Book Deal, Querying, and The Voice

Posted Feb 9 2012, 8:00 am in , , , , , , , , , , ,

Before I get to talking about TV for today, I want to announce the news I shared on Twitter yesterday. I have an offer from eKensington. I’ve been holding the news for a couple of weeks and I’m really excited to be able to share. I got word from my editor (so cool to be able to day that), Peter Sentfleben, that I could go ahead and announce. Details are still being ironed out and I’ll post more as I learn about it. Virtual chocolate for everyone!

On to my regular TV talk. This past week, The Voice started its second season. I never watched The Voice last year, and I don’t know that I would’ve tuned in this season, but I had towels to fold and it came on after the Super Bowl, so I watched. For those of you who didn’t watch, contestants are pre-screened and invited to audition for the 4 judges, so there is no terrible singing like you get during the first episodes of American Idol. The judges are Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, Cee Lo Green, and Adam Levine.

The auditions are blind in that the judges face the audience and can’t see the performer. If they are interested in adding the performer to their team, they press a button which will turn their chairs around and light up a sign that reads “I want you.”

I was fascinated as I watched. If more than one judge turns around, the performer gets to decide which judge he/she wants to work with. What surprised me is that it appeared that for most of the people this happened to, they didn’t know who to pick. I’m sure they didn’t go into it thinking that all 4 judges would want them, but didn’t they at least dream a little. Isn’t it natural to think to yourself, “What if?”

But then I got to thinking…

I know this seems like it has nothing to do with querying and finding an agent, but to me it does. A lot of advice out there will tell you to create tiers for the agents you want to query. Your dream agents, followed by the next level and so on. I can’t say that I had any idea of a dream agent. Are there agents that I’ve followed on line and thought they would be good to work with? Sure. Anyone who is serious about publishing will do that, but I didn’t have my heart set on anyone.

By the time I queried my agent, Fran Black, I had already queried lots. I revised the manuscript in between bouts of querying. I got requests for partials and fulls. And I continued to query. I didn’t stop just because some agents requested material.

I was a self-described query slut. I would query any agent who might consider my manuscript. That’s not to say I queried someone who only reps mystery (I’m not dumb), but I queried agents who offered any indication they might take on romance or women’s fiction. Some people would tell you not to do that, but my goal was to find someone who loved my book.

That’s my dream agent.

Within a couple of weeks of querying Fran, she contacted me for the full and then shortly after offered representation.

She loved my book.

The thing is, Fran wasn’t on my original agent list. In fact, she wasn’t anywhere on my radar. She wasn’t on QueryTracker or Agent Query. I found her on the Absolute Write forums, where someone briefly mentioned her and then I checked out her PM page and her web site. (Sorry, Fran, if you now get flooded with queries.)

In thinking about those performers on The Voice, I can see now why the decision is so hard. They get a few precious moments to try to figure out who loves their voice the most. Is it the one who turned around first? Or is the one who listened to nearly the entire song before deciding?

If a performer went into the audition banking on one particular judge to pick her, would she then be disappointed when a different judge turned around and not her top pick?

I think that by setting up a dream agent list, you’re selling yourself short. Do your research and know who the players are, but search until you find the one who loves your work, your voice.

Although I missed a few of the performers, my favorite so far is Juliet Simms:

Do you have a favorite yet for The Voice?



6 responses to “Book Deal, Querying, and The Voice”

  1. Nice comparison to the tv show The Voice. I too caught my first episode following the Super Bowl and really enjoyed the show. Christina was so pushed up and out I think my son was hoping and waiting for the laws of nature to take place and have everything pop out it was wound up so tight in that dress. I don’t have a favorite singer yet, but the show is a nice refreshing change to Idol.
    I think my dream agent is the same as yours – anyone that will love my book!

    • I snorted at your comment about Christina’s outfit. I don’t know how she can move dressed like that. I would be totally worried about popping out. She must be glued in to prevent any wardrobe malfunctions. 🙂

  2. taureanw says:


  3. Congrats on the offer, Shannyn!! That is GREAT!