Over at YA Confidential, we have a tradition. Every Thursday, we post a question for our followers--and every Saturday, one of the commenters will be selected to choose a title from our Vault! ARCs, signed books, awesome books... Anything we have--you get to choose.
We are thrilled to bring our From-The-Vault question to Cupid's site today!
Today's question for our YA Confidential Judges:
What was it like to play agent-for-a-day and decide who made it past the first stage?
Cambria: Empowering. Kind of God-like. Or maybe Donald Trump-like. You're fired!!!! Or wait -- OPRAH. I felt like OPRAH! Agent Round for YOU, and YOU, and YOUUUUU! No, I'm totally kidding. I felt like an overheated chump who had to pick between mint chocolate chip and cookie dough ice cream when it's obvious they're both equally delicious and satisfying flavors but to have both would surely mean trouble. To simplify, I mean that I DO NOT envy agents in the least bit. We only read a fraction (a stellar fraction, I might add) of what an agent may see in one day, and I was thiiiiis close to having a nervous breakdown. You see, I'm an indecisive person by nature and I hate the prospect of potentially hurting someone's feelings...so having to choose only a small amount to move on was sort of stressful. I feel a renewed sense of respect and awe for literary agents, that's for sure. And now I understand why so many of them are Vodka and/or Scotch connoisseurs. ;)
Copil: In a word, HARROWING! There were so many good queries and stories, it was hard to pick only a handful. I have new respect for agents who do it on a regular basis. Personally, I was amazed at the consistently high quality of the entries. Perhaps it's because I've seen so many posts about bad queries, I was expecting at least SOME of the entries to be barely readable. Nope. Obviously the people who entered the contest have been taking Cupid's advice to heart!
Cristin: The most challenging thing for me was trying to separate the quality of a query from my personal level of interest in the story. Some queries were great but the subject didn't capture me, and others weren't as strong but I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt because I really liked the idea of the story. It was hard, but for the purposes of this contest, I tried to be as objective as possible. Of course, this is a problem agents generally don't have, since they're free to only pick projects that appeal to them and pass on things that may be very well done but don't excite them. It reminded me again of how subjective this business is. Even with a great query and wonderful first pages, you still need to find an agent who really feels your material!
Karen: I have a new understanding and sympathy for agents. I read great queries with mediocre pages, or vice versa. Then I read some queries for a genre or story that I'd never imagine myself being interested in, but the author won me over with a great hook and strong writing. One thing that frustrated me was when I read a fabulous query and sample, but the word count was WAY off. If the word count is much too short or much too long then I worried the story must be underdeveloped or way too wordy. The YA entries definitely dominated the contest. That just shows how tough the competition is for YA writers. Your story really has to stand out in you're querying a YA project. As much as I love paranormal creatures and magic, it didn't take long for most of those queries to start blurring together.
Now it's your turn! One lucky commenter will win the ARC or title of their choice from the YA Confidential vault! To enter, simply answer Today's Question in the comments section. Make sure you leave us your email address (so we can get in touch with the winner!).
Could you read slush for a living?