đź“šCollaborative Query Consultation with Jonathan Baker

Collaborative Query Consultation with Jonathan Baker

At the Manuscript Academy, we sometimes hear that writers want even more than we offer.

With this in mind, we’ve brought on submission expert Jonathan Baker to help.

Thirty-minute conversation about project.

(Here, you’ll discuss what is working, what is needed, potential comps, and even some agent suggestions)

Baker will then rewrite your query for you!

This includes two email follow-ups (revisions) if needed via email.

Episode Transcript

Julie Kingsley (00:00:01) – Welcome to the Manuscript Academy podcast, brought to you by a writer and an agent who both believe that education is key. The beauty is the people you meet along the way and that community makes all the difference. Here at the Manuscript Academy, you can learn the skills, make the connections, and have access to experts all from home. I’m Julie Kingsley. And I’m Jessica Zimmer. Put down your pens, pause your workouts, and enjoy. I’m pleased to introduce to you guys Jonathan Baker, who likes to simply be called Baker, which makes it super easy. He is an editor, a writer, a publishing consultant. Baker has worked with Richard Powers, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Charles Palliser, John Lehrer, Jonathan Ekeh, and many other authors in his projects, been nominated for the National Book Award and the Booker Prize. And he lives by me here in Portland, Maine. Welcome. Hello.

Jonathan Baker (00:00:58) – Hi, everybody. It’s really nice to see all of your faces. And nice to be in a room full of writers, even if it is a virtual room.

Jonathan Baker (00:01:06) – I’m really glad you’re all here. I can’t I’m kind of a nerd for query letters, so I actually like talking about this stuff. Unlike a lot of writers who cringe at the thought of talking about query letters. For good reason because it’s super stressful. But it doesn’t have to be. And I’ve been working with writers for a long time on query letters. It used to be my job to go through query letters hundreds a day, and so I was that person crushing dreams on the other side of the computer. And I don’t want your dreams to be crushed. So that’s why I’m here. Because there’s a there’s so much misinformation that happens within the writer community. There’s the writing world is such an echo chamber, and there’s this sort of wall. And then on the other side is publishing and agents, and the two don’t have real conversations. So that’s why it’s amazing what Julie and Jessica have set up here to kind of like, break down that wall so that you can all understand what’s happening on the other side and what what people need to do to be sort of seen above the heard or the sort of flood.

Jonathan Baker (00:02:13) – And it is a flood. Jessica can attest to this. Jump’s agents are flooded with manuscripts or with query letters. And so what you want to do is be seen quickly so that you can, you know, emerge from the pack. So that’s what we’re going to be talking about today. I was thinking I could take questions at the end, but if you do have really pressing questions, feel free to drop them in the chat. If I feel like I’m getting stressed out or losing my train of thought. I do have ADHD, like most people in the 23rd century or whatever century. And I’m sure a lot of you have ADHD too, so sometimes I tend to ramble or lose my train of thought, especially if comments are popping up, but I’ll try to address those as we go along. So I’m going to go over some general querying advice before we go over. I think there are three of you that I wanted to look at your queries and just talk about things that you’re doing right. So if you’re here and you were worried about me, like bringing you up in front of everyone and talking about your query, I’m doing that because I picked queries where I thought people were really doing some things right, and I wanted to use those as useful instruction, positive instruction for the rest of you.

Jonathan Baker (00:03:26) – So I’m not here to crucify anyone in front of everyone else, so don’t worry. I love writers, and I want you all to feel safe and happy and have a good experience here. So let’s get started. I made some notes. I have so many thoughts on this, but first of all, I want to talk a little bit about who I am and why. Why I know a lot about querying. I was raised in a family of writers. My aunt is a famous romance novelist, and I grew up going to romance conventions, where my uncle and I were often the only men in the room. And, uh, and it was a blast. And later on, as an adult, I would copy edit romance novels for Harpercollins. So if there are romance writers here, I’m happy to see you. I love romance people, but my other aunt, my mom’s twin sister, was a literary agent in the 1990s. So when I was even in high school and a young person, I was reading queries for her and reading manuscripts.

Jonathan Baker (00:04:23) – I would later go on to get an English degree and a degree in American literature, a masters. And then I started working at agencies where I would read through query letters, like I mentioned before. And then I eventually went on to work on the editorial side of things. I was at W.W. Norton and Company for a while before quitting to be to do what I do now, which is help writers and also write myself. And I also worked at bookstores for years and years, and I think that was really, really helpful. I worked at bookstores in West Texas, sort of where I’m from, which is sort of in the heartland. So I was working with a lot of Christian fiction and romance and crime and a lot of. Onerous stuff. Then I moved to New York City and I worked at the Strand Bookstore. I worked at the Rizzoli bookstore. I worked at the Passion Bookstore, really high end, more literary stuff. So it really gave me a sense of the entire ecosystem from, you know, I hang out with writers.

Jonathan Baker (00:05:16) – So from the sort of inception, the creative inception, all the way through the agency process, the publishing process, and then on to bookstores and how they appear in the final sort of product. So I have a kind of global consciousness about how the book publishing process works, and I oh, the Rare book room is the best at the strand. The strand was my favorite job that I ever had in my life. We would just hang out. We kept we kept a bottle of whiskey behind the fiction desk, and we would just kind of hang out. I remember reading the entire Cormac McCarthy novel On a Ladder in the Bay, so I wasn’t working very hard, and I think that’s why I loved it so much. But anyway, so let’s get on to what makes a good query. Now that I’ve explained to you why I know what I’m talking about, a query letter. I’ve often heard it described as a cover letter for your book. And that’s right in a way. But query letters are so hard because it’s kind of a balancing act, because this is sort of high level publishing stuff.

Jonathan Baker (00:06:15) – But an agency handles writers, handles careers, whereas a publishing house handles individual books. Well, you know, while the point of the query letter is to introduce your book, it’s also to introduce you as an author. And agents make money, obviously, from authors, but they aren’t looking for someone to publish an individual book. They’re looking to manage a career. They’re looking they make more money as your career builds and as you gain a following. And so what you’re really wanting to do is present yourself as someone who’s affable, who would be cool to work with and who is dedicated to the craft of writing and not just writing one book, but writing a lot of books over a long period. So that’s one sort of mistake that I saw repeatedly when I was reading queries a lot for a living is people would say, I’ve been working on this book for ten years. It’s my life’s passion, you know, it’s based on these letters I found in my grandmother’s attic. And and that’s very cool.

