Becoming a Member
Contact Us
Member's Page
Writers and Reviews
Calendar of Events
Writing Tips

10/2/00 7:09:44 PM  Opening "Chat Log 10/2/00"

FRR Mallory WRTR:   tonights guest is  Sheree Bykofsky, author and noted
Literary Agent
FRR Mallory WRTR:   Her books include; The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting
FRR Mallory WRTR:    and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Magazine
FRR Mallory WRTR:   we are using protocol tonight
FRR Mallory WRTR:   so please type a ! if you have a comment
FRR Mallory WRTR:   and a ? if you have a question
FRR Mallory WRTR:   please type a / or GA at the end of your comment
FRR Mallory WRTR:   please do not comment until called upon
FRR Mallory WRTR:   Welcome Sheree
ShereeBee:  Hi Mallory and everybody else.
ShereeBee:  Thanks for inviting me.
FRR Mallory WRTR:   our pleasure
ShereeBee:  I love talking about publishing. I feel so lucky to be an agent
FRR Mallory WRTR:   Sheree - How long have you been an agent?
ShereeBee:  I've worked in just about every area of publishing and I don't
think I've heard a question..
ShereeBee:  that I couldn't answer...
ShereeBee:  I'm celebrating my 10th Anniversary as a corporation
FRR Mallory WRTR:   How many new clients do you take on each year?
ShereeBee:  I take on about two new clients each month...
ShereeBee:  And many of my authors, I'm happy to say, write more than one book
ShereeBee:  I believe that more than half of my authors started out...
ShereeBee:  as first time authors. That makes me very proud
ShereeBee:  And I love to go to writer's conferences. I think I have
ShereeBee:  found at least one new writer each time
Kathi Smith 116:    ?
FRR Mallory WRTR:   what 'genre' do you prefer to market?
ShereeBee:  and those writers for some reason have been so special to me
ShereeBee:  that they've become good friends. Go ahead kathi
ShereeBee:  While Kathi is asking her question, I'll answer Mallory
Kathi Smith 116:    Do you deal mainly with Sci Fi writers or are you open to
others types of writing? ga
ShereeBee:  I can answer both of your questions at once
ShereeBee:  I don't rep Sci Fi writers at all--sorry to say
ShereeBee:  I love Sci Fi but I don't read it anymore and I don't know
ShereeBee:  the editors who buy it
HOST WRTR Paul: I'm back. Whew--Val tossed the Den keys too hard--crashed my
computer!   ;-)
ShereeBee:  I love to represent all areas of non-fiction, particularly
ShereeBee:  Hi Paul....pop culture, psychology, self help, business,
Kathi Smith 116:    ?
ShereeBee:  pop reference, humor, parenting, spiritual topics...and
FRR Mallory WRTR:   Kathi GA
Kathi Smith 116:    So mainly non-fiction? ga
ShereeBee:  much more...and I also love
ShereeBee:  fiction--particularly mysteries and commercial fiction
ShereeBee:  with a literary quality--also some literary fiction
ShereeBee:  I launched six new novelists. I represent what I love
FRR Mallory WRTR:   So that would be 'mainstream literature' with a few
mysteries possibly?
ShereeBee:  Fiction is harder, but when I take it on, I leave no stone
SPultz: ?
ShereeBee:  That's correct Mallory
FRR Mallory WRTR:   SPultz - GA
ShereeBee:  When I say commercial fiction, I mean like Bonfire of the
Vanities quintessentially speaking
FRR Mallory WRTR:   :::nods:::
ShereeBee:  One of the guests present is iming me. I'm happy to answer your
question in the forum
SPultz: how about fiction based on true life? ga
FRR Mallory WRTR:   Thank you Sheree - please direct all questions IN THE ROOM
FRR Mallory WRTR:   thank you
ShereeBee:  Fiction based on true life can be great. A great story. Great
writing. And it has to ....
ShereeBee:  just appeal to me. It can be great and still not be for me
ShereeBee:  Representing a writer is like getting married
SPultz: ?
FRR Mallory WRTR:   SPultz - GA
The13thDoctor:  ?
JustN327:   ?
FRR Mallory WRTR:   Doc - on deck
SPultz: do you only represent writers for novels, or also short stories?
