Has editing in any way impacted your love of books? Is it hard to read books without being critical, or do you just appreciate getting to kick back with a good book?

2. What are the top 3 things editors like to see from their authors?

3. It is a universally known fact that no great work of fiction was ever written without the aid of Twizzlers. Like, a lot of them. To your knowledge, no great work of fiction has been edited without....?

Thanks, Ms. Book Sniper and LiLa!

Jill Kemerer said...

Thanks, Lisa and Laura, for hosting this Q/A session! Fun!

Ms. Booksniper--do you ever read for pleasure anymore? Or is every waking minute spent on work projects? I'm always curious about this!

Shannon Messenger said...

Ooo, AWESOME! I am ridiculously excited by this (and yes, I've already hopped over and followed her blog...dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnn.

And okay...QUESTIONS!

Um, I can really only think of one right now (and I'm sorry, I didn't read through the other comments so this may already have been asked)

But as someone who's probably going to be in subs in about a month and a half (assuming I survive my agent's revisions) um...what should I be doing--besides making my book the best it can be--to make the process go as smooth as possible? Basically, what do editors like to see in authors besides great stories/writing?

I'll of course also be asking my agent about this, but I'd love to get some advice from the other side of the fence.

Can't wait to read the advice. And now...back to revision! (I'm 1/3 done. Must. Keep. Going!) :)

Lindsay said...

Whoohoo thanks for the link, I've already checked it out:)
As for my question. Where do editors stand on prologues? Love/hate/indifferent?

lisa and laura said...

Ok, I've been thinking all day about my question so here it goes:

Who are you? Seriously. It's driving us CRAZY.

I'm kidding. I really do want to know, but I won't waste a question on it.

My real question is that what are things that authors do to drive you crazy? Can over-enthusiasm be a bad thing? Laura and I are *ahem* very excited to promote our book and work with our editor, so I sometimes worry that we're going to completely overwhelm him.

Thanks for writing such a spectacular guest post and for fielding all these questions. So fun!

Loretta Nyhan said...

What a great post! And yes, I think we can all relate to it.

My question is related to your blog. Your book reviews are honest and thoughtful. How often will you post them?

Unknown said...

Thank you all for putting this post together. What a great story about how crazy life can be, but if you love what you do it's all worth it.

Have a wonderful weekend, ladies!

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic idea! Thank you, ladies.

My question is this: I have had four agents say that they love my novel. They say they love the voice, premise, characters, and uniqueness, but they don't know how to sell it. The characters are too old for YA and the plot is too simple for adult, yet writing it up or down will change the purity of the story. What do I do? Keep querying? Shelve it for a while? Take some Ambien and go to bed? Help!


Anne Gallagher said...

Thanks Lisa and Laura for doing this. I found you through Elana and have become a new follower. You guys ROCK!

My question for Ms. Sniper -- I've queried agents with my historical romance and gotten rejected although most said the writing was fine, it was the premise that wasn't so hot. Now I'm writing a women's fiction-y/romance type book and I'm wondering if I can requery these same agents with the new work?

Marsha Sigman said...

I love her already.

My question: What really stands out for you in a manuscript? As in a debut author's manuscript? Is it the plot or the voice?

I know that this looks like three questions but it is really one question clarified in different ways. Yeah, I'm sneaky like that.

Heidi Willis said...

How very cool!! I love this "guest blog" and I will definitely follow!!

I don't really have a question worth lobbing at you right now. I'll just sit back and learn from all the others you answer. :)

Kimberly Franklin said...

Thanks guys, now I'm girl crushin' too. LOL.

Thanks for the link! Have a great weekend!!

Elana Johnson said...

This is fan-freaking-tastic! I'm already a follower of The Book Sniper.

I have some questions (And I didn't read the other comments, so sorry if these are repeated!):
1. How long do you typically work with an author before edits are finished?

2. What's the difference between "edits" and "line edits" and/or "copy edits"? Do you do both, or are different people within a house assigned different types of edits?

3. How many authors do you work with at one given time?

TerryLynnJohnson said...

Oh, this is so great! I'm a new follower of Book Sniper's fantastic blog - thanks so much for bringing it to my attention.

storyqueen said...

So coo-el! (I think I say this a lot about your posts, L and L!)

Anyway, I'm gonna jump over to Ms. Booksniper and leave my question there.

It is so exciting when a secret-anonymous-writer-editor-in-the-biz starts a blog!