Jonathan Baker (00:07:20) – Like, that’s sounds like a really cool project. However, it’s there’s a general sense that if you publish that book, then you’re done, you know, and there’s nothing for an agent there, you know. So even if you say, like, I’ve been working on this book three years and I really fell into the research of it, and I’m an expert on this topic. These aren’t bad things, but you do want to temper that with. But by saying, but this is just a jumping off point for a long career where I look forward to writing a lot of books, you know, around this topic or researching other topics or whatever it is, but you want to always be putting yourself in the mind of what would it be like to be an agent? Because books are products and and I’ll also say that with that said, publishing is a weird industry, and every agent that I’ve ever known is really, really their book nerds. They are really passionate about books, so they’re looking for something to care about.

Jonathan Baker (00:08:17) – They wouldn’t have these stressful jobs and they are super stressful jobs if there wasn’t some something on the other end for them. And that thing is like getting really geared up and excited about a book and going to bat for it, getting it published, and they get that same charge that you do when they see one of their titles on, on a bookshelf. So they’re chasing that same dream that you are. And these are people who really care about books and they’re real people. And the more you can talk to them like real people, the better off you’re going to be. So that’s just kind of an overview of sort of general overview of what you’re after when you’re querying. When you write a query letter, you want it to be one page. Single spaced is okay, but you really don’t want to go over, I would say around 400 words. The shorter the better, up to a point, as long as you can get everything in there that you want to say, but you want to get right into it.

Jonathan Baker (00:09:11) – But at the same time, this is this is my opinion. I think you want to kind of ease into it as while you’re getting to the point, you’re easing into the point. So again, it’s like one of those balancing acts. And the reason I say that is because so many queries that I read will say, Dear agent, you know, Shannon is a young girl in Mississippi who? And it’s like, whoa, we’re already off to the races. And some agents really appreciate that. But in my experience, agents really want to again, it’s that whole agents or people thing and they they don’t want to just like be seen as a it’s so robotic to read these same like where you’re just launching into story after story after story. So see, there’s a question here. Would an agent turn down your novel if it’s close to something that they’re writing or thinking about writing about? So. Are you asking if the agent is thinking of writing Norris, or if it’s close to something that one of their writers is already writing about? I would say that a lot of agents, if they have a book that they are really proud of and passionate about, if you send them a query that is a book that is somewhat similar, you’re actually barking up the right tree.

Jonathan Baker (00:10:25) – That’s a good idea, because you know that this agent is already interested in that topic, that vibe. This is another really good question from Ryan. If you know you’re emailing an assistant, should you skip the personalization in general assistance? And actually interns will be more likely to be reading your query than the agent. With that said, you should personalize it toward the agent because the interns and the assistants are trained and they’re there to kind of look through the lens of that agent to know their tastes. And those agents, those interns and those assistants are working with the same authors every day. They become passionate about the same books. They’re very familiar with that agents list. And so they’re able to sort of like, pretend that they’re the agent. And if they like the query, they will forward it on to the agent, and then the agent will be reading your query. So yeah, your job is to get past that first sort of firewall of culling things out. But I will say this, and this may be the most important thing I say today, which is that of all the thousands of queries that I’ve read in my life, I would say that 90% of them made some kind of mistake or were poorly written in some ways.

Jonathan Baker (00:11:42) – So my point in saying that is if you do everything right, you are already in the top 10%. That includes a lot of really simple mistakes, like misspelling the agent’s name or grammatical errors in the first paragraph, or, you know, launching into like a weird, rambly thing about your ex-wife or something like. Right. Like you would be surprised. There are a lot of like, there are a lot of strange people who are writing books and their queries are just as strange. I mean, I’ve read some really strange queries in my life, and Jessica is nodding because I know she has like, there is a lot of there’s a lot of weird people sitting in garages across America or like writing weird books, and these are the people that you’re trying to differentiate yourself from. And honestly, that differentiation is not that difficult if you’re a serious student of writing. So it’s just about learning the sort of like expectations. And that’s what we’re getting into here. So rod asked, long term career, does that place first time writers in their 60s at a disadvantage? I don’t think so at all.

Jonathan Baker (00:12:48) – A great book is a great book, and agents are interested in publishing a great book. But just because you’re in your 60s doesn’t mean that you don’t still have ten books in you. You know, like my aunt whose name is Jody Thomas, that romance novelist. She’s I think 76, and she’s still publishing four books a year. She’s published, like 80 books or something ridiculous. So, like, if you’re passionate, then that passion should come through in your query letter. And, you know, one of my favorite books is A River Runs Through It. And Norman McLean published that novel and when he was 72 years old, and that was his first novel. And then it became a movie with Brad Pitt and big success, and made that agent a lot of money. So you want to introduce yourself as a writer. That’s just as important as introducing the book and the way you do that. Um, you want a little bio at the end of the query, but really it’s about being personal, personable, and about being sort of conversational and also letting the agent know that you know who they are and what they publish, so that they know that you are not wasting their time.

Jonathan Baker (00:13:53) – And we can talk a little bit more about that. So one thing that is really important, I think, is you want to show the agent how to pitch your book. That saves them time and energy, but it also allows them to kind of imagine what they would say to an editor if they were at an editorial lunch and they were pitching this book. So you want to be thinking of your book in terms of what it is as a product that is for sale, and a lot of you are doing that already. I was looking through your queries, and a lot of you are, uh, doing that, but there are sort of lazy ways to do that where you, um, for example, I saw I must have seen the word upmarket a thousand times in all of your queries, and I see it constantly. And there’s a reason for that, because it is a shortcut. But it also can be harmful in a way, because it it’s so overused these days. People say upmarket constantly so that it doesn’t it’s not a differentiator in any way, you know.

Jonathan Baker (00:14:49) – And so what you want to do is get into specifics about why your book is interesting and different, and you want to get to that rather quickly so that the agent can go, oh, I see how I could. Sell this. I think this would be an easy sale, you know? So that’s what you want them to be thinking. You always want to be trying to put yourself into the mind of the agent. So there’s some kind of obvious stuff, but that I assume most of you know. But if you don’t, here you go. Right? Each agent individually. We all use templates. Of course we do. But keep the first paragraph open for you to personalize that query. And obviously you want to say Dear Miz or Mr. Agent and you want to get the name right. You want to spell it right. And ideally within the first sentence or two, you’re like, hey, I’m aware that you publish this author. I think they’re great. And I think that this book that I’ve just written is similar to what they’ve written.