ShereeBee:  I represent writers for novels and non-fiction...re short
ShereeBee:  stories, I hate to say that I have occasionally represented them
ShereeBee:  but as a rule I don't unless the writer is pretty famous
FRR Mallory WRTR:   Doc - GA         JustN327 - on deck
ShereeBee:  that's one of the hardest categories, unfortunately; I say
The13thDoctor:  is it harder to get fiction or non fiction published as a
first time author? ga
ShereeBee:  unfortunately because I do havea fondness for short stories
ShereeBee:  /
ShereeBee:  It is considerably harder to get fiction published
ShereeBee:  but if it is truly, truly great and you follow the rules and are
JsmnStrm:   ?
ShereeBee:  it is more than possible. as I said, I launched six new novelists
ShereeBee:  Whenever you hear about an author selling
ShereeBee:  their first book for a million dollars (which is very rare)
ShereeBee:  $5000 is more like it---it is almost never their first
ShereeBee:  effort. They always have about three other novels
ShereeBee:  sitting in the top shelf of the closet/
FRR Mallory WRTR:   JustN327 - GA    JsmnStrm - on deck
JustN327:   Being 15, Should I reveal my age when sending in articles to
JustN327:   Will it hurt or help? And will they take me seriously?
JustN327:   ga
ShereeBee:  That is sucha good question
ShereeBee:  I think it would depend on the query
ShereeBee:  Actually, I'm leaning toward not saying it if you really
ShereeBee:  can pull it off with such professional aplomb that no one would
ShereeBee:  And if the story deals with being 15, you don't need to say it;
the story will
ShereeBee:  But if you want people to give you encouragement for being
precocious, then there's no harm
ShereeBee:  you may get some attention where you wouldn't have....
FRR Mallory WRTR:   JsmnStrm - GA
JsmnStrm:   You said "follow the rules and be persistant", What do you mean,
follow the rules?
ShereeBee:  another good question
ShereeBee:  I highly recommend you read a book on getting published
Sryope2:    ??
ShereeBee:  of course, I want you to read my book, but you can take it out
ShereeBee:  of the library or read it standing in Barnes & Noble...the
ShereeBee:  importnat thing is that you read it, because then you'll know all
ShereeBee:  the rules and it's important to follow protocol when getting
ShereeBee:  more than when you're attending a chat. And being persistent means
ShereeBee:  doing what Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen did
ShereeBee:  with Chicken Soup for the Soul....they went to about 40
ShereeBee:  publishers before finding HCI in Florida and becoming
ShereeBee:  the success that you know/
FRR Mallory WRTR:   Sryope2 - GA
FRR Mallory WRTR:   Our guest is the author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to
Getting Published
Texsarks:   ??
Sryope2:    Does it help to say whether or not you've used
FRR Mallory WRTR:   and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Magazine
Sryope2:    a book doctor in preparing your MS.  Should you mention that
Sryope2:    in a querry to an agent?
ShereeBee:  If the manuscript is complete, I'm not sure it is necessary
ShereeBee:  On the other hand...
ShereeBee:  I made a two book deal for a phenomenal author named
ShereeBee:  Andy Straka. His mystery series is being launched by
Ollie Lemur
ShereeBee:  Signet this Spring and he came to me recommended by a book doctor
who I respect
The13thDoctor:  ?
FRR Mallory WRTR:   Texsarks - GA    Pedro - on deck
ShereeBee:  go ahead pedro
Texsarks:   my snopsis is a nightmare.... worked harder  than the novel.
Hate my snopsis-  ten of them!
Texsarks:   Can't get it right..understand that ?
Ollie Lemur
ShereeBee:  My heart goes out to you; I'm serious
ShereeBee:  But you don't need to do a play by play, etc.
ShereeBee:  Just pitch the book. Describe it as if you were writing
ShereeBee:  the jacket blurb or the New York Times book review
Texsarks:   thks.
FRR Mallory WRTR:   Pedro - GA    The 13th Doctor - on deck
ShereeBee:  TEx, if you can't sell it; the agent can't sell the publisher.
it's part of the territory
ShereeBee:  Pedro, I'm not sure what your question is... but I think
FRR Mallory WRTR:   Doc - GA
The13thDoctor:  what is a book doctor?  ga
ShereeBee:  I can help you simply by recommending you to the writer's
ShereeBee:  shelf in the book store. there are several good books on
ShereeBee:  getting children's books published. And children's books
FRR Mallory WRTR:   !
