Friday, June 15, 2012

Triplet Talk with Kate Schafer Testerman and Her Three Newest Clients

Welcome to Part III of "Triplet Talk," a continued conversation with the shoe-tastic Kate Schafer Testerman and her three newest clients, Elizabeth Briggs, Susan Adrian, and me! If you missed the first two parts, definitely go back and check those out:

Part I, hosted by Kate Schafer Testerman
Part II, hosted by Elizabeth Briggs

Now we turn the tables, and Kate asks us a couple of questions. We talk querying, submission guidelines, and location, location, location!

Kate: So I want to ask you all something, if I can. I don't want to toot my own horn, but I get so many questions from people (mostly in NYC) about how it is to work from Colorado that I'm curious how you feel about it. And also, I guess, as part of that question, what made you query me?

Susan: The agents I queried were based all over the U.S.--I didn't see it as anything to even consider. With internet and cell phones and NY trips, it didn't matter to me.

But I queried you because I'd followed you on Twitter for a while, and loved your style...and when I looked at your client list I either had read or wanted to read all their books. GOOD sign.

Krista: Yeah, location was never even a consideration. Two of the best boutique agencies in the country are based in the Denver area, in my opinion.

Liz: I'd already read quite a few of your clients' books and liked you on Twitter and your blog. When I got the partial request I said to my coworker "omg I got a request from my dream agent!"

I think you go to NY enough that it doesn't matter. Plus e-mail and all that.

Susan: Plus it was a bonus that you're in my time zone!

Krista: Yep, like Liz and Susan said, it was your client list that really sold me. Of all the agents I followed closely, yours was the only list that I could genuinely say I loved.

Susan: I remember being so excited when you asked for the full that you'd get the bit with Buffy in it...because I'd followed all your Buffy rewatch tweets.

Liz: Haha.

Kate: Heh.

Susan: And I'm working my way through the kt lit books now, and I was so right! LOVE.

Liz: When I was querying I did meet one person at a conference (also querying) who said you HAD to get an agent in NY, but I don't think that is true anymore.

Susan: Pfft person who doesn't know.

Kate: Exactly. I think anyone who still believes that is too old-fashioned to do well.

Liz: Plus you used to work in NY, right?

Kate: Yeah, I had the whole Park Avenue office and everything for years. Although, OK, funny story:

When I first met my husband online, it was partly because of his writing. And I asked to read his novel before I ever met him in person. I thought I was so cool, with the Park Avenue address, and the big fancy agency I worked for--but Doyce looked us up online and couldn't find ANYTHING. So he was like "well, they may be on a bad bit of Park Avenue, but it's worth a shot!"

And that kind of thinking? Was exactly why the very first thing I did in starting kt literary was build a fantastic web site.

Susan: It's SO critical. For editors too, I'd think! But especially for selling to the writers to query you.

Liz: Yeah, I hate it when agencies don't have good websites.

Kate: Well, less so for editors, who have big houses with well-known names to support them. But for agents, definitely.

Susan: I wouldn't query if they didn't have a decent website or didn't seem to WANT queries.

Krista: Me, neither, Susan.

Susan: Oh, I just meant for editors looking YOU up. As an agent.

Krista: And Kate, I love the story of how you and your husband met. I know I've heard it before, and I think it's sweet and nerdy and perfect.

Susan: It is!

Liz: Video game nerds ftw.

Kate: So let me ask you this--I'm currently closed to queries for the summer. But I've gotten so many great authors through the query pile, I don't think I could ever go cold turkey. Having recently gone through the whole querying process, what do you think about agents who close for vacation and stuff?

Liz: I think as long as they tell people in advance it is fine.

Susan: Agree with Liz. As a client, I appreciate that you (agents) take a break to focus on the work you have and catch up. As a querier I'd understand that you just have to time it right.

Krista: I'd MUCH rather have an agent close than watch them build up an enormous stack of queries that I know they’ll never respond to.

Kate: Oh phew! I do worry. Especially when I know I'm deleting things unread, because some authors are using outdated information on my submissions policy, or just not checking with my site directly.

Susan: I think it's also good to take a break from it and come in fresh. It MUST be draining, having them stream in constantly.

Liz: If writers can't spend five minutes Googling an agent, then I don't think it's a problem to delete them.

Susan: Also THAT.

Krista: I always rechecked an agent's submission guidelines right before I hit the send button, even if I'd just checked them the day before.

Susan: Me too. I really think you have to approach querying with absolute professionalism, like applying for a job.

Kate: So how do you guys find the submissions process, and what are you doing to keep busy while you wait?

Krista: Working on my next project, of course! I just finished the first draft!

Kate: Hooray!

Liz: Freaking MG writers.

Kate: *laughs*

Krista: *blows raspberry at Liz*

Liz: *shakes fist*

Krista: I think this is the part where we pull out our white gloves and smack each other in the face...

Susan: Working on sequel!! And I'm at the same word count as Krista, and 56% through the draft. Just want to say.

Liz: Writing a new book. Trying not to go crazy. I'm behind Krista and Susan, so I need to catch up.

Susan: Liz, you're going to have to catch up, since I can't word-war with Krista anymore!

Kate: I have to say, I love seeing you guys write together, or at the same time. Word wars and morning writing and writing sprints--it's awesome.

Susan: It's really fun. Helps to keep momentum up. We also e-mail each other during this phase quite a bit. Or Liz gchats me. :)

Liz: I need to start morning writing with you guys! But you wake up before me.

Krista: I don't write in the mornings. I write during naps and after bedtime. (Sleeping is my kids' superpower, but they do wake up early.)

Susan: I write lunches during the week every day, and morning writing on weekends. Too early for you, Liz!

Liz: Yeah, it is nice to have other people going through the same thing as you, to talk to.

Krista: I totally agree. It's wonderful to have someone to e-mail in a panic:)

Kate: DFO, indeed.

Liz: Haha.

Susan: DFO!

DFO, in case you're wondering, stands for "Don't freak out!" which is what we yell at each other when we're--you guessed it--freaking out:)

For the thrilling conclusion, head over to Susan Adrian's for Part IV of our four-way chat, in which we share some final thoughts and dish on guns and puppies...


Cortney Pearson said...

It's been fun to read this chat so far! You guys have a great dynamic going on, and I like the insider info. ;)

Escape Artist Linda said...

Just a wee bit cute you guys!

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Cortney, thanks for reading! And I agree--Kate shared some great insider information:)

Thanks, Linda! Hope you're doing well!

Kelly Bryson said...

This is such a great interview- I love the actual conversing going on:) It makes me very happy for you that you have such a comfortable relationship with your agent and agent sisters:)

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Thanks for stopping by, Kelly! I love being a triplet:)