Literary Viking

Literary agent at D4EO Literary Agency. Picture book writer. Wife, mother, geek girl. 

“[I]t is well to have as many holds upon happiness as possible.”

—   Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey (via observando)

“The secret of happiness is to face the fact that the world is horrible, horrible, horrible.”

—   Bertrand Russell (via observando)
laurendestefano:

Okay, so two days after I have announced that I will not be able to participate in the gishwhes event, it is abundantly clear that these messages are still going to keep pouring in. I am omitting the name here to respect the commenter’s privacy. I wasn’t going to say anything more on the topic, but this one has me actually shaking as I type this.

1.) I can never say it better than Neil Gaiman’s “GRRM is not your bitch” blog, which is perfect in every way. I can only say it in my own way: I am a person. I wake up every morning with my own life experiences, challenges, struggles, and shit to do, just like everyone else on this planet. When I am taking pictures of my cats and live tweeting television shows, that is me taking some time out to do something fun that I enjoy, and hey, maybe my fans will enjoy it too. I am not a one-woman factory that exists to write books and then spend my free time catering to the demands of others.

2.) I cannot please everyone. Setting this gishwhes thing aside, literally every day, every day, since March 2011 when my first book was published, I have received at least one complaint from someone on the internet about something I did to make them unhappy. One day it was that I tweeted about pasta. Another day it was that I RTed too many other authors. One day I managed to make a very passionate GoT fan positively livid because I was not appreciating the depth of the dragon story arc to his satisfaction. And this is just the stuff I get that’s unrelated to my books. This is literally strangers telling me what I should say and also how I should spend my time. And no, that is never ever ever going to happen. Dictating what I do is not on your best day going to work with me. If you don’t believe me, go ask my fourth grade teacher who tried valiantly to get me to stop doodling and writing stories during social studies class.

3.) My cats make a lot of people happy. They make me happy. And this month, one of them very nearly died. I drained my energy and my bank account into saving him. I sat on my bedroom floor and cried I can’t tell you how many times in the past few days. I am not sorry if you feel that time would have been better spent writing a 140 word story so that a team of gishwhes participants have a shot at a vacation with misha collins.

4.) I have said it before and I will say it again: I am thankful for every fan that I get. I solemnly swear to write the best book for you that I can, every time. I will give it 100% every time. I can’t guarantee that you will love it, but I can guarantee that I will give it all of my heart. I will sacrifice dinners with friends. I will avoid phone calls. I will charge through my own crippling self doubt, choking on the smoke of my failures until I come through to the other side. I will read all of your emails. I will take your asks. I will read every comment you post on my wall, even if it is hateful, because I want you to be heard. But who I am and how I spend my time outside of that is MINE. There seems to be this belief among some people that authors exist to write books and that we spend the rest of our time in a boat sipping rum & coke. In fact, we are maintaining our personal relationships, handling emergencies, talking friends through a bad breakup, helping a relative in rehab, burying our loved ones who passed away, visiting our elderly and dying relatives in nursing homes, and yes, tweeting stupid comments about television shows.

5.) Buying a book is not buying an author. When you buy a muffin, do you email the baker to demand to know what he is doing with his free time that he is not currently baking more delicious muffins for you to eat right now? Do you think that because there are no blueberry muffins that day that he is wasting his time spending the day with his family? No, of course not, because that would be insane. So don’t do this to authors. You want our books? Great, buy them, awesome. Our job is to make sure they’re written and turned in on time, and in exchange you get to do whatever you want with that book after you’ve bought it or borrowed it from the library. Tear it to shreds. Insult the prose. Love it. Burn it. I don’t care, that’s your book. But the book is all that’s yours. Not me. You do not own stock into my life.
6.) Never talk to me like this. Never, ever talk to me like this. It is absolutely uncalled for. I don’t know you. I have written a book for you to read and so concludes the list of things you have a right to ask for.

laurendestefano:

Okay, so two days after I have announced that I will not be able to participate in the gishwhes event, it is abundantly clear that these messages are still going to keep pouring in. I am omitting the name here to respect the commenter’s privacy. I wasn’t going to say anything more on the topic, but this one has me actually shaking as I type this.

