Monday, April 4, 2011

DARA Agent Panel - What Are They Looking For? (And What Not to Submit!)

I spent Friday night and Saturday at the Dreaming in Dallas conference sponsored by the Dallas Area Romance Authors. It was WONDERFUL!! I made a few friends and learned quite a bit along the way.
I met Richelle Mead. Yea! (And I got her autograph!) I also had a nice conversation with Lucienne Diver. (I also got her autograph! I had a pic taken with her, but I don't think I've ever had such a bad picture of myself as this one so I'm not posting it!)

One of the sessions Saturday was an agent panel featuring Suzie Townsend, Beth Miller, and Lucienne Diver. A question was asked about character age. How old is too old for YA, and where does it cross over?
Their answer? College age characters (early twenties, basically) are a DEAD ZONE. Don't even think about it if you want to sell. It won't happen. If you can rewrite then do it and send those darlings to boarding school. (All three agents agreed on this.)

Ouch. (Will open file for rewrite as soon as this post goes up.)

Of course another question asked the agents what they were tired of, and what they were looking for. Here's the breakdown:
They are tired of YA angel/demon stories, vampires, and dystopians. Of course there are always exceptions, but unless yours is exceptionally fresh and original it's time to move on.
What are they looking for?
Ms. Townsend would like to find a YA thriller.
Ms. Miller is looking for YA fantasy and adult romance (but not romantic suspense).
Ms. Diver wants fresh stories that can cross genres. She wants a story with a great voice.
All three agents want stories with great characters that come off the page and stay with the reader.

If you're writing a YA, can it be developed into a series? (This is a good thing!) Keep this in mind and be sure to mention it in your query. Some editors are asking this when agents submit.

There you have it. Later, I'll share a few writing/editing tips I picked up.

(Oh, and the business cards were a good idea. I was very glad to have them!)