Tuesday, October 29, 2013

CLAN - Kirkus Reviews

Hello, everyone. Two more weeks until CLAN is out! I got my first book review!

Kirkus Reviews: "In this fast-paced novel, Lovejoy uses economical prose while developing the story’s characters and setting in detail. She also meets the challenge of creating memorable characters in a world of identical people..." (Read more here!)



Thursday, October 24, 2013

Agent Interview - JESSICA REGEL

It's been a while since I interviewed literary agents. I am happy to report that today I am featuring my super agent Jessica Regel! 

Jessica is a literary agent at Foundry Literary + Media--an amazing agency full of talented agents such as herself. Jessica represents many stellar clients such as Emily Danforth, Adrienne Kress, and Lesley Livingston. She is a thorough enthusiastic, and hardworking agent: She works with the author on revising, planning, and putting together a powerful submission list. She is proactive, communicative, honest, and professional. If you're  an author on a search for an agent, I highly recommend putting Jessica on your query list. 

The picture on the right is my drawing of Jessica. I tried my best to capture her amazing hair! 

1) Thank you for joining us today, Jessica! What made you decide to become an agent?

I’ve always been a reader. I can remember as a first grader going to the library and carrying a stack of picture books taller than me up to the check-out desk. For me, with books, it was love at first sight and so I always knew I wanted to work with literature. Growing up in Iowa, I had no idea what a literary agent was. I assumed I’d grow up and work as a librarian or an English teacher. In fact, in high school I did work at my local library and one day I shelved The Guide to Literary Agents. I did my research and it sounded like the perfect job. So I sent out my paltry resume to the best fiction literary agencies in NYC and got offered a summer internship at the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. After the summer ended, I knew that I wanted to be an agent—an advocate for the author’s career—and the agency hired me as an assistant. A few years after that I started representing my own authors and just this past August I moved over to Foundry Literary + Media. Really, I’ve been very lucky.

2) Awesome you got your dream job! What are you currently looking for and what catches your interest in a query letter?

Great writing with a strong hook catches my eye in a query letter. I’m specifically looking for Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction and Nonfiction, as well as Adult Fiction.

For YA I represent high concept stories paired with great writing. I’m always up for a contemporary story that is thought-provoking—something that has an interesting non-fiction hook. For example, I represent JC Carleson whose book THE TYRANT’S DAUGHTER will be published by Knopf Children’s Books in February. In this novel the main character’s father is the King of an unnamed Middle Eastern country and when he’s killed in a coup she is forced to seek asylum in the US, where she must integrate into a regular US High School. Obviously this book draws on some riveting real life events.

I also represent YA genre (magical realism, sci-fi, fantasy) when it’s grounded in reality. Specifically I’m looking for sophisticated thrillers, suspense or horror. I’d love to find the YA Secret History or Fingersmith!! I don’t shy away from gritty or edgy stories. I’d also love to find a really unique YA love story.

For MG, I’m looking for sophisticated and timeless stories. Something like Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz or The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann.

I’m also on a crusade to find YA and MG memoirs and narrative non-fiction.

On the adult side, I represent general fiction. Fiction that borders the line between literary and commercial. For example, I represent Margot by Jillian Cantor, which is a novel about Anne Frank’s older sister Margot and reimagines what Margot’s life would’ve been like if she’d survived the Holocaust. I just finished reading The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion and I’d love to find something like that—a love story that I haven’t read before.

3) Do you help your clients revise his/her manuscript prior to submission? If so, do you have any revision tips for aspiring authors?

Of course I’d love for a book to come in 100% polished and ready to submit to editors—but that very rarely happens. Typically, I go through one or two rounds of edits with an author. You only get one shot with an editor, so whatever I submit out needs to be as perfect as possible. I’ll work with the author to make sure the characters are well-developed, the plotting is tight, and the language reads properly. My tip for an aspiring author is to make sure that their vision for the book matches their agent’s vision. Donna Tartt and Michael Pietsch did a fantastic interview with each other that addresses the importance of the author-editor relationship and I think the same applies to the author-agent relationship.

4) What is your average work day like?

It’s hard to describe an average day, because every day is so different, but here goes: I usually get into the office at 9 a.m. The first thing I do is catch up on my emails—mainly responding to authors and editors who have questions. If it’s a day that I’m submitting a new project I’ll reach out to the editors that I want to submit the book to and pitch them the project. Then I’ll email them the materials. Most days I have lunch with an editor during which we talk about our books—what I’m representing and what they’re looking to acquire. After lunch I’ll return to the office, check emails, check voicemail, and then possibly try to edit a project that I’m working on. (But, usually because of all the emails that I receive, I don’t have time to edit in the office. Instead, I’ll edit over the weekend. Similarly, the pages I read from clients that I haven’t yet signed on I’ll read after business hours.) Some days I’ll also have an afternoon meeting—a client, a film person, an international editor that is in town. And then around 6:00 I’ll leave to meet an editor for drinks—again, to talk books!