ShereeBee:  are handled differently from adult books; generally
HOST WRTR Paul: (pedro took off)
ShereeBee:  children's book authors approach publishers themselves
FRR Mallory WRTR:   (yes)
ShereeBee:  REad a book on the subject and treat it as if it were a cooking
recipe. If
ShereeBee:  it's ready for the marketplace, you should have success. good
HOST WRTR Paul: If anyone is being disruptive, you folks can always use AOL's
handy Ignore function!
FRR Mallory WRTR:   Doc - GA
ShereeBee:  ok, hopefully the answer will help someone else
The13thDoctor:  what is a book doctor?  ga
ShereeBee:  a book doctor is a fancy name for a paid independent editor
ShereeBee:  sometimes author mistakenly go to agents for feedback
ShereeBee:  generally, agents do not give feedback (and you shouldn't
ShereeBee:  go to agents who charge fees); but editors are paid to
ShereeBee:  give feedback and do hands on editing. If a book needs it,
ShereeBee:  it's a good idea to do this before trying to find an agent
SPultz: ?
ShereeBee:  When you go to an agent, you're saying, this is ready and I'm
ShereeBee:  to be published. Do we match? Would we make a good team? Do you
ShereeBee:  the publihsers who might want to buy this?
ShereeBee:  The people at publishing houses are called Editors
ShereeBee:  but many of them just acquire books; some of them never pick up a
ShereeBee:  /
FRR Mallory WRTR:   So a synopsis should read like a movie (trailer), for
sales?  SPultz - on deck
ShereeBee:  That's how I would approach it if I were writing fiction. yes.
SPultz: how does one find a book DR.?
ShereeBee:  I would find a book doctor through recommendations from
FRR Mallory WRTR:   'a GOOD book Dr.'
ShereeBee:  other writers--perhaps at Writer's Conferences
ShereeBee:  You might also meet them at writer's conferences
ShereeBee:  You can look in a sourcebook on the writer's shelf, but
ShereeBee:  before choosing a book doctor, I would ask for recommendations
ShereeBee:  from published authors; they should provide.
ShereeBee:  If they can't provide, perhaps they would do a few pages of your
Deluge3:    KhromaKee, could you turn on your IM's? I'm trying to send a
Greeter's message.
ShereeBee:  manuscript on spec so you can see what they'd do for you
KhromaKee:  I met Robin Wright recently (author) and she does book doctoring
ShereeBee:  Shop for them carefully...just as with anything/
KhromaKee:  I have her web site somewhere if you want me to look it up
Texsarks:   ?
FRR Mallory WRTR:   KhromaKee - thank you for attending - this is a hosted
chat please type ! or? and wait
FRR Mallory WRTR:   for a go ahead before commenting
KhromaKee:  !sorry!
FRR Mallory WRTR:   Tex GA
Texsarks:   am meeting Dan Slater/Balir Witch Project/ Bone Collector
FRR Mallory WRTR:   <smiles> it is okay - apparently your IM's are off
Texsarks:   at Eurkea Srpings WRoters Conference in Ar next week.
Texsarks:   How do I appoach him and with what?
ShereeBee:  That is another excellent question as they all are...
ShereeBee:  Writer's often feel pressure and stress when they
ShereeBee:  attend writer's conferences for the first time.. they think
ShereeBee:  that they have to be ready to pitch, no matter what stage they're
up to
ShereeBee:  I think that it's important to relax and remember that you're t
here to
ShereeBee:  learn and collect information so that you'll know what to do when
you are ready...
ShereeBee:  agents, editors and book doctors at conferences might
ShereeBee:   be polite and say yes send it even though they're not even the
ShereeBee:  people for your particular genre.
ShereeBee:  Don't promise anyone anything. Treat it as if it were this
ShereeBee:  chat. Ask questions. Tell them what you're writing or thinking
ShereeBee:  about writing and what stage you're up to. Ask them how to app
roach them
ShereeBee:  when they're back in their offices and you're back in yours
ShereeBee:  Usually, the best way is by snail mail query with sase. You can't
go wrong with that
ShereeBee:  With fiction you will be ready when you are completely finished...
