Monday, June 11, 2018

Tip Time

This month's tip is inspired by alllllllll the books I snagged at BEA this year:

June's tip is this: read.

It sounds super basic and kind of like a cop-out tip, but I promise it's not!  It's an incredibly important one!  Reading current and bestselling books in your genre is an essential way to do many important things:
  • learn about trends in the market
  • see what kinds of themes and tropes are commonly used in the genre you write in
  • gain insight into how different authors successfully achieve different things (e.g. creating two distinct POVs, walking the line between sparse worldbuilding and micromanaging the readers' imagination, transitioning between chapters, creating tension, etc.)
  • see what has already been done so you don't try to send out a project that already exists
  • and more!

It's important for agents to stay on top of what's selling well, too, so I completely understand that a task as simple as "read" can still be hard to do. I often need to stop and force myself to do it!  It's easy to get sucked into your own projects and forget to take the time to read a book that has already been published and is not connected to you in any way.  There's always so much to do as an agent and as an author, which means taking the time to just READ can induce strong feelings of guilt--but then I tell myself that I'm making essential updates to my current market knowledge...♫ and then I don't feel soooo baaaad! ♫ 

This tip is actually similar to last month's tip, which involved reading deal reports on Publishers Marketplace and setting up camp in your local bookstore--it's all about staying informed!

Being ahead of the curve is a big plus for querying authors, and making sure that you read in your genre helps and are aware of what's selling in it ensures that you won't waste time pursuing an out-of-date trend and can even help you figure out how to get ahead of the next wave!  And as I'm sure you know, the more you read, the better your writing gets!  You get to kick back and watch NYT bestsellers and other writing wizards build three-dimensional characters or perfectly utilize showing moments to evoke a particular feeling/idea and then implement their tricks in your own work.  

So be sure to take time to productively relax (one my favorite things to do) and take a free master class with a great book!