I spoke to my agent yesterday. She’s read the re-edited version of Lethal Inheritance and she loves it as much as she did the first time she read it. She noticed the new beginning but couldn’t see what else I’d changed in the ms. That’s because the main changes were in the quality of the writing, not in the big structural elements. I told her that basically, it’s just much better written. Specifically
- More skill in showing not telling – a lot of subtle changes here that add a lot to the immediacy of the writing..
- More clarity in the explanation of how the elements of the world fit together
- More clarity in the nature of the energy exchange between Nick and Ariel
- A slower & more interesting development in Nick and Ariel’s relationship
She was a little concerned that it’s 97,000 words long, thinking that publishers might be reticent to publish a YA one of that length. Personally, I like long novels – more value for money – and none of my teen readers thought it was too long. I told her my impressions of ‘Burn Bright, a novel I read recently that I felt had been cut down so much that there were glaring gaps in character development and scenes where the characters’ reactions seemed severely truncated. The book lacked depth because of it. However, I also said that there was one plot thread that I could take out (though it would remove a lot of the humor) but I suggested that we leave it in and let the publisher decide if they wanted it removed. She agreed.
So here’s what’s happening.
- She’ll resubmit to some of the publishers she sent it to before, telling them of the improvements. Because it’s still basically the same, we don’t hold out much hope for them picking it up. She feels she pretty much exhausted her contacts.
- There’s a couple of Aussie publishers she didn’t send it to before because she had other submissions in with them at the time, so she’ll send it to them.
- I sent her a list of UK and US publishers that have published similar books and she’ll approach them if she hasn’t already done so.
- If she doesn’t get any bites through her own contacts, she’ll send it to a US agent who just helped place another of her clients YA books with a US publisher, and see if she wants to take it on. If she does and a publishing deal comes through, together they’ll be taking 25%! It’s probably better I don’t do the math to see just how much per book I’d be getting. Last thing I heard it was about $2.00 per print book here with only one agent’s fee coming out. I’m not doing this for the money, but if I don’t get an income in the next couple of years, we’ll have to sell our property and move somewhere cheaper.
She may have jury duty this week. If not, she’ll send the queries in the next couple of days. If she does have Jury Duty, she’ll get them out in the next fortnight.
I asked how long she thought it might be before we heard anything from the publishers. She sighed and said there was no way of knowing. At first, she emails just the blurb and the first page or two, hoping they can look at it straight away and get back to her asking for more if they want it. But that doesn’t always work. Last time it was 5 months by the time we’d heard back from the last publisher.
Do you think 97,000 words is too long for a YA novel, specifically for a first novel? How many pages would that come out as?
Mary Preston says
There is NO such thing as a book that is too long. TOO short can be a problem.
Unless it’s boring because it’s full of unecessary stuff. Mine isn’t though.
Good luck and all the best for the second run, Tahlia. I love long books very much, too, but I as well got the feedback that many people feel initmidated by their length, not even giving it a chance.
Still agree you should leave it in, though. If a publisher picks it up you might always have to revise.