Jemi Fraser said...

Very cool! Can't wait to click on the link :)

Alissa said...

There's so many sensible questions being asked of Ms. BookSniper (whose blog I will be checking out momentarily) that I feel compelled to ask something that isn't remotely sensible.

If the publishing industry started acting more like Hollywood and became obsessed with the idea of sequels and remakes what sequels/remakes would you want your publishing house to hire a scribe to pen.

Unknown said...

Questions (hoping they aren't redundant...)

1. What's the best way for an author to market herself at each stage of publication: before she gets and agent, between agent and editor, after she lands a book deal but before publication, and finally after publication.

2. Is it appropriate to send an editor a thank-you gift after signing with them?

3. What are the things you love best about working with authors? What do you like the least? (In other words: how can I not get on your bad side and instead make me the author you *want* to work with?)

Roland D. Yeomans said...

There is a "Murder Scene" Blogfest going on. Come and read my entry if you're of a mind

Tana said...

Um Lila? Your 'click to enter' button doesn't work.

My pub question? I have none. But (per Jill Kremer's comment above) if you ever feel the need to read for pleasure, I'll gladly send you one of my many novels taking up precious megabytes on my hard-drive. Just the thought of human eyes feasting upon them makes me glow. You are human, right?

Bish Denham said...

Fantastic! Seems like all the best questions have been asked so I've just sit back and read the answers.

Anonymous said...

Thank you all for asking such wonderful (and funny) questions!

I am going through them now. The first answer will go up on Monday on my blog. So glad to have you all as followers and I hope it's well worth your time!

Julia Karr said...

Very cool! So many questions already asked! I'll just go over to Ms. Booksniper's blog and wait for the answers!
Very nice interview, LiLa!

Liza said...

No questions yet. I'm just going to read, learn and if today's guest post is any indication, enjoy. Thank you Lisa and Laura and thank you Book Sniper.

PJ Hoover said...

That's what I love about writing most of all. I want to do it all them time. When I'm not writing, I want to read, market, learn. Everything can and does relate to it!

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

Ohhhhhhhhh...I love her already. So glad she at least has a title that lets us know her gender. I HATE when you don't know and then you have that constant need to say s/he in reference to him/her. You could use "they," but God knows you can't go around being all grammatically stupid when you're a writer.

I haven't any questions because my brain is utterly fried at the moment. But I will be sure to go follow Ms.Booksniper. I'm pretty sure we'll become BFFE's now.

CL said...

Dear Ms. Booksniper,

Thank you for taking our questions! Here's mine:
Everyone seems to be talking YA and MG. What about PBs? Isn't there still a place for PB writers in the world?

Christina Farley said...

Wow! This is just amazing. I'm so excited to read all of your answers!

What are your thoughts on MG historical fiction? What books do you recommend in that genre that work and why?

Thank you!

Heather Zundel said...

If it is not too late to sneak in a question:

Many to most publishing houses nowadays say they are agent-only submissions. How true is this? I have heard various stories on this, including there is a day where editors/assistants/interns "volunteer" a day (aka they are locked inside a room with pizza and grub) and go through all the unagented submissions. Some other stories vehemently deny this claim.

Mostly curiosity to dispel urban myth, but I would love to find out if this is true.

And I am really looking forward to your blog!

Ruth Donnelly said...

Awesome! I'm a new follower, and I'm very happy to know about Ms. Book Sniper. Following up on a previous question, what about chapter books (for ages 7 - 10)? How hard are they to market, as opposed to longer middle grade novels?

Guinevere said...

Thanks for pointing me towards the Booksniper -- this looks like an awesome blog to read!

Susan Fields said...

Thanks for the link! I'm going over to check it out right now. My question: If a book can be read as a stand-alone, but the author also has plans for a series, how should he/she present it to an editor/agent?

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Congrats, Lisa N Laura, for getting agents and having your book published. Maybe your luck will rub off on me. You always have an interesting post. No questions from me. I'll just read her answers to the bloggers out there.

Have a great week. Wish me luck. I just sent a query off to Elena Roth for HIBBS, THE BEAR WITH 2 SHADOWS.

Gail said...

This was an awesome idea! And like you, I'm curious to know who the real Ms. Booksniper is. :-)

Ms. Booksniper: Someone in the publishing world who is open about vulnerabilities and hilarious at the same time? Love it!!!!You are too much fun...can we have a playdate if you're ever in Atlanta????

Don't call this a comeback

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