Monday, July 9, 2012

HARD TO SAY NO by Linda S. Glaz

It’s doggone hard to say no to a query for a good book.
But let me ask you this—when you walk into a book store and drop ten to twenty dollars on a book, are you willing to accept only good? OR do you expect the book to be very exceptional? I guess that’s what it all boils down to. But I’m not sure who hurts more when there is so much potential and we have to say no.
Let’s look at a few reasons why.
First and foremost would be sending me things I don’t handle. It’s pretty straightforward on our site that we don’t handle profanity and explicit sexuality. If your little sister or grandma would blush, we don’t take it. I’ve received more than a dozen queries for erotica this last two weeks alone. And if the query makes me blush…
Second, let your masculine characters be masculine. Men don’t talk a lot. They get to the point and move on. They don’t internally whine as much as women do (sorry, ladies), but they are different creatures than we are. They aren’t constantly trying to figure out their feelings. When they look at girl, they don’t stop and think about the weather forecast. They’re GUYS!
Third, don’t age yourself as an author if you’re over 50 by having your young characters named Wilma and Horace. Not gonna happen in 2012. Or have them say things like groovy, golly, and “gee she’s swell!” as well as a myriad of other things that younger people today wouldn’t say. This goes for internal dialogue as well.
Fourth, please don’t preach in your novels. If you are writing inspirational, be subtle, go easy. NO one, not even another Christian wants to be preached at. Characters can have faith-filled existence, but you don’t need to ram it down the reader’s throat. Even a scene for coming to know Christ doesn’t need to be preachy.
Okay, four reasons why I might say no. There are others: poor grammar, punctuation, no sense of formatting whatsoever, bad attitude in query letter, informing me that God told you to write the book and so I have to take it. And on and on and on.
Next week I hope to give you a few hints about what an agent loves to see. At least, from my perspective.
Have a good one.


Timothy Fish said...

One of the Awana kids at church is named Horace.

Audrey said...

Thank you for sharing this. I copied it and put it in my folder of "important tips". I look forward to next week's blog revealing what agents do like to see. This kind of information is very helpful to those of us just starting out in the writing world!

Joanne Sher said...

LOVE these tips, Linda. Thanks :)

sally apokedak said...


Sorry you had to endure the erotica. Yuck.

Timothy, there is a difference between purposely naming a character Horace because his parents are old-fashioned or it's a family name, and having several characters name with old-fashioned names for no reason at all. I bet agents can see the difference, just as readers can.

In my WIP my characters have some old fashioned names, but they are Russian Orthodox Alaskans and they are named for the saints.

Linda Glaz said...

Sally, you hit it right on the head. When there is a reason for a difference, something that stands out, then there's a purpose. And then it will make sense. Maybe the kid is bullied growing up cuz daddy named him Sue. Or Marion, or any number of names that would seem inappropriate or outdated. Like with anything else in a story, what is the reason behind it. Nicely said!

Anonymous said...

Is it my imagination or is it rare to get manuscripts/queries that follow the basic rules? I haven't sent any manuscripts or queries, but when I submit material for contests, etc. the first thing I do is make sure I follow the formatting/submission rules.

Linda Glaz said...

They don't come that way very often, but I've been guilty of it myself, (years ago) so I can't complain too loud. But it would be nice.

Shaving Set said...

Delighted that I found your site, fantastic info. I will bookmark and try to visit more frequently.