5) That's a busy schedule! You have always recommended great books to me so I am curious... What are some of your favorite books and why?

As I dashed off the five books that immediately came to mind, I realized how many of them have a strong magical element. Clearly I like a little magic in my novels! The other thing these books have in common is that while I was reading them I was completely absorbed—it’s that “can’t sleep, can’t eat, can’t think until I finish this book” feeling. That’s what I’m looking for when I take on a new author.  

Thank you for participating in the interview, Jessica! Readers: you can check out her page here to learn more about her. If you know of authors looking for an agent, please share this interview with them! 




If you're an author, editor, agent, or illustrator and would like a five question interview and a drawing of your character (or of yourself), email me at rtlovejoy (at) yahoo (dot) com. Check out the FAQ page for more information! 

Monday, October 21, 2013

News Week - 10/21/13

CLAN release is about 3 weeks away!

Some news:

   --CLAN is now on Goodreads! 

   --CLAN eBooks are ready to go. Book Reviewers: if you'd like a digital copy to review on your blog, please email me at: rtlovejoy (at) yahoo (dot) com

   --CLAN got a positive review from Kirkus! I will update once the review is public.



Wednesday, October 9, 2013

CLAN - Get Ready!





CLAN scheduled to be born... next month!


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Trip - Golden Autumn in Fairbanks

Back from Fairbanks, Alaska! We flew into Anchorage and then took a 6-7 hour road trip to Fairbanks, which is north of Anchorage and Denali. We went for the solar max; the solar activity is supposed to peak this fall. Alas, when we were there, it was supposedly the weakest solar max in 100 years and we didn't see the northern lights this time. At least in 2011, we did see the lights, so it wasn't too terrible to miss it this year. On the bright side, the autumn leaves were beautifully gold and bright everywhere. We had a pretty surreal walk through the birch tree forest.

I hope you like pictures of mountains... there are lots of mountains:

If you ever go to Fairbanks, go to the Turtle Club. Their "small" ribeye steak is giant like a slab of beast. The baked potato is better than you'd ever think a baked potato could be. And it's got turtle decor. And a mug of Irish coffee with mint syrup...


Monday, October 7, 2013

Writing Tip - Line Edit, Copy Edit, and Proof

Following up on my post on the developmental edit, I am writing out my experience with the line edit. Once you've turned your developmental edit fix in, the next step is the line edit! The line editor will examine your language, and look out for any micro issues such as grammar, awkward sentences, punctuation use, and other bloopers. The editor will also point out smaller areas that need work, clarification, or cutting. I asked my editor to look over my developmental revision as well to make sure I addressed all the big picture issues correctly. For me, the line editing passes were the most challenging parts. (I did three line edits with three line editors.) I read my manuscript 1000 times so it can be a trial to intensely focus on each sentence. Keep in mind to hang in there! It's also the last chance to do any content changes so the pressure is high. I try to remember that a shark dies if it stops moving--I must keep going through the edits, even if it means tackling the small, easy stuff first. Once I get in the groove, the line edit can be quite pleasant--like tuning a guitar to find the perfect pitch. I find this stage to be the most difficult time to let go of the manuscript. It's hard to accept that it's finished! Because it must be finished to move on to copy and proof. It feels like I could work on it forever! However, there comes a time to let go and to know that you have done your best.

I work in the videogame industry and the final editing stage is a pretty similar process. Once the game is content-locked (no more changes to the art and gameplay) we play through the game to test for bugs. Only showstopping bugs get fixed. At this stage, any change is risky. It's the same for books--the more you change things at the final stage, the more new errors you might introduce.
Note the number of editors vary for every project, but it's generally good to have these editors: developmental editor, line editor, copy editor, and proofreader. One editor cannot catch all the errors, so it's best to have multiple editors. 
Once the line edit is done, it's time for the copy edit! Before you submit your manuscript to the copy editor, be sure you are totally done with all the content and you are happy with all the scenes in the book. This is the stage where the manuscript gets closely examined for grammar, punctuation, and fact checking. The copy editor is only looking at language and technical elements. A copy editor will also provide you with a style sheet, which contains the unique words in your book and how it's spelled and written--this is for the proofreader to reference.
Next up... proofreader! I have two rounds of proofreading with two different proofreaders. This proofreader catch any errors that might have escaped the copy editor's eyes.

I often read a few more times to be sure. But eventually, I have to stop rereading. It's time for the book to be formatted. 

I don't think the shock will fully hit me until the book is out. I'll miss writing CLAN! At the same time, I'll be happy to finally share what I've been working on.

I hope you found this editing information helpful!