1.) I can never say it better than Neil Gaiman’s “GRRM is not your bitch” blog, which is perfect in every way. I can only say it in my own way: I am a person. I wake up every morning with my own life experiences, challenges, struggles, and shit to do, just like everyone else on this planet. When I am taking pictures of my cats and live tweeting television shows, that is me taking some time out to do something fun that I enjoy, and hey, maybe my fans will enjoy it too. I am not a one-woman factory that exists to write books and then spend my free time catering to the demands of others.

2.) I cannot please everyone. Setting this gishwhes thing aside, literally every day, every day, since March 2011 when my first book was published, I have received at least one complaint from someone on the internet about something I did to make them unhappy. One day it was that I tweeted about pasta. Another day it was that I RTed too many other authors. One day I managed to make a very passionate GoT fan positively livid because I was not appreciating the depth of the dragon story arc to his satisfaction. And this is just the stuff I get that’s unrelated to my books. This is literally strangers telling me what I should say and also how I should spend my time. And no, that is never ever ever going to happen. Dictating what I do is not on your best day going to work with me. If you don’t believe me, go ask my fourth grade teacher who tried valiantly to get me to stop doodling and writing stories during social studies class.

3.) My cats make a lot of people happy. They make me happy. And this month, one of them very nearly died. I drained my energy and my bank account into saving him. I sat on my bedroom floor and cried I can’t tell you how many times in the past few days. I am not sorry if you feel that time would have been better spent writing a 140 word story so that a team of gishwhes participants have a shot at a vacation with misha collins.

4.) I have said it before and I will say it again: I am thankful for every fan that I get. I solemnly swear to write the best book for you that I can, every time. I will give it 100% every time. I can’t guarantee that you will love it, but I can guarantee that I will give it all of my heart. I will sacrifice dinners with friends. I will avoid phone calls. I will charge through my own crippling self doubt, choking on the smoke of my failures until I come through to the other side. I will read all of your emails. I will take your asks. I will read every comment you post on my wall, even if it is hateful, because I want you to be heard. But who I am and how I spend my time outside of that is MINE. There seems to be this belief among some people that authors exist to write books and that we spend the rest of our time in a boat sipping rum & coke. In fact, we are maintaining our personal relationships, handling emergencies, talking friends through a bad breakup, helping a relative in rehab, burying our loved ones who passed away, visiting our elderly and dying relatives in nursing homes, and yes, tweeting stupid comments about television shows.

5.) Buying a book is not buying an author. When you buy a muffin, do you email the baker to demand to know what he is doing with his free time that he is not currently baking more delicious muffins for you to eat right now? Do you think that because there are no blueberry muffins that day that he is wasting his time spending the day with his family? No, of course not, because that would be insane. So don’t do this to authors. You want our books? Great, buy them, awesome. Our job is to make sure they’re written and turned in on time, and in exchange you get to do whatever you want with that book after you’ve bought it or borrowed it from the library. Tear it to shreds. Insult the prose. Love it. Burn it. I don’t care, that’s your book. But the book is all that’s yours. Not me. You do not own stock into my life.

6.) Never talk to me like this. Never, ever talk to me like this. It is absolutely uncalled for. I don’t know you. I have written a book for you to read and so concludes the list of things you have a right to ask for.

tyleroakley:

DOGS ARE SUCH GLORIOUS CREATURES.

(Source: lucas-com-k, via lostinhistory)

Anonymous said: Would agents rather receive a picture book dummy or a portfolio from an author/illustrator?

If you’re an author/illustrator a good dummy. If you’re an illustrator only a portfolio. 

Anonymous said: Recently I've come across an author whose work reaches the same audience I'm aiming for, but I'm not sure who her agent is. Do you know of a way to find a published authors agent?

Read the acknowlegements in the back of the book or subscribe to Publisher’s Marketplace.

Anonymous said: I am a male writing a contemporary young adult novel in first person as a 16 year old female. I know The Faults in our stars is that way but the author is already established as a writer. Will most agents automatically reject a new male author writing as a female? Would it be better to sign the query with my initials and let the cat out of the bag if it gets beyond the query stage?

It doesn’t matter what junk is in your trunk. It matters that the book is good.

Anonymous said: When an agent requests your manuscript how long should you give them to read before following up?

Three months unless the submission guidelines state otherwise.

nowheretomove said: What advice do you have for young people interested in a career as a literary agent? Is there anything you wish you'd known when you started?

Marry well or live with your parents. It takes a long time to actually make a living. Try to go to college in New York City. There are plenty of instances for paid internships. It is one of the last careers on the planet that can still be obtained via apprenticeship.