Monday, December 19, 2011

And Now, A Few Words From Our Agents

As a final nod toward a fun and successful Baker's Dozen Agent Auction (that is, until the success stories start rolling in...), here are some words from several of our participating agents.


"I had so much fun participating in this auction. I thought overall the quality of the entries was very high and such a great way to stir up some friendly competition with our fellow agents. Thank you so much for hosting and I hope I can participate next year."


"This is my 2nd Baker’s Dozen auction and I hope I’m always asked to do it. The competition and trash talking with other agents is fun and all, but more than that it’s so exciting to see so much talent out there. The competition becomes very real! Thanks to all of you, and to you, lovely Authoress, for making this an annual treat to look forward to!"


"I had tons of fun, but this was tough! First of all, the entries were excellent; I had a really hard time narrowing down which manuscripts I wanted to pay the most attention to. It was also a struggle to balance my focus. You spend too much time on one entry and you miss out on the others, but if you bounce around too much, you can lose them all—and I won’t even discuss my issues with google reader home page. I was also surprisingly competitive and disappointed to lose the manuscripts I’d wanted. I’m thrilled we get to be in touch with authors whose manuscripts we didn’t win. Overall, this was a great experience, but if I do it again, I need to meditate or something beforehand."


"I find Baker's Dozen to be one of the more fun days of the year. I feel like it lets the agents show themselves to be 'real' people who fundamentally enjoy their jobs. And more than that, I feel like oftentimes folks get the impression that when we read queries or samples we are looking to say NO. I think this auction shows that really, what we want to do is say YES, to be excited about novels. When we lose to another agent we do curse! And for the writers, they are effectively getting a simultaneous submission to 15 agents, as well as a new group of critique partners--some professional--who give constructive criticism and lovely praise. And even if there is an occasional procedural question, ultimately everyone is gracious and good-natured, and that makes it that much nicer. Wonderful job, MS A, and I look forward to next year. And as an update, I've asked for a couple of fulls and a couple of 'more time's and am very hopeful for a new success story!"


"I was so thrilled to be asked to participate in Baker's Dozen again this year. There are so many things I like about it— I love seeing what other agents bid on, seeing who I have similar taste with--without Bakers Dozen, it would have taken me much longer to figure out that Tamar Rydzinski* at the Laura Dail Literary Agency is my editorial nemesis—and I love participating in the agent trash talking. And the adrenalin rush of swiping something great out from under my fellow agents can’t be beat, though I could do without the crushing disappointment of losing something I really wanted (Sarah LaPolla, and Kari Stuart,-- you are on notice for next year).

I hope you guys learned something as well. For example: did you notice the high number of car accidents in the YA entries? This happens in my slush all the time (though not always car accidents)—the take away here isn’t that putting a car accident in a manuscript is bad, but that when you have something in a manuscript that has been done before, you need to make sure the rest of your manuscript really stands out because it might be the third or forth query letter that mentions vampires/a dead mother/a high school student who can heal by touch etc. that day.

My thanks to Authoress for putting together such a phenomenal, unique and exciting event—you should be so proud!, and to my client Jodi Meadows for helping Authoress go through the submissions and pull such great ones (even though you didn’t help me cheat). And most of all, thank you all for submitting—it was extremely brave to go through this so publically and without these excellent projects to fight over the Bakers Dozen wouldn’t be worthwhile or fun at all.

*who claims she doesn’t like puppies**! Keep that in mind when we both offer on your excellent project. We may both have truly fantastic taste in manuscripts, but only one of us likes puppies.

**Well, claimed when I tried to distract her from bidding against me by sending her links to adorable puppy things on the internet. But still! How could you even say such a thing!"


I had a fantastic time participating in the auction this year! And already can't wait for the next one. The adrenaline rush was even better than coffee! And I found it really interesting to see which entries other agents were bidding on.

I especially liked beating out sneaky agents who tried to win by distracting the other participants with videos of dogs kissing. Or something. I don't like dogs so I didn't look. Next time, Lauren MacLeod, I will be prepared with videos of adorable animals doing super-cute things. Now you have a whole year to try to figure out my kryptonite. Good luck! (Cue evil laughter.)


  1. Loved Josh's comment: "I feel like it lets the agents show themselves to be 'real' people who fundamentally enjoy their jobs." That's exactly the impression I got from what all the agents featured here say.
    And they've added some helpful hints into the bargain! :)

  2. I'm glad the agents enjoyed themselves as much as I did :-)

  3. Thanks for the insight.

    Josh had requested pages from me. I haven't received an email from him. Does that mean he has passed on it?

    If so, it was still a wonderful experience.

    Thanks to Authoress, Jodi, the authors, agents, and to all those who left comments.

    Looking forward to next year.