Jonathan Baker (00:15:48) – So I think you would love it. You know, that’s such a good intro because it says to the agent, I’ve done my done the legwork, I know who you are, I know what you’re passionate about. And I think I would fit into your list really well. One really good trick to do that. This is just a great way to find agents. Potential agents in general, is to go through the list of books that you love that are similar to the book that you wrote, and then find out who their agents are, and those are the agents you query first. Often you can go even to Barnes and Noble or whatever, you know, Books-a-million and just look for books that are similar to yours that feel like the same vibe. You don’t have to have read them, but check the acknowledgments. The authors will mention the agent almost always if there are acknowledgments in the book. And that’s such a great way to just get a good list of agents going that you probably will have a higher hit rate because they’re already publishing things that you love.

Jonathan Baker (00:16:44) – It’s a really good idea to keep track of your submissions and your rejections you want. I use an Excel spreadsheet. There’s also a lot of you probably use Duo trope, and I usually used to use Duo Trope two. There’s a there’s a nifty little deal, and you do a trope where you can keep track of who you’ve queried and whether it was a personal rejection or a form rejection, and whether there were any notes or personalization. You want to keep track of this stuff because you don’t want to waste your own time wearing the same agent twice. Oh, you want to keep track of agency? What agency it is, what the agent. It is the date that you query, the response time like how long it took them, and then any feedback they gave you. But you also, if there’s personal sort of feedback, you want to get a sense of what that is. And if you’re hearing the same thing come up again, then that’s something that you really want to address in your manuscript before you query more agents.

Jonathan Baker (00:17:38) – If something just comes up once, this is kind of my rule. If something comes up once, that’s just that one person’s opinion. If it comes up three times, then you’ve really got something that you probably should address. Don’t be afraid to follow up with agents. They’re super busy. And like, I mean, don’t follow up the next day or a week later. But if it’s been a month or six weeks and you haven’t heard back, especially if it’s an agent that you’re really excited about or think has a lot of potential, follow up and say, hey, you know, I queried you six weeks ago, I know you’re really busy, but I really do feel like we could have a good working relationship. I feel like my my book is right in your wheelhouse, and I wanted to make sure that it didn’t fall out of your, you know, fall through the cracks, you know, like, be be nice, be professional, maybe be a little funny, be chill. But don’t be afraid to follow up because the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Jonathan Baker (00:18:27) – So querying in groups of 5 or 10 is a good idea. I’ve talked to people who like, yeah, you know, I finished my book and I queried 70 agents. Well, the issue with that is some of those agents are going to have feedback, and you’re going to want to address that feedback in your manuscript. And once you’ve updated your manuscript with this really solid feedback, you don’t have any more agents to query with a new manuscript because you’ve, like, you know, queried your top 70 agents. So pick five that you’re really excited about or ten and query those you know, and that gives you more time and energy. This is a marathon. It’s not a it’s not a sprint. So that gives you more time and energy to focus on those queries, to know those agents, to make sure that you’re sort of hitting the target right in the center, and then give it a fair amount of time, six weeks, like I said, not more than two months, which is really pushing it.

Jonathan Baker (00:19:21) – And then, like I said, address their feedback and then go next down the list. What are you who are your next 5 or 10 agents that way? Well, like I said, it’s just working smart. Another thing is know how to recognize a form rejection. You’re going to get a lot of them. It’s not personal. These people are really, really busy. I used to send out form rejections, you know, by the dozens every day. It sucks. And I didn’t like doing it. But it’s the nature of the game. If you get a form rejection and a form rejection is pretty. There’s nothing personal in it. There’s no sort of like personalized notes. There’s nothing that makes gives you the sense that. They really spent time thinking about your query or your manuscript. Don’t take it personally and just move on. Do not respond. Don’t say hey agent, thanks for taking it. They get enough emails as it is. They’re their assistant or the intern or possibly the agent glanced at it.

Jonathan Baker (00:20:18) – It wasn’t for them and they moved on. And you have to move on to. And that’s just the name of the game. It doesn’t mean you can’t query that agent again with another book, but they’re not going to remember who you are if you follow up and you’re just going to annoy them. And annoying agents is the opposite of what we’re trying to do here. Let’s see. Never, never argue about rejections. Just don’t do it. Like. And I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this, but you’d be amazed. Like, writers like email back and they’re like, I don’t think you realize how good this book is. And it’s like you are just shooting yourself in the foot. Don’t do it. I know that you’re really passionate about your work. I know you’re really close to your work. We’re all writers were all like that, and these are our babies, and you don’t like when somebody rejects your baby. But this is a business. It’s the name of the game. You just got to move on and find that agent who will recognize the pearl in the oyster.

Jonathan Baker (00:21:09) – And you know, and don’t argue. It’s not going to help you. Some agents will ask for the first 50 pages of your manuscript. That’s a great sign. If they do, the reason that they do that is because they’re not super sure about your book, but they want to check it out. But if they were to ask for the entire manuscript, then they’re really putting themselves in a position where rejecting you down the line will be harder because they asked for the full manuscript. So what they’re doing is tempering your expectations by saying, I’m just going to glance at the beginning of this thing because it could be for me. It could not. But they’re trying not to paint themselves into a corner and just recognize that they’re really busy reading. Even if you’re a fast reader, reading takes a long time, and they’re juggling dozens of manuscripts at any given time, so they’re doing their best when they do request the entire manuscript. Obviously, that’s a very good sign. Be professional, be cheerful, send it along, and there’s a good chance you won’t hear back from them because they’re really busy.

Jonathan Baker (00:22:12) – So follow up again, say, hey, you know, it’s been a month. I just wanted to check in and see what you thought of my book. You know, always, always be professional. Always, always be cheerful and and conversational and don’t come across as grumpy. This is so important because this is what I was talking about earlier. Agents manage careers. You don’t want to give away the game early and say, hey, I’m going to be someone that you have to constantly babysit, and I’m going to be calling you crying all the time, and I’m a giant pain in the ass. You don’t want to be that person because it’s not healthy. You want to be like, hey, I’m self-sustaining. You know? I’m self-motivated, I’m professional, I’m funny, I’m cool, and I’m someone that you would want to have lunch with occasionally. Give a call and be excited about my work. So you want to be that person, even if you’re not that person. Learn to pretend to be that person.

