18
Sep
So, about 15% + 20% agent fees. IF an American writer is represented by a foreign agency, do they take the 20% or -- is it your main agency 15% and all other agencies, 20%.
— Anonymous

I am not sure I understand your question. 

If any writer is represented by NL we take the standard 15% commission of domestic sales. 

When there are co-agents involved—so in foreign sales, the commission is higher, because they are also taking a percentage of the foreigns. This is industry standard.

18
Sep
I can't find a straight answer for this: "children's books" is listed as a separate category from PB, Early Readers, etc., as is MG - so what is "Children's books" supposed to be??
— Anonymous

Children’s books encompasses all these things

18
Sep
Hi -- who would be the best NL agent to query with a YA high fantasy that begins in one culture and ends up in another? You all seem so great!
— Anonymous

Suzie

18
Sep
I have a blog that doesn't have much to do with publishing or writing. Can I just create a page on my site that relates to that or does it have to be completely separate?
— Anonymous

I don’t think it matters if it doesn’t have much to do with publishing or writing. It can still be part of your brand—unless of course it can’t. (you decide). So yeah, a page with “books” works. 

18
Sep
Two questions- What are your thoughts on authors like Phyllis A Whitney and Mary Higgins Clark who basically rewrite the same story just with minor tweaks and changes and different locations? Is that something that really happens anymore? And going through my twilight book shelf I am interested in how some of the books found publishers. I can't really talk bad since I was one of the purchasers of these books but one is just the experience of one woman and another is written by a teenager.
— Anonymous

So Mary Higgins Clark can do whatever she wants. Because she’s Mary Higgins Clark. 

Also, there are a lot of readers who want the same thing. They find an author they like or a genre they like and they want to know what they’re getting. This is why category romance novels do so well. There’s a formula to the plot, readers know what they’re getting and they want that. 

Would it be harder now, in a market that is oversaturated, for a non-brand name author or a debut author to publish a book that feels like something that’s already out there? Yes. Why would a publisher take on a Mary Higgins Clark knock off if they already have the original?

Also and unrelated, some teenagers are exceptionally talented writers. 

18
Sep
What happens if an agent gets a query for something they don't represent, but it's a fit for another agent at the agency, do you pass the query along to someone else at the agency?
— Anonymous

Yes, if it looks good.

18
Sep
Do you think there will ever come a day where agents and publishers no longer want characters to smoke cigarettes? I think it adds something to the characters in a fast way depending on how you describe the character and scene, but with everyone against smoking these days I wonder if it will spill into books. Thanks.
— Anonymous

This is going to depend on genre. 

I can actually think of a YA book where an editor asked the author to take out the smoking, arguing it didn’t add anything and the author agreed. And that was several years ago. 

So yes, I think that day is already here, but I think there are cases when the smoking makes sense in a manuscript or for a certain character. 

18
Sep
Are comps considered an absolute necessity in the query?
— Anonymous

So I’ve requested things without them, but comps have also tipped the scales and made me request something that I might not have based on the query alone. 

Do with that what you will.

18
Sep
Will any agents be attending writing conferences in the near future?
— Anonymous

Suzie has her schedule here: http://confessionsofawanderingheart.blogspot.com/p/events-conferences.html

Jaida and Danielle are going to SCBWI Arizona in Nov.

18
Sep
When is Jess Dallow taking clients? I would love to work with her!
— Anonymous

I think Jess needs a fan club. I’ve gotten several requests from people wanting to work with her and I don’t blame them! She’s fabulous.

She is currently looking for the right project to start with. If she finds something she loves and wants to work on, she’ll discuss with the team and potentially take on her first client.

For now, query Kathleen. If your ms sounds like it’s for Jess, it’ll get to her.

18
Sep
How does someone become an agent?
— Anonymous

This is a complicated question. 

It can be as easy as declaring on the internet, “I am an agent” and hanging out your own shingle. 

However, I wouldn’t recommend that. And if you did it I wouldn’t recommend any writers signing with you. 

My suggestion in terms of becoming an agent is 

1. Get an internship at an agency. We have our interns come into the office because you learn a lot that way, but some agencies take remote interns too.

2. Apply to be an assistant at an agency.

3. Either grow to be an agent at that agency or apply to be an agent at another agency.

This is a very network based industry, so the more connections you make in this process, the better.

18
Sep
Does Suzie prefer the queries to say Dear Suzie, or Dear Ms. Townsend?
— Anonymous

She has no preference. Suzie is fine.

18
Sep
I've bee given a lot of different advice on queries. What do I put in the bio section of the query if I have no credentials?
— Anonymous

Just a line or two about you.

18
Sep
Leap frogging onto the question/response about interns taking on clients, would it be redundant and waste of time to resubmit one's query after being passed over by a full agent? (If the query was rewritten due to being a stinker?)
— Anonymous

Interns taking on clients?!?! That’s not a thing. Or it shouldn’t be. They leave at the end of their internship. Also they’re not ready to take on clients.

Assistants taking on clients is a different story. 

However, at NL, you can’t actually query the assistants. You query an agent. If we think there’s potential but for whatever reason it isn’t right for us, we might pass it to an assistant. Who would then read and if they loved it, they might talk to us about taking it on. 

Unrelated. You can always rewrite and resubmit your query. What’s the worst that will happen?

18
Sep
Two weeks after I signed with a reputable agency, the agent/assistant leaves and I stay with head agent. I send her revisions shortly thereafter. I waited two months for a response. Last month, we set up a call to talk about revisions, but it never happened. Yesterday, I email for status and now she says she has other reading it as well. Should I be worried? It's been 4 mo since I signed. If she read it twice, why would she need others to read it? Is she giving me the run around? Thanks!!!!
— Anonymous

You should email your agent and politely share your concerns.

However, I often get second reads especially when I’ve read twice (or three times or more) because I’m close to the story. A second fresh pair of eyes can be really helpful.