ShereeBee:  and with nonfiction you will be ready when you have a proposal
FRR Mallory WRTR:   KhromaKee - GA
ShereeBee:   but for a book doctor it may be different; just ask him/
FRR Mallory WRTR:   Sheree - is the fiction market shrinking - in your
ShereeBee:  It's always been hard; I'm not sure if it's shrinking
The13thDoctor:  ?
ShereeBee:  People seem to be shopping in bookstores more than ever
ShereeBee:  and everyday the shelf of "new fiction" fills up with new books/
FRR Mallory WRTR:   Doc - GA
The13thDoctor:  Are e-books having an impact on your job in any way?  if so,
how?  ga
ShereeBee:  That's going to be hard to answer concisely....everyone
ShereeBee:  is afraid about new technology--and that's historically
ShereeBee:  true about new things, isn't it? but I love everything about
ShereeBee:  e
ShereeBee:  For one thing, I'm finding that my authors are able to
ShereeBee:  be content providers when they're not busy being authors
ShereeBee:  every website in the universe depends on writers to provide
ShereeBee:  text and nothing like professional authors for providing text...
ShereeBee:  also I am able to find authors gigs writing columns for daily web
ShereeBee:  plus it's so much easier with e-mail to have authors send resumes
and such to me and
ShereeBee:  to publishers....re electronic publishing, I don't see it
ShereeBee:  changing the way we read yet. People still seem to prefer a book;
ShereeBee:  I just had the most wonderful experience with it: I have
ShereeBee:  three authors (this is a sad story, I'm sorry to say); One of
ShereeBee:  my dear authors Laura Lewis is dying. Her two co-authors
ShereeBee:  wanted her to see her book before she dies. Her book is
ShereeBee:  Heavenly Miracles. Jennifer Basye Sander, her co-author
ShereeBee:  arranged to have the publisher and the writers, me and an
electronic publisher
ShereeBee:  mightywords.com give up all profit to the family of Laura
ShereeBee:  and she was able to publsh the book on line at mightywords in a
matter of days
ShereeBee:  then there is print on demand and that is a new technology
ShereeBee:  that is a godsend to authors when it is in the hands of the author
ShereeBee:  but I think I answered enough of that for now. if you
FRR Mallory WRTR:   Paul - GA
ShereeBee:  want to hear more about print on demand, I'll save it for another
ShereeBee:  /
HOST WRTR Paul: First, my condolances about Laura.
HOST WRTR Paul: How is the general quality of the queries and manuscripts you
recieve holding up? Any change
HOST WRTR Paul: over the years, for better or worse?
ShereeBee:  thanks Paul. She is an amazing person
ShereeBee:  I have found that the queries and manuscripts have
ShereeBee:  improved exponentially!
ShereeBee:  Nonfiction authors who write to me use a combination of
ShereeBee:  my website shereebee.com and my book, the cig to
ShereeBee:  getting published and Michael Larsen's book, HOw to Write
ShereeBee:  a Book Proposal and I can't believe how good the proposals
ShereeBee:  are....and perhaps computers have made it better for people
ShereeBee:  to think and organize their thoughts and cut and paste and spell
check and make things
HOST WRTR Paul: Glad to hear that!   :-)   Belies the political moaning about
quality education and all.  ga
ShereeBee:  look professional....but I have seen an enormous improvement over
the years. emphatically
ShereeBee:  yes/
FRR Mallory WRTR:   Sheree - if you have a non-fiction book already written
should you do a synopsis
ShereeBee:  These are great questions. Are there more?
FRR Mallory WRTR:   instead of a proposal?
ShereeBee:  If you have a non-fiction book written, you should do a proposal
ShereeBee:  And then you should send a query letter to an agent with a sase
ShereeBee:  describing your proposal in a single page
ShereeBee:  And chances are your agent will not want to see the whole
ShereeBee:  manuscript. Just those chapters that are representative and
polished that
ShereeBee:  can be sent with the proposal. It is better not to write
ShereeBee:  the whole book if you're writing non-fiction because
ShereeBee:  so often it changes after it is conceptualized. .. but if
ShereeBee:  you're talking about creative non fiction, such as a memoir
ShereeBee:  you should do a synopsis yes, and it is treated much like
The13thDoctor:  ?