Jonathan Baker (00:23:02) – It’s okay if you’re not. So let’s see. Sometimes an agent will want to chat. They’ll say, hey, you know, do you have some time to for a quick phone call? This is always a very good sign, but it doesn’t mean that they are going to take you on there. Just this is really often just a vibe check. You know, they’re trying to see, like I said, what kind of a person you are, how you are to talk to, because that’s just as important as how good the work is. I mean, you can have written a total masterpiece and then you can be an insufferable sociopath. But for the rest of us who aren’t cranking out masterpieces all the time, we want to be someone who’s fun to work with and who’s kind and likable. So keep that in mind and it’s okay to say, hey, I’m nervous. Like you’re a human person, you know? So if you’re talking to an agent, say, look, I really I think this could be a good working relationship.

Jonathan Baker (00:23:50) – I’m really nervous about this conversation. So forgive me if I’m like, you know, I stumble over my words, but I’m just excited. Just be human, you know, like, we’re all humans and they get that and they deal with writers all the time, and we all know how writers can be. So, yeah, like I said, they want a sense that you’re self-motivated and that you have a lot of books in you and that there’s not going to be a lot of babysitting. So it’s always a good thing to say, you know, even if you haven’t published them, say, in the past five years I’ve published five books or not published. I’ve written five books. I haven’t queried them. I’ve been, you know, or whatever. Like there are so many writers who have written 5 or 6 or 8 or 10 books before they published one, and it’s a good sign. It doesn’t make you look like a failure or something if you have written it, it just shows like, I’m I’m putting the word, the work in.

Jonathan Baker (00:24:41) – I’m putting my butt in the chair every day. I love to write. I’m a workhorse. All of this stuff is good. I’ve had more than one agent tell me that they would rather have a workhorse who published a book a year than a National Book Award winner, because this is about paying their rent, you know, just like it is your, uh, on some level. You hope about paying your rent? I mean, that’s the dream, right? And so for every National Book Award winner who publishes like one book every 12 years, you know, they would rather have somebody who’s really, like, cranking it stuff out and making money every year. So let’s see what else. Remember, if you do chat with them, or even if you’re just exchanging emails, you’re also interviewing that agent. I was texting with Julie earlier and I said something like, there are a lot of big personalities in publishing, which is a nice way of saying there are a lot of like, you know what I’m saying? There’s agents and editors too, can be they can have big egos, they can be big personalities, they can be pains in the ass.

Jonathan Baker (00:25:44) – They really can. Not all of them, not even the majority of them, but some of them. And so look for those red flags for yourself, too, because this could be a lifelong working relationship, and you don’t want it to be with someone that you can’t stand talking to, you know. But with that said, keep in mind that a lot of the reason that agents are successful is because they are, well, ruthless, for lack of a better word, and they’re going to put that ruthlessness to work for you. They’re going to that’s that’s the tool that they use to get you bigger advances. So if they come across as brash, it’s often just because they’re busy and also because they know how to take no for an answer, and they know exactly what they want and they are looking for it. And once they find it, they will work hard. And a lot of times that comes across as being sort of grumpy or dismissive or whatever. So there’s a line there. You do want someone who will fight for you.

Jonathan Baker (00:26:43) – You just want someone that you know. You don’t want someone that you’re going to be fighting with. So moving on. If an agent is to offer you a contract, don’t accept it automatically. Like, don’t I know you’re going to be excited, but say, hey, this is great, I’m really excited, but give me a few days to think about this, because first of all, if you get, uh, an offer from an agent, you can use that as leverage with any other agent who is looking at your manuscript. So get off the phone and or, you know, open up your email, email all of those agents who have your manuscript and say, I’ve just received an offer. Would you like to move my manuscript up in your reading list and have a look? I’ve given them a week before I accept this, you know, like, because I’d really like to consider working with you as well or whatever. So use it as leverage. It’s very important because when an agent knows that another agent has said yes, you suddenly become a lot more attractive as a writer.

Julie Kingsley (00:27:44) – Yeah, I think the standard right now is two weeks is a two week grace period to give them for reading, because everyone’s so busy after the pandemic.

Jonathan Baker (00:27:51) – Yeah, no that’s true. Two weeks is a good amount of time. And so what I would say is like, try to use that two weeks to your fullest advantage to make sure that everybody is getting a look at your manuscript that you want to. And if you’re not hearing back from them, forget them. You know, I there are agents that I love who are just bad at returning emails, but they’re good people, so, you know, it just is what it is. But most importantly, listen to your gut like, don’t just think with your head about this stuff. There are there’s a classic sort of conversation or argument that happens in publishing about whether it’s better to have a super high powered agent who has no time for you, or whether it’s better to have a young junior agent who loves your manuscript and is super passionate about it and will give it tons of time, but doesn’t necessarily have all of the editors in chief at all of the big publishing houses on speed dial.

Jonathan Baker (00:28:47) – I don’t have an answer for that. It’s just like I said, listen to your gut. If there is a young junior agent and you’re like, I want to build my career with you, let’s see if what we can do. You go into that knowing your advances will probably be smaller, but you’ll also have someone on your team who’s passionate about you. But there could be that high powered agent who doesn’t even have to read your manuscript. Quite frankly, they have to read the first 30 pages and they’re like this. I could sell this. And then they sell it for, you know, six figures like it happens, but they’re not going to answer your phone calls. You’re going to be talking to their assistant. You’re going to feel like an afterthought. But the money could be better. So but they’re not going to be reading your manuscript with the kind of care and attention. And they may not be as good of a long term partner. So think about these things when you’re, like weighing which agent to choose.

Jonathan Baker (00:29:38) – If you do get to that place. I appreciate you all letting me ramble. This is sort of strange because I can see all of your faces, and I would love for this to be more of a conversation, but but then I’m afraid we wouldn’t ever get anything done because I just love to chat.

Julie Kingsley (00:29:52) – No, I think it was perfect. And I think just, um, you touched on some of the things we’ve talked about here at the Manuscript Academy before, but it’s always great to hear. You know, like a nuance or a different way of thinking about it or, you know, like, especially from someone that’s seen like all areas of publishing. So I think there was a lot of value in that. Thank you so much. Do you want to jump into some of the, um, the works right now?

Jonathan Baker (00:30:17) – Let me look at some of these questions that came up and then let’s go through. Then we can go through some of those queries that we were going to look at. So let’s see what’s going on in the chat here.

Jonathan Baker (00:30:28) – Should you mention in your query if an editor has vetted your manuscript? I think that yeah, you should mention anything that says that your manuscript is closer to being ready for publication. So if you’ve had an editor go through it. Yeah, that that is a plus. Likewise, anything that you can say about yourself that is a differentiator or that just shows that you’re passionate. If you’re a member of, um, Mystery Writers of America, if you have an MFA or a degree in American literature, like if you have publications, even if they’re small, all of that stuff just says, I’m serious about this. I’m not a dilettante. So, yeah, I’ve never heard of the story strand. The strand is, in my opinion, the best bookstore in America. And if you go to New York City, you should go there. Lots of positive comments about the strand. Uh, not sure why people forget agents or people, too. It’s because they’re on the other side of an email wall and it and often you’re getting form rejections and it is easy to forget.

