It’s been a while since I wrote a stats post! The other day I compiled months of data. The results… In 6 months I requested 60 books. They came in at any time: 19 in April, only 3 in July. (Median: 12 requested queries per month.) The rate of when I requested them was more… Continue reading Request Statistics
Some agents want queries to say why you’re the best person to write this book. I didn’t include this in my query guide because our agency doesn’t care. I assume you wrote this book because it was in your heart and brain and soul. I assume you researched, edited, checked, and composed the best book… Continue reading Why should YOU write this book?
Yesterday I talked about the Tolkien-retelling issue. Let’s go over another common problem: historical comparison. Watch your medieval facts. The Dark Ages weren’t idyllic. Sure, it’s fantasy and you can make stuff up. But why is bronze stronger than steel and horses able to gallop all day long? History buffs will rip you apart unless… Continue reading Historical accuracy in fantasy
If you follow the blog, you know I support the We Need Diverse Books movement. All-white, all-straight, male-dominant casts are boring and unrealistic. But while diversity is important, doing it wrong can do even more harm than yet another white male hero. It’s hard to know whether you portrayed minorities the right way just from… Continue reading More about race in queries
A recent querier made a unique claim: their book, which had a male protagonist, passed the Bechdel test. The Bechdel test requires: at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. A female protagonist is not necessary. But it’s rare to find a Bechdel-passing story with a male lead.… Continue reading Bechdel and a male protagonist
One writer submitted a story about a protagonist whose “deviancy” protected him from the sexual repression of our modern culture. Consequently, the protagonist liked sleeping with men. My first reaction was astonishment. You meant gay, not deviant, right? I forget these ideas still circulate in uneducated places. The writer didn’t know they were being offensive:… Continue reading Get the facts straight
A query today included a paragraph like this one: The way the characters perceive the antagonist shows the many shades of grey along the scale of morality. Some relationships in the book are LGBTQ. It also passes the Bechdel and Mako Mori tests. All three of these explicit mentions are okay to include. The first… Continue reading Bechdel and other important points
Many others have answered this question, from Daniel Jose Older to the We Need Diverse Books campaign. I’m answering: Should you write about diverse elements in the query? Your protagonist is bi. But it’s a ghost comedy set in Missouri: their sexuality isn’t the focus. Do you mention their sexuality or not? On the one… Continue reading Should you write diversity?
Today I got a query that was extremely Islamophobic: Muslims attack the rest of the world and our American everyman must save the earth and destroy the Muslims. I’ve also received queries that have racist, sexist, homophobic/biphobic, ableist, xenophobic, or transphobic undertones. The problem isn’t the query: the problem is the book. If you’ve written… Continue reading Prejudice isn’t attractive
Diversity just means reality: a story that actually relates to the world we live in. The white, able-bodied, neurotypical, twenty-something, cis, hetero, male stereotype got old a long time ago. If you’re totally confused, go look up Malinda Lo and Corinne Duyvis for a good introduction. If your novel features diversity in the forefront (a… Continue reading If your novel includes diversity