Twofer Tuesday: Two Takes on WriteOnCon x 2

Okay, so you guys were all at WriteOnCon last night for the live chat, right?


You didn't stay glued to your laptop/desktop the ENTIRE time?! Your husband/wife/kids/dog/bathroom break made you look away?! Don't worry, we're here to help. Today, we're each bringing you two things we learned from the live agent/publisher chat at http://writeoncon.com/ last night. (oh, yeah, and they leave it up forever, so if you missed the whole thing, follow the link and watch it at your leisure)

Two things Erica learned:
1. As you get to know Erica, you will realize I (sorry about the change in POV) mentioned a sequel right away. I soon found out that was a huge no-no. Imagine my surprise tonight. Roseanne says to mention it. Just don't pitch it. (this I can do)

2. Contemporary YA, anyone? Everyone on the panel said contemporary has the ability to take over the YA scene in the next 2-5 years. BTW: It takes about 2 years to get a book published. SO SEND CONTEMPORARY YA NOW. Nope, that's not a call for submissions. But I (Erica) sent mine. Have you sent yours?

Two things Christy learned:

1.  Well, since we get along so perfectly as blogging partners, it's no surprise our thoughts were in sync last night.  Just to add, it was interesting to "read" the differences in opinions between the panelists when the topic of sequels arose.  What I took from it was this:  it's a very subjective business.  And we just have to find the right agent and pitch our book to the right one with the right query.  I know I've heard that over and over...but somehow "seeing" it in action tonight was a little, well, comforting.  And, since I should find at least one thing different from you, I'll add this here also.  I was excited to find that contemporary YA was up and coming (according to the panelists) since my WIP is just that.  I'll take motivation in any way/shape/form...keep it comin'.

2.  Other items discussed were also interesting because I assumed there were just cut and dry answers for the questions.  For example, age groupings for YA, MG, crossovers, and  New Adult were delineated, yet opinions varied among the responders.  There was also a discussion about literary, commercial, and contemporary fiction, and of course, the panelists "wish to see" lists.  Their answers?  The usual:  show them a hook.  Show them a great story.  Show them great characters.  Oh, and possibly a dystopian or a contemporary w/o the romantic focus.  And a plot where there are great stakes for the protagonist.  (And one last thing.  Make sure your teen sounds like a teen.  Not like an adult trying to sound teen.  Be careful of hip language that might not be hip tomorrow.  I KNOW you know that.  I'm just telling you what they said in case you missed that part.)

Got it?  Go write.  Write, write, write! 

Except I'm going to bed.  I mean work.  (Stayed up too late last night.)  *yawns*

So, what did you learn? Or, is there a question you wanted to ask, but couldn't? Leave it in the comments and we'll see what we can do to help!


  1. It was in the middle of the night here and I had classes the next day! So mean.

    I'm going to read the transcripts tonight though.

    About series: This is soooo different between agents/publishers. Some prefer singles, some prefer series. The plus for series is that the time and money invested in the new author is better spent if more of the same is to come. The negative is that if the first book flops, the rest might be cancelled (and promo money has been lost).

  2. I like that you did this semi-recap via things you learned. I wasn't at WriteonCon last night. I should have been.

    I can't say I'm too excited about contemporary YA becoming the next big trend. It's not exactly my thing.

  3. Tessa - Those time changes can be frustrating for you overseas folks! Here, it was on during the Packer-Bears game, so that was kind-of mean, too. And you're right - it was the editors that said they want to know about the series. The agents said they don't care.

    Quinn - Thanks! Contemporary still sold during the paranormal craze, so I'm sure whatever the next big thing is, if you have a well-crafted story, you can sell it. Good luck!

  4. Tessa - I agree about the timezone meanness!!

    But yay for contemp YA! I'm actually very excited about it, now that I've my own WIP in that realm. I'm definitely falling in love with the genre too!

  5. Great post both of you :) I missed the actual conference but caught up on the transcript as soon as I could. It was really interesting to see such differences of opinion between the agents and editors. And I loved getting their take on the crossover YA market - as someone whose WIP is more for the upper YA market, I'm interested to see what the industry view on crossovers is...

  6. Hey Erica and Christy, just wanted to let you know that I gave you an award on my blog.

  7. Rachel, it was interesting to see the differences, although I (Erica) did have a little trouble following who was who at times! And now that you mention it, I haven't read a lot out there on crossovers, so I'm glad you found some more info. during the chat.

    Ooh, yay Quinn!!

  8. It was an interesting discussion.

    On sequels, I think it's just that the query should concentrate on the book already written. The sequel should only be mentioned in passing. And of course it's important, even if sequels are intended, for the first book to have a complete story arc of its own which can stand alone. (I, um, forgot about that bit first time around, and it was the first thing my agent mentioned. Thank goodness for revisions...)

    I find the whole 'crossover' thing a bit confusing, and I don't think even agents or publishers have a particularly clear idea of what will or won't cross over from YA to adult successfully. Like us, they just hope certain books will...as it doubles the market.


Stay and chat with us! Share your thoughts.