Jonathan Baker (00:31:24) – So it’s okay if you forget. Just try to remember. Let’s see. Long term career. Does that place first time writers. And no, I already answered that. What are the biggest mistakes and most common mistakes you see? Yeah, that’s that’s a good question. Mistakes. Don’t mention previous rejections from other agents. I don’t know why people do this. Don’t do that. Like I’ve queried 20 agents and five of them seem interested. Don’t just don’t. They don’t care. Like so just query that agent. Don’t mention other agents don’t mention like how many agents your manuscript is with or anything like that. The only exception is if you’ve gotten an offer, but otherwise just don’t just leave that stuff out. Never refer to your book as a fiction novel. Don’t do that. Fiction novel means fiction. And these are little things that I mean, like where it shows that you maybe are kind of an amateur and they don’t want to do a lot of hand-holding. So just be careful about your verbiage and what you’re saying.

Jonathan Baker (00:32:26) – Make sure that you know what you’re talking about. Um, don’t feel sorry for yourself. Nobody wants to know. Agent wants to handle take on a martyr, you know, as a client. So, you know, like, I’ve been querying for X many years, and I can’t believe nobody’s picked this book up because it’s so good. Like, just the woe is me act is never successful. This is not directly related to querying, but what’s your word count if you’re trying to if you’re querying a romance novel or, you know, a police procedural and it’s 140,000 words, they’re going to reject it outright just because it’s really hard to sell hundred and 40,000 word book. But if it’s a fantasy novel, it’s 140,000 words. It’s probably okay, because fantasy readers are used to longer books like that. So get familiar with word count lengths for the type of book that you’re trying to write. If it’s too short, that’s something to, you know, like, this is a literary novel, you know, and it’s 60,000 words.

Jonathan Baker (00:33:26) – It’s going to be too short. They’re just going to their 90% chance. They’re going to reject it outright just because of the word count. Yeah. Don’t get bogged down in genre jargon like I mentioned earlier. Like this is a horror romance suspense with elements of fantasy and an upmarket vibe. And like, it’s just they know those terms. They’re not going to be impressed that you know those terms too. So be specific about why your book is good, your specific book. And instead of just using sort of overarching terms like that, don’t be too confident. Don’t do this thing where it’s like my book is like is going to change publishing forever, or my stories have been compared to my finest work or whatever. Like if you come across as insufferable, they’re not going to want to or super impressed with yourself. There’s not going to be room for them to be impressed by you if you’re already that impressed with yourself. So, uh, don’t discuss like, potential advance figures or payment rates in your query.

Jonathan Baker (00:34:20) – Like, just don’t do it. Don’t. That’s their job to know how much money. So don’t don’t bring that stuff up. Don’t say your work is copyrighted. Don’t put the little copyright symbol next to your book, like your book is automatically copyrighted under your name if you write a book. So just don’t. Don’t try to get fancy with your query. Don’t use graphics, photos, colorful fonts and emojis. Don’t use anything but a 12 point font. Just don’t try to like put a bunch of bells and whistles. That never works, it just comes across as amateurish. Likewise, avoid attachments. If they say avoid attachments if they want to see the first few pages, the first five pages of your query, paste it below the. Worry. Don’t add an attachment. If they see an attachment, they’re just going to reject or delete that email immediately because it could have a virus in it. Yeah, I think that’s it. That’s as far as the mistakes that people make. And don’t go over a page.

Jonathan Baker (00:35:13) – Keep it short. You said I did that once and caught it too late. I don’t know what it was, but if it was misspelling an agent’s name. God, I think we’ve all done that. If you think we’re. It just it’s it’s happens. Just be really careful. You can be a great writer and be really crappy at writing query letters. It’s a different skill and it’s a different type of writing. And it doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer, and often it just means that you’re too close to your book, like you’ve been spending so much time in a room with this thing and you’re really passionate about it, but you can’t necessarily talk about it in an objective way, and that’s what’s necessary in a query letter. So scrolling down, see if anything jumps out and then we’ll get to your queries. If they use the pronouns they. That’s a good question. Should we use the title agent? Yeah. I said earlier dear Miss and Mr.. It’s because I’m a little too old school sometime, but a lot of agents I assume use they pronouns and if they do, just say dear Agent Blank I think does that sound right? Julie.

Julie Kingsley (00:36:12) – Yeah, we’ve been hearing I know it’s kind of a formal letter, but we’ve been hearing the name more. Just saying the first name, you know, that that, that, that some of them are, are fine with that. And, you know, just being careful, just being careful. And just like doing your research, Jessica, if.

Jessica Sinsheimer (00:36:27) – They’re likely to feel that you should be formal about it, you can use the prefix mix em period instead of Ms. or Mr..

Jonathan Baker (00:36:34) – Oh, interesting. Yeah. Any any agent who’s non-binary is going to be familiar with people struggling with this. So there’s going to be a bit of grace with you not knowing how to handle it, because you’re not going to be the first. So just do your best and act with compassion and try to be sensible. If an agent has worked on a book I love but no longer lists that genre, then should I pass on querying them? Yeah, probably. If they’re not listing your genre, I wouldn’t query them.

Jonathan Baker (00:37:02) – It could mean that they got fed up with or overloaded with that particular genre, and they’re just taking a break or whatever, but you always want to show that you read what they’re looking for. Otherwise it seems like you’re wasting their time and they don’t like that for good reason. My last rejection asked if I have another story to send it to them, but the story I queried was fiction Christian based? Um, I’m not sure what the question is, but if they ask if you have another story to send them, send it to them no matter what it is, just in case you know you always want to follow up. Baker. If you’re a twice published business marketing author and you’re querying middle grade, your book, is that a disconnect for an agent? Not necessarily. You might want to mention very quickly in your final paragraph. I’ve published a couple of business books because that says I am able to finish books and publish them, even if they’re self-published. It’s a good thing to show that you are able to complete things.

