As promised, here is my interview with the fabulous Jill Myles! Her debut novel, Gentlemen Prefer Succubi, released December 29th from Pocket and is selling like hotcakes!! I got a chance to sit down with Jill and talk about her road to finding an agent, dealing with rejection (yucky) and what it's like to work with a real editor! Her debut novel is a Paranormal Romance, but never fear YA and Middle Grade writers, her advice applies to us all. And if you love a sharp, racy romance, then trust me, this is the book you've been waiting for!
Just for commenting on this post, Jill has a special surprise for you! Once your comment is posted today, you will be entered to win a personalized critique from Jill's uber awesome agent, Holly Root of Waxman Literary!! Holly is actively seeking upmarket and commercial fiction, including women's fiction, mystery, urban fantasy, romance, and YA, and voice-driven nonfiction projects, with particular areas of interest in narrative nonfiction, lifestyle, psychology, self-help/relationships, science, and practical spirituality and religion. For more chances to win, follow the rest of the tour!
Next stop on the tour: Jill will be speaking with YA writer Chandler Craig! Chandler is pretty, perky and one great writer, so be sure to stop by Chandler's blog tomorrow to find out more about Jill's career and how to bypass common career mistakes!
Jill, first off, congrats!!! In a nutshell, can you tell us what your novel is about?
Here's the happy summary from my website: *Jackie was an ordinary museum docent until a mysterious vampire and a fallen angel made her into a succubus. Now a sexy immortal, she’s caught between an age-old war between angels, demons, and the immortals exiled to earth. When everyone else is choosing sides, which will she pick? The good guy or the bad boy? Maybe she wants both…
Was it hard to get an agent to bite on the concept and what was the toughest part about finding an agent for you--any advice you can give un-agented writers?
I tried to get an agent for a year and a half and with two different manuscripts. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with my writing - my query letters were good, my synopsis was tight, and people would read a few chapters and tell me "Thanks but no thanks." One agent got a query for my succubus novel, requested the full, and read it overnight. He came back to me the next day and said he was really disappointed, because my story wasn't quite there. It was "antic". I will never forget that, because I had no idea what he meant by my story being antic! So I printed out the whole thing and began to read again...and I got it. My characters overreacted. Everyone seemed to scream everything. Jokes flew left and right. Moods swung from happy to sad to happy again, all within the space of a page.
It was really bad. But I could see why no one wanted to rep it! So I took a few weeks off to rewrite, and toned down everyone's reactions. I was convinced it was going to make my manuscript boring...but at the end of the day, it worked. And when I sent out a few more query letters, one agent offered representation.
As for advice? Gosh...print out your book and read it AGAIN with an eye for character reactions. They're easy to get wrong.
How did you handle rejection from agents and/or editors? What made you keep going?
I took rejections personally...for all of five minutes. Then I figured that it was a lot like a job. I was applying, but there was something on my resume that wasn't getting me callbacks. So I worked on it, and worked on it, until I started getting responses. And then I worked until I got personalized responses. And then I worked on it until I got an agent. You just can't give up.
When you first started working with your editor what did you expect and what advice can you give others who are working with an editor for the first time?
Well, I think the thing that I learned is that every editor works differently! I was worried as heck when I first signed because I hadn't talked to my editor at all, and I was terrified to email her for fear I'd be a bothersome client. I've gotten over that fear, but I also don't pick at her with small stuff. I go to my agent for that. I do know that because I was bumped out on the schedule, it took me a long time to get my edit letter. My editor (bless her heart) is constantly working on projects and when one runs late, whoever is lower priority gets bumped a little. There's only so much you can get done in a day, you know? If something can be pushed out, it will be. But if it needs to get done, she has never let me down. I really enjoy working with her, too. She's got a great sense of humor.
In the sum total of your road to publishing experience what is the most important thing you learned along the way?
Ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Seriously. It will save you hours and hours of worry. Your agent is a partner, and you shouldn't be scared to go to them and ask for status updates or asking how things work. :)
Thanks, Jill! I'm sure this advice has helped a lot of writers out there, who really appreciate your words of wisdom!
Dear Readers, be on the look out this Friday when I post my blog awards! This is a new award that I can't wait to give out to some much deserving bloggers!
xoxo -- Hilary