  4. Nope! Just means that I haven't quite gotten to it--the price I paid for being interested in so many books! I've responded to around 2/3, and am working hard on finishing before Thursday, when I go away.

  5. Wow! I only began following Miss Snark's blog recently, and haven't figured out the whole contest thing yet, but I LOVE the enthusiasm I'm seeing from the agents and the writers who submitted. VERY inspirational! As a yearning-to-be-represented writer, seeing this side of such a respected group of agents is terrific. I think I've learned a lot about pitching and writing in the last two weeks, for which I'm extremely grateful. This contest is almost like good novel- I can't wait to find out what happens next!

  6. I'm both ecstatic, still, and now disappointed: I wound up with two agents with partials, and one's already passed. End of suspense, awesome, but I still wish for a full.

    But the critiques were amazing, the atmosphere was fun, and I got two partial requests on a story that's still undergoing query-revisions (draft 17. The query for another story I have out was on draft 40-something when I got a partial request. I don't write great queries).

    And I really enjoyed seeing all these agents jump up and down going 'Mine! Mine!' (and added about eight of them to a list for future querying, too!)

  7. Yes, it's great that agents get so enthusiastic. But sometimes it seems the agents think we, the aspiring writers to be, somehow KNOW that they are getting car accidents/healers/dead mothers in their inboxes by the bushel. We don't know that. How can we? Some plot devices are common among all literature for children and dead parents are pretty much a given. There are hardly any heroes of YA or even fairy tales who escape with both parents intact. It's part of the package - a hero with loving and living parents is too well protected against the world.

    And no, my work was not YA, but still...

  8. Hi Anon (1:30pm),

    I don't usually respond, but I think this is worth repeating/explaining. You are 100% correct-- I totally, absolutely do think writers should know that I see a lot of car accidents (or whatever) and that therefore they need to distinguish themselves and their work from the masses. In fact, I expect it. But I don't imagine writers will come by this knowledge magically--I simply think all aspiring writers should also be reading in their genre all the time and should be super aware of what is already on the bookstore shelves (and believe me, the things I see dozens of times in my inbox are also things you can find in dozens of novels that are already published--that is why I see them in my inbox so much). And this isn't just aspiring writers--I fully expect this from all my clients as well. If you want to write as a career it is absolutely essential to know the market. After all, you wouldn't open a tea shop without visiting other tea shops to see what they are doing. Once you turn writing into a career,the business of writing a book is very similar to the business of opening a tea shop.

    Hope that clarifies!


  9. Thank you Lauren, it does somewhat clarify, though I think the analogy doesn't exactly carry through. If you opened a tea shop, you would actually do try to serve the same things other tea shops serve because people go into tea shops expecting to get Earl Gray, for example.

    But of course, you are correct. Writing is a business and the goal is to get to the finish line with your brand new never thought of idea first, before all the other multitudes do. And I'm not being snarky. I understand what you are saying.

  10. Nope-- you should serve *better* Earl Gray in a hipper/more relaxing/more aggressively teal/whatever environment so that they go to yours to order their cup instead of somewhere else. :D

  11. "More aggressively teal" - I love it.

    That's all, really. Lauren's phrase inspired this comment. But since I'm here...! Thanks again, Authoress, Jodi, agents, and fabulous critiquers, for all your hard work.

    Also, I love seeing the agents' words above.

  12. WOOOOT! I loved seeing all the agents' thoughts, especially Lauren's! Haha! (Tamar, HOW COULD YOU!?)

    Anyhow, thanks so much to EVERYONE (Authoress, Jodi, the agents, the community, the editors, the authors) for an unforgettable journey! I know I'm going to be here with y'all again next year, hopefully represented! :D

    P.S. Authoress, I'm sure others have asked this and I'm just too technologically illiterate to find your answer, but if an agent didn't request anything, should we consider that a "no" or query them traditionally?

  13. Thank you agents, editors and Authoress. We are so lucky to have this opportunity. And the professional critiques were so very constructive and informative. Anyone expecting critiques according to dodge ball rules were pleasantly surprised!

    Now, I need time to search my WIP and ensure there are no car crashes....wait. There isn't even a car in my story. Whew!

  14. Awesome comments! I haven't tried to enter yet, but I sure a LOT by lurking and watching. Thanks so much to all for the efforts and time :)

  15. Hey Julianna,

    Authoress said to give her a week to see if there are any other requests out there. After that, if we haven't heard from her, we can assume there are none and query the BD's agents with our edited/revised work.

    Good luck!

  16. Great post, I enjoyed ready reading it, Keep posting good stuff like this.

  17. I learned one valuable lesson from entering this auction. Know your market. It obviously is not romantic suspense, but is young adult. The number of fulls and partials requested in that category was astounding.