Jonathan Baker (00:37:58) – And so you do want to mention that. But with that said, be very brief about it and don’t focus on it because they are not looking for business authors who also publish middle grade. They’re looking for a great middle grade book and a great middle grade author, and focus on why that specific book and you as an author are great for their list. So yeah, if you follow up, do you include the query again or just the book title? Don’t include the query. Again, just the book title is fine. And a follow up you can, I guess. What do you think, Julie I never did and I never you could paste the query into the bottom. I don’t think it hurts anything, but I don’t think you have to, because if they were passionate about it and then it kind of fell out of their mind, they’ll remember you. But you might put a couple of paragraphs or a couple of sentences in there, just kind of reminding them of what your book is. How would you compose a nudge to an agent who has your full or partial? Yeah.

Jonathan Baker (00:38:51) – Like I said, just be very quick and say hi. You requested my full manuscript and then the title of the book and what the book is. I just wanted to check in no more than a paragraph. Just be quick, but put enough in there to remind them of what your book is. How does Dual Trope compare to Query Tracker? They’re both good. I’ve used Duo Trope more and I’ve had more luck with it, but I have no issues with Query Tracker. It’s whatever you’re comfortable with. Should I mention an award winning self-published novel of the same genre from 2011? I’m not sure what you’re asking. Like if you wrote the book and it won an award, yes, you should mention any awards that you won because that will help your case when an agent is requested your full manuscript, when should you expect to hear it back? Like I said, six weeks is of is a fair amount of time two months at the outside. If it’s been longer than two months and you’ve followed up a couple of times and you still haven’t heard back, I say move on.

Jonathan Baker (00:39:52) – It’s just probably not going to happen. You know, you might query again in six months or something. So let’s go on to people’s queries. I’m going to go ahead and. Share my screen. So I did not pick this for this reason. But it starts off dear Mr. Barker and my name is Mr. Baker, so we’ve already talked about this, but if I were at an agency, I would be like, I would be likely to move on just because I’ve probably gotten 200 emails that day, and any excuse to kind of move on is often taken by the agent. But I’m certainly not upset. I’ve been called Barker and a lot of worse things, but I picked this one because I think it’s a really good query for the most part. Um, completed 90,000 words. Artifice of water and Stone is an adult fantasy novel about necromancy and loss. What I like about that is if you just say it’s a novel about loss, that’s not really saying anything but necromancy, like we’re raising the dead now it becomes interesting.

Jonathan Baker (00:40:50) – Set in a world where magic in 1920s technology seamlessly intertwined. So you’re already getting into specifics about what makes this book unique and special. And I thought this query did a really good job of introducing the world, which which can be hard because this is fantasy. And so often in science fiction and fantasy, there’s all these kind of terms and worldbuilding that you need to understand. And often queries make a mistake of getting too into the weeds with that stuff too quickly, and it’s just really easy for agents and and assistants to get lost in that stuff. But this one, you know, it describes the sort of three types of people that exist in this world. And then I love this paragraph when it says when an artificer is discovered dead, the investigation falls to this person. Fifth line artificer in the previous paragraph, it explain what these people are. The investigation seems at first to be the purpose they each desperately need. So we already have a purpose for these characters, but they’re harboring dark secrets. And anytime that you can mention an inner conflict, that’s a good idea.

Jonathan Baker (00:42:00) – Within a character. So this character is plotting to protect herself and haunted by a growing romantic attraction. So we have the romance element. She doesn’t know whether to conceal her family’s corrupt legacy or and leave the murder unsolved, or reveal the real killer. Both of those come. So you’re showing, like, really high stakes on both sides. And all of this stuff is just basic good novel writing. 101. So after reading this query, I was like, I would like to read this book. It sounds good to me. It sounds like really interesting, cool worldbuilding. It has an LGBTQ kind of like queer love story thing happening that is interesting to me. It has serial potential. Anytime you can mention like this is the potential to be a series, that’s a good thing. For the reasons I mentioned earlier about agents wanting a long term sort of client. I just think it’s a good query. And, uh, also, okay, we didn’t talk about comp titles, but these comp titles are good.

Jonathan Baker (00:43:03) – China marvel is a is a big, big time science fiction writer. And then there’s kind of a curveball here with Joan Didion. So I think these are really thoughtful and interesting comp titles. And I want to talk about comp titles for just a second, but I’ll finish this query. I love this part about my husband and my unreasonably fluffy cat. Like, this is a nice little way to say I am a cool, nice, interesting person with a cool cat. And I’m a little bit funny. Like I’m not like super intense all the time. Like it’s just three little words near the end of the query, but it says, hey, I’m kind of fun, you know, like I’m chill.

Julie Kingsley (00:43:47) – Kylie, are you here? Is this one yours?

Speaker 4 (00:43:49) – Yes.

Speaker 5 (00:43:49) – And I’m mortified about the name thing.

Julie Kingsley (00:43:51) – Oh don’t worry. Oh no no.

Jonathan Baker (00:43:53) – No, it’s totally fine. Like, I mean, I think it’s a good instruction because there’s this is super low stakes and it’s like, I’m a novelist too.

Jonathan Baker (00:44:02) – I have literally done made this exact same mistake. And it’s just because you’re typing fast, you’re sending out a ton of queries, whatever. And you don’t necessarily know who these people are. And often they could have a name like Barker Baker. Um, or it could be Smith with a Y or something like that. And you just if they do have a name that is commonly misspelled and you make that mistake, they probably have a little bit of like low grade trauma from it being misspelled their entire life or being called that by their like, third grade teacher who they didn’t like or whatever. So you don’t want those associations or whatever, but I don’t have any of those associations. And I think your book sounds great, Kylie, and you seem perfectly lovely. So this I’m going to move on to Marilyn’s query. I, I love this query. I think this sounds really fun. I do think that, as I mentioned earlier, like there should be some kind of an intro paragraph, but this is a template.

Jonathan Baker (00:44:56) – So I assume that Marilyn did that when she was. Maryland. Are you here?

Speaker 4 (00:45:00) – Yep. I’m here.

Jonathan Baker (00:45:01) – Cool. I assume that you’re doing that. If not, you should be like, you know, tailoring your queries to the specific agents. But yeah, I love this first sentence. I invite you to sink your teeth into Impossible Chocolates. You sound like a fun person already a multi-generational family story set in suburban new Jersey that primes readers for book club discussions. That’s a very smart move. Book club agents are looking for book club selections because, you know, a book club will buy 5 or 10 copies of a book, you know? So this is a way to sell more copies and that it’s clear, Marilyn, that you are putting yourself in the position of the agent and thinking in terms of what, uh, what they would be looking for. So it’s smart at 88,000 words. That’s a good word count. I always think that 85,000 words is like dead, uh, center kind of ideal word count for most books that aren’t, you know, fantasy or middle grade or something.

