I'm going to post her answers on Wednesdays throughout the month of July, starting with a few choice questions as part of IWSG:
Mary: Are you more likely to accept from an author you've met or a cold query?
CK: For me, story and style are king, so I’m indifferent to whether I’ve met the author or not. Existing Omnific authors, of course, have the advantage of being a known quantity—we’re familiar with them, their work ethic and cooperativeness—but even they can (and have) been rejected if the story is not what we’re looking for at the time.
Elizabeth: Do past books and online presence matter very much when submitting or does just the book you're selling at that minute matter? (Answered along with Jennifer's question)
Jennifer: How much attention do you pay to the writer's prior publication record/sales?
CK: It’s nice to see if someone already has an online presence and publication history, but truthfully, that doesn’t make or break our decision. I’ve rejected writers with massive followings simply because their queries were all over the place or their writing left something to be desired. Social media and sales numbers don’t necessarily equate to a high quality of work. We also love to launch the writing careers of debut authors, so not having previously published work is not an automatic strike against anyone. And in the case of those first-time authors, it’s understandable that they might not have a robust online presence yet—but they’ll be expected to develop it on being contracted.
Stephanie: What is the craziest query you've ever received?
CK: It’s probably a toss-up between the 20+ page synopsis (that had story excerpts and dialogue and everything) and one that read like five different stories/genres in one—it went from contemporary rom-com to something almost Jane Austen, and then a ghost showed up in the middle of it (but only for the one scene, it seemed), and then the whole thing kind of shifted to international action/adventure. I’m pretty sure there was some other random twist in there, too, but I can’t remember it now.
No offense to either of those authors; in both cases, I think they just lost sight of what they wanted for the story and tried to cram in too many ideas that weren’t ultimately in its best interest. One thing to remember is that you can always save an idea for another story! Killing your darlings in one manuscript doesn’t mean they can’t find new life in another.
Jennifer: What's the weirdest place you've read a manuscript?
CK: A cemetery!
Please come back for more of CK's wisdom throughout the month.
Here's the schedule:
July 9: Query Do's & Dont's
July 16: Manuscript Turn-ons & Turn-offs
July 23: What She's Looking For
Thank you so much, CK, for taking the time to answer all these questions!