ShereeBee:  fiction in that you should write teh whole book first.
FRR Mallory WRTR:   What is a 'normal' contract time between an Agent and
first time writer (duration)?
SPultz: ?
ShereeBee:  You mean how long does the agent have to sell your work?
FRR Mallory WRTR:   yes -
ShereeBee:  I'm not sure there is a norm. My contract (and it appears
ShereeBee:  in my book) gives me one year to sell, but I am flexible on
Catalyst8:  ?
ShereeBee:  that. If anyone asks me to change that to six months, I have
ShereeBee:  no problem. But I don't know why they do. If I am earnestly
trying to sell it, sometimes
ShereeBee:  it takes longer. If I can't sell something in six months, I would
ShereeBee:  be happy if the author let me off the hook; however, if I am
ShereeBee:  planning to send it to more publishers or follow up with
ShereeBee:  publihsers who already have it, I can't see why an author would
want me to stop
ShereeBee:  if another agent has already shopped a project to the most likely
ShereeBee:  I can't afford to take it on; and I assume the same is true for
FRR Mallory WRTR:   Doc - GA    SPultz - on deck
The13thDoctor:  Does the same hold true ( re synopses) for fiction novels?  ga
ShereeBee:  I hope you won't mind me pointing out first that you should
ShereeBee:  avoid saying fiction novels.  You can't afford any red flags when
you're seeking
ShereeBee:  to be published for the first time (lots of people make that
mistake; I don't
The13thDoctor:  (sorry)
CDRClay:    ?
ShereeBee:  mean to single you out). but now, sorry, does what hold true?
The13thDoctor:  having the book done and trying to sell itq
Texsarks:   ?
ShereeBee:  If you're writing a novel, you should absolutely have the whole
thing written and edited and
ShereeBee:  polished before seeking to get it published. And if you dno't
ShereeBee:  think people would walk into a bookstore and request it;
ShereeBee:  in other words, if you  don't think it's good enough, you're just
sick of
ShereeBee:  looking at it or feel like finding out how it stacks up, put it
in the drawer and
ShereeBee:  start sometihng else. It really has to be as good as what's on
the shelf---better actually
ShereeBee:  before you seek publication. But if you're a writer--I know
ShereeBee:  you've heard this--you will write no matter how hard it is
ShereeBee:  or no matter who discourages you. And you should.
ShereeBee:  /
FRR Mallory WRTR:   SPultz - GA   Catalyst8 - on deck
SPultz: my question was about the same as Doc's
FRR Mallory WRTR:   Catalyst8 - GA  CDR Clay - on deck
Catalyst8:  From first-time fiction writers do you prefer to see tried and
true plots, or boldly
Catalyst8:  different ones--i.e., what is the best way to approach a fiction
career? /ga
ShereeBee:  That's a good new question. Never heard that! I prefer....
ShereeBee:  drum rolll...
ShereeBee:  both!
ShereeBee:  The writing is everything. Do you feel cheated by that answer?
ShereeBee:  Wait. Let me elaborate...whether you're writing
Catalyst8:  No - but you hear so many people talking about 'genre rules'
Catalyst8:  on the one hand -- then 'breaking the rules' on the other! /ga
ShereeBee:  fiction or nonfiction, you want it to be different and better
ShereeBee:  that's always the aim. If you try to create something so unique
ShereeBee:  no one will know what shelf to put it on....and the publishers
ShereeBee:  and booksellers aren't risk takers....on the other hand,
ShereeBee:  if it's so trite that it's been told a million times the same
way, they'll say with a yawn
ShereeBee:  that they've seen it a dozen times before. So walking that line
in the middle
ShereeBee:  is probably the number one challenge facing writers--new and old.
FRR Mallory WRTR:   CDR Clay - GA     Texsarks - on deck  we are down to the
last few minutes
ShereeBee:  now I feel like I've answered it/
CDRClay:    Comments on marketing the first time crime novel recurring series
vice one-time book?
Catalyst8:  Thank you!
FRR Mallory WRTR:   so please keep your comments brief <smiles>
ShereeBee:  yikes. not sure i understand the question tho
ShereeBee:  series vs. a single book? ok
ShereeBee:  make sure your first book stands alone solidly
ShereeBee:  if it has series potential it will be obvious.