Jonathan Baker (00:46:02) – You know, it’s a good it’s a good word count. I thought that your, your, your comp titles were really good. Barbara Kingsolver is a good name to bring up because she’s not a huge name. I mean, she’s pretty big, but you know, you’re not comparing yourself to, you know, Faulkner or something. It’s just someone she’s she’s an author who’s who’s a pro who’s really well-regarded and who sells really well. And I think that Kinky Boots is also a really fun sort of thing to throw in there, too. So, yeah. Um, I think this is just a really good query. You mentioned that you’re, you know, a reference librarian in a public library, which is a good thing anytime you can say, I spend all my time around books like that, you’re just going to be breathing in the sort of like nature of the industry. And it’s a helpful thing. And then that final sentence in between, I do my best to control my addiction to 80% cacao dark chocolate.

Jonathan Baker (00:46:56) – It’s it’s funny and charming and, uh, you seem like a really warm person who’s written a pretty fun book. And if I were an agent, I would probably request at least the beginning of this manuscript, if not the full manuscript. So I think that’s a that’s a great query. Good job. Marilyn.

Speaker 4 (00:47:12) – Well, thank you very much.

Jonathan Baker (00:47:13) – Sara, are you here?

Speaker 4 (00:47:15) – Yes I am, yeah.

Jonathan Baker (00:47:16) – I thought this was a great query too, but I really selected it because I wanted to talk about this first paragraph, because I think it’s such a great illustration of how to personalize your query to a specific agent. So there’s the agent’s name here. And then I came across your name as representing Maria Amparo Condon. I love her book La Weather. Exclamation point. I think that la, that exclamation point is actually a smart move there. It’s like, I’m really excited about this author that you are probably excited about too, because you represent them. My novel Gallop in Slow Motion, also set in the fire Risk Edge of Los Angeles, centers on love is the source for resilience and trauma recovery.

Jonathan Baker (00:47:54) – It is an excellent fit for your list, I would say. I think my book might make an excellent fit for your list or something like that. Be a little bit less confident and forceful, because agents want to decide for themselves whether something is a good fit for their list. But with that said, I think you’re totally on the right track and saying like, it’s that thing I was mentioning earlier about doing the work for them, saying like, you’re I’ve done the thinking for you about what my book will do for your list or how you’ll be able to make money off of it, how you’ll be able to sell it to editors. And then the rest of your query, I think, is really good, too. People can glance at it. I think that, again, I think these are good comp titles. Geraldine Brooks is kind of similar to Barbara Kingsolver, a Pulitzer winner. Someone who sells really well, has a following, but isn’t a huge like name. I mean, she is in the writing community, but like, you know, my mom doesn’t know that.

Jonathan Baker (00:48:52) – Geraldine. That’s always my like, that’s that’s always how I judge how famous someone is. If my mom is heard of it, I yeah, I think that’s a really good query, Sarah. But I also just wanted to commend you on on how well you tailored that first paragraph to that specific agent. And I think we can all take a lesson from that. With that said, I mentioned comp titles a couple of times and those, uh, came up a good deal. And I think that that’s a comp titles are a really tricky balancing act. So I just want to mention that before I finish, you want to mention something that’s not too obscure but not too well known. So you don’t want to compare your book to something that only sold 1500 copies, no matter how much you love that book, but you also don’t want to compare it to Gone With the wind necessarily, or something that’s like a huge or Harry Potter, just because they probably seen that so many times. Like so you want to try to find something that’s sold.

Jonathan Baker (00:49:53) – Well, the tricky part about this is the way to find out how well a book sold is through something called BookScan. And only eight editors and agents really have access to BookScan. It’s pretty expensive, so it’s really hard to figure out how many copies a book has sold. But a nifty trick that I figured out is go to Goodreads and look at the number of reviews, and then multiply that by four. And that’s like a really loose, sort of like way to figure out how many copies a book is sold, because you do not want to use a comp title of a book that didn’t sell. Well, then you’re just kind of shooting yourself in the foot. Also, if you see a book at your local bookstore and it has several copies on the shelf, that’s probably a good bet that it’s selling well. You know, if there are eight copies there, then stacked on the shelf, and then that would probably be a good comp title if you do want to mention big, more big sort of multi like overarching big cultural force kind of things, then do the blink meets blink thing like, uh, my novel is jaws meets Jane Austen or, you know, it’s ocean.

Jonathan Baker (00:50:58) – Ocean’s 11 said in a Harry Potter esque London full of magic and wizarding. Or, uh, this is Blade Runner is written by Jonathan Franzen. This is if Gone Girl were set in the world of Deadwood. So these are things that are really good shortcuts that allow agents to kind of picture something in a few words. And it’s not exactly a comp title, but it’s similar and I think it’s really helpful. With that said, I think I’m, I’m I’m basically done.

Julie Kingsley (00:51:24) – Yeah, that was so great. I feel like especially the comp titles and figuring out, you know, the, the idea of how do you find one with the right amount of sales. And so maybe you can answer this question, maybe Jessica can answer it, like, what are the sales amount of the comps that we’re looking for?

Jonathan Baker (00:51:42) – Jessica. Do you want to feel that?

Jessica Sinsheimer (00:51:43) – Well, if they have BookScan or if they don’t like are we going. We don’t.

Julie Kingsley (00:51:48) – If we’re just if we’re if they don’t.

Jessica Sinsheimer (00:51:50) – I usually look at number of Amazon reviews.

Jessica Sinsheimer (00:51:53) – I feel like that’s a good thing too. I think it’s nice to get something that’s got over 100 Amazon reviews at least. Um, if we did know the sales, I guess I’d want. It’s hard to say because you want solid bucket list, right? You don’t want something that’s like a million copies because that’s just outlandish. I guess I would ballpark it around 50,000 copies sold, but we don’t necessarily know. I don’t have BookScan. Personally. I think we just kind of go by general feel and general sense in the industry.

Jonathan Baker (00:52:22) – And we should say, even if you do have BookScan, it’s not the complete numbers. Amazon doesn’t report their number numbers, Apple doesn’t report their numbers. So the publishing industry is really tricky. But Jessica’s right. You just want to make sure that you’re mentioning something. Bestseller lists are a good idea as long as you’re not mentioning something like that has been on the bestseller list for two years. But if something has been on the bestseller list, then it’s obviously selling well.

