Welcome to the thrill-a-minute conclusion of Triplet Talk, a chat with Kate Schafer Testerman and her 3 brand-new clients: myself, Elizabeth Briggs, and Krista Van Dolzer.
I hope you've come here by way of the other 3 installments, or to be honest, it's not going to make a ton of sense! If you haven't and you'd like to start at the beginning, here are the links:
And now, Part 4, featuring last bits of advice, guns, and puppies! (Dum dum dum....)
Krista: I'll throw my last question out there, then, unless anyone has any others...?
Kate: Go ahead!
Krista: For Liz and Susan, now that you’ve reached the querying finish line, what do you wish you had known when you were back at the start gate? And for Kate, any last words of advice or encouragement you’d like to share with us?
Susan: As usual, I will twist that to my own purposes. Ha! I don't have much with the querying process, but I have to say: please, please, find the agent who's the RIGHT fit for you, not just any agent.
Krista: Susan, it sounds to me like you're saying that writers should only query those agents they'd genuinely like to work with. It doesn't do you any good to query someone you'd rather not sign with.
Susan: Yes, and don't just say yes to the first person who offers. Research, talk to clients.
And once you have an agent, communicate and make SURE it's still a right fit. I ended up leaving my previous agent after 3 years and it was petrifying to take the leap and leave that safety net, but I am so much happier now for my future. It was the right choice, and it's critical.
Liz: According to my husband I am THE most impatient person in the world. And when you hear stories like "I queried and the next day got an offer," it's hard to not think "THAT WILL BE ME." So I would have wanted to know that waiting doesn't always mean it will be a no, and to just be patient. Also good submission advice.
Krista: So true, Liz.
Kate: Let's see. Personal to you guys, I would say remember I'm always here, and you can always ask me anything! More generally, I think working on your writing now is good, but don't forget to get in some reading for pleasure too. When you all sign multi-book contracts, and have to deliver book two quickly, you'll miss these days of free time!
Susan: Yes, Liz! Kate, here's hoping!
Patience and perseverance.
Liz: Fingers crossed.
Krista: I've learned not to compare myself to others. Their successes aren't my failures, so I can cheer with them and cry with them. We really are all in this together (even if we're not all triplets, like the three of us).
Liz: Yeah, that is tough too. Everyone's journey is different.
Susan: Good point, Krista. Comparing does NOT work during subs.
Krista: Oh, I definitely read for pleasure. I get through, like, two books a week.
Kate: *is jealous*
Susan: Me too. I can't read much when first-drafting!
Krista: Hey, baby's gotta eat, mama's gotta read.
Kate: I read a lot more in those early days with Beau. Of course, I picked the WORST books! I mean, good books, but very bad for a new momma.
Susan: I read all of the Harry Potter books aloud to Child when I was nursing. We're about to start reading them together now...and I wonder if they'll sound vaguely familiar...
Krista: That's a fun thought, Susan.
How were they bad for a new mom, Kate?
Liz: I have no kids. But the dogs like to sit with me when I read. Very helpful.
Krista: Very helpful dogs, indeed, Liz.
Kate: Living Dead Girl by Liz Scott and Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan, to name a few. But also most of the Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner, and Diana Peterfreund's unicorn hunter books.
Liz: They sit on my feet when I write too.
Susan: Oh, love Diana's unicorn books.
Kate: Jake is keeping me company while I work.
Susan: Jake...the puppy?
Kate: Jake is one of my dogs, Dizzy is the other.
Susan: Ha! Because Jake the character keeps me company while I work...
Krista: Oh, I thought Susan's MC had somehow climbed out of her manuscript, and we were all going to find out that urban fantasy is REAL.
Kate: As well he should! I just realized what I said! Duh!
Liz: Susan's book is magic obviously.
Susan: Clearly. He has assumed puppy form.
Kate: There you go, Susan, next time you get stuck in the plot, turn Jake into a puppy.
Susan: I can say my agent told me to do that.
Liz: Good plan.
Kate: It's a cuddlier version of "blow something up."
Susan: Yes! Generally though I just like to bring in a gun. Krista and Liz, that might not work for you...
Liz: Totally works for my book.
Susan: *high-five Liz*
Krista: Uh, no. I'm pretty sure firearms aren't allowed in most middle schools... :)
Liz: I took a firearms class to research my book
Susan: Oh now I'm jealous.
Kate: OK, I should go get the boy.
Krista: See you guys later! It's been wonderful chatting!
Susan: Thank you so much!
Liz: Yeah this was fun!
Th-Th-That's All, Folks! We certainly had fun. I hope it was fun (or funny) for you too, and informative. It definitely shows that agents are people too--and that your relationship with your agent IS a professional one, but doesn't have to be all seriousness.
Also, I hope we intrigued you a little about our books!
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go write a scene where Jake turns into a puppy....