ShereeBee:  but no harm in mentioning the series potential and leaving it at
ShereeBee:  /
FRR Mallory WRTR:   Texsarks - GA
Texsarks:   Literary.... I know and don't know what it means. An editor said
it was and I am nor SURE
Texsarks:   what it means. Good or BAD?
ShereeBee:  It's neither good nor bad
ShereeBee:  It refers to books for a smaller, educated audience who are
ShereeBee:  to work to understand what they read; something that might
ShereeBee:  be assigned in a college English course; aka James Joyce,
Virginia Wolff, Faulkner
ShereeBee:  vs. John Grisham, Scott Turow, etc.
ShereeBee:  Commercial with a literary quality might be Angela's Ashes
ShereeBee:  Although that's not fiction
FRR Mallory WRTR:   I want to thank Sheree Bykofsky, author and noted
Literary Agent for being
FRR Mallory WRTR:   our wonderful guest tonight
FRR Mallory WRTR:   She is the author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to
Getting Published
The13thDoctor:  thanks sheree
ShereeBee:  Thank you so much! I loved your questions. Great audience. Please
send me queries with sases
Texsarks:   thanks- Sheree.... thanks a lot........
FRR Mallory WRTR:    and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Magazine
ShereeBee:  Truly my pleasure....night everybody
FRR Mallory WRTR:   please visit her website at
HOST WRTR Paul: Thank you Sheree.   :-)
Kathi Smith 116:    Thanks, Sheree, great job
FRR Mallory WRTR:   Thank you Sheree*********
ShereeBee:  Thank you Paul and Mallory. Hope to see you hear again.
HOST WRTR Paul: We can put up a link from our web site.   :-)
Deluge3:    Thanks, Sheree.
ShereeBee:  Thanks! That's terrific. Please do that
SPultz: Thanks Sheree
Tallon Jke
Catalyst8:  Thanks, Sheree!
Dcudlbug:   Thanks, Sheree.  Our prayers for Laura
KhromaKee:  Thanks, Sharee--sorry for the rude interruption.
CDRClay:    Thanks for the referral
ShereeBee:  (****writers chat room****)  --no prob khroma
FRR Mallory WRTR:   <smiles>
Tallon Jke
HOST WRTR Paul: Kroma, tried to IM you. Will send you info on our critique
group here, if you wish.
FRR Mallory WRTR:   Thank you everyone for attending tonight
Kathi Smith 116
JsmnStrm:   Thank you Sheree
KhromaKee:  Great!  Im's on now
FRR Mallory WRTR:   we meet every Monday night - 7:00 p.m. california time
The13thDoctor:  No worries!
DebbyKoz:   i was quiet but as usual enjoyed my time here thanks paul
FRR Mallory WRTR:   the best crit group on the web <smiles>
DebbyKoz:   yup
KhromaKee:  K
The13thDoctor:  See y'all next week!
JsmnStrm:   See ya Doc.
CDRClay:    Anyplace to go to get the real skinny on a particular agent?
FRR Mallory WRTR:   Nighters everyone****
Dcudlbug:   Nytol
SPultz: nite all
EnderWiggin02:  paul, don't forget me, bye everyone
SPultz: Aol must be OK tonight,only got kicked once
JsmnStrm:   That's good.
DebbyKoz:   try the jeff herman book CDR
JsmnStrm:   Later everyone....   Must go...
Texsarks:   FRR MAllory WRTR are you a 'book doctor? hate that title...
FRR Mallory WRTR:   Tex - no I am not <smiles>
Texsarks:   friend of Steph's I think? know the name just maybe from here huh?
FRR Mallory WRTR:   we should see if we can come up with a list of good
FRR Mallory WRTR:   probably Tex
FRR Mallory WRTR:   I am off everyone***
FRR Mallory WRTR
Texsarks:   night all enjoyed!!!1
DebbyKoz:   hey paul i didn't expect to be able to stick around i am glad i
dropped in tonight
DebbyKoz:   i have missed you guys
HOST WRTR Paul: : : : blushing : : :   Thanks, Deb.   :-)

10/2/00 8:14:23 PM  Closing "Chat Log 10/2/00"