Jonathan Baker (00:52:50) – And so that’s a good place to go sort of diving. But yeah, I think Goodreads or Amazon reviews are a good way to sort of ballpark how popular something is, if it’s too popular, if it’s like Gone Girl, which as we know, like there were so many imitation Gone Girls for like ten years after Gone Girl was published. So I’m sure there were a ton millions of queries that were mentioning Gone Girl. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Yeah, my.

Julie Kingsley (00:53:16) – My friend’s book was pitched as the Year Gone Girl. So like it was like immediately she just got picked up immediately because of that. So it’s really interesting. I feel like I feel like you make query letter sound. I know you when we Baker and I went out to dinner, we were talking about query letters and he was like, it’s so fun. And I’m like.

Speaker 4 (00:53:37) – Hahaha.

Julie Kingsley (00:53:38) – I just laughed.

Speaker 4 (00:53:40) – It’s like a.

Jonathan Baker (00:53:40) – Puzzle to me. Yeah. Yeah, and and of course, like, if any of you need help, I’m happy to help you with your queries.

Jonathan Baker (00:53:48) – Uh, I’ve been doing it for a long time. Yeah.

Julie Kingsley (00:53:50) – So that gets us to a new offering we have. We decided like, this is we always try to listen to you guys and hear what you need, and then try to find good people that might be able to fit that need. And when I was talking to Baker, we were talking about a longer model to help with query letters. So the model that we’re looking at right now, she explained it.

Jessica Sinsheimer (00:54:10) – Jessica or Baker, do you want to.

Julie Kingsley (00:54:12) – Baker do you want explain it?

Jonathan Baker (00:54:13) – Uh oh yeah. So when you said model, I was thinking like template or something like that.

Speaker 4 (00:54:19) – Like, I know, like I.

Julie Kingsley (00:54:20) – Know offering here at the Manuscript Academy.

Jonathan Baker (00:54:23) – What we’re planning is a half hour meeting, and in that half hour, you would explain your book to me, and we would just sort of talk about strategy as far as how to find agents and then how to pitch them. And then you would send me your query and whatever shape that it’s in, even if it’s in kind of a shambles, that’s fine.

Jonathan Baker (00:54:45) – It’s actually often easier to fix something that’s in a shambles than it is something that’s been pretty polished. But I would rewrite your query basically, and then I would send it to you and then you would make notes, make some edits, send it back to me. I would do one final sort of buff and shine and, uh, send it back to you. And then at that point, we should have a pretty good query. So that, I think, is the kind of program that we’re planning.

Speaker 4 (00:55:10) – Yeah.

Julie Kingsley (00:55:11) – So it’s more collaborative. Um, Baker’s going to just take it and just kind of take the ese from you. I actually did that this for a lot of writers before I started the Manuscript Academy. I would just just say, let me do this for you because you’re too close to it, right? Especially if it was a book that I understood. So we’re going.

Speaker 4 (00:55:30) – To try easy for.

Jonathan Baker (00:55:31) – Writers to be like. I want to mention, like all of these characters, because you love them so much and you’ve spent so much time with them, but like, yeah, exactly.

Jonathan Baker (00:55:40) – It’s so easy to follow it, go down the rabbit hole or go into the woods. Yeah.

Speaker 4 (00:55:44) – The weeds.

Julie Kingsley (00:55:45) – So once again, you can use your gold codes with these. It is a higher price point of course, because of the fact that there’s some collaborating here and there’s a lot of touch basing, um, when it comes to it. Jessica, do you have the link.

Jessica Sinsheimer (00:56:00) – So it’s Manuscript academy.com/collaborative hyphen query hyphen consultations. And we’ll put that in the show notes too. Yeah. Just think of this as a way to know for sure that you don’t have to worry about making mistakes. I mean how lovely is that? Right. So okay, putting it in the chat again and yeah, again, Jonathan, I appreciate this. There are so many people out there who just it’s so stressful to put these together. There’s so much conflicting information. There’s so much. Do I do it this way. Do I did this other way. Well, this person is screaming at me on this blog post over here to never do that.

Jessica Sinsheimer (00:56:36) – This person says I have to.

Jonathan Baker (00:56:37) – There’s so much conflicting information on Reddit and online and stuff. And also I worked as a copy editor for years, so I’ll make sure the commas and the spelling and all.

Speaker 4 (00:56:45) – That stuff.

Jonathan Baker (00:56:46) – Was right.

Speaker 4 (00:56:47) – Like, yeah.

Julie Kingsley (00:56:48) – So so once again, it’s another offering for you all. And regardless if, if you want to do that or not, I think hopefully everyone has learned something here today, I certainly did. Thank you Baker. It was amazing.

Speaker 4 (00:56:59) – Yeah.

Jonathan Baker (00:56:59) – No, it was a pleasure and I hope I didn’t ramble too much.

Jessica Sinsheimer (00:57:03) – You were great. Just to note, some of you are saying you’re having trouble with check ins in the chat. You can always send a note to academy@manuscript.com and I will help you out with those. So if you’ve got like how to communicate with agents problems, send me a note I will I will help you out.

Julie Kingsley (00:57:17) – Great.

Speaker 4 (00:57:18) – Awesome I love what.

Jonathan Baker (00:57:19) – Y’all are doing Julie and Jessica this is such a cool thing.

Jessica Sinsheimer (00:57:22) – Thanks.

Jessica Sinsheimer (00:57:22) – You have amazing members. We’re always talking about what did we do right to get?

Julie Kingsley (00:57:26) – I know it’s so.

Jessica Sinsheimer (00:57:27) – Much fun, talented and nice. Yeah.

Julie Kingsley (00:57:29) – Great. Awesome. Have a great day everybody. Yeah.

Speaker 4 (00:57:32) – Thanks for being here all of you. Keep writing.

Julie Kingsley (00:57:34) – Bye now. We are so glad that you joined us. And as always, we appreciate your feedback. Just head on over to the iTunes store and let us know what you think. And not only helps us make this podcast be the best it can be, but it also affects our ratings within the iTunes platform.

Jessica Sinsheimer (00:57:51) – We’d love to hear from you if you’re feeling brave and want to submit your page for our First Pages podcast, you can send it to Academy at Manuscript wishlist.com with First Pages podcast in the subject line. We’d also just love to hear from you.

Julie Kingsley (00:58:06) – And if you’d like to learn more about the Manuscript Academy and everything we have to offer, just jump on over to Manuscript academy.com.


As an editor, writer, and publishing consultant, Jonathan Baker has worked with Richard Powers, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Charles Palliser, John Lahr, and Jonathan Eig, among many other authors, and his projects have been nominated for the National Book Award and the Booker Prize. He lives in Portland, Maine.

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