Questions for the Blog?

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Dec 05 2019

My goal with this blog has always been to teach writers everything they need to know about publishing. In doing that, I’ve always found that the best resource for blog posts are always the readers themselves.

So many of my blog posts and our YouTube videos are based on questions that came from you, both here and on our YouTube channel. If you have a question you’d like to have answered or just something you’d like us to talk more about, do not hesitate to leave a comment here or email us at bookends@

And to ensure that you don’t miss our answer, I encourage you to subscribe to BookEnds on all of our platforms.

the blog (in the sidebar):




Thank you for reading. I look forward to hearing from you.

33 responses to “Questions for the Blog?”

  1. I am learning so much from these posts. Thanks for your transparency

  2. Avatar Jeri A Hoag says:

    Thank you so much for always being supportive and informative. My curiousity question is going to conferences the only place when writers can pitch to agents/editors in person? Follow up question do agents ever post which conferences they will be attending?

  3. Avatar Iris says:

    How about a bit of “agenting 2.0”, meaning: how do you work with an established client on his/her 2nd, 3rd,…. nth book? Things like:

    – Who gives input into what the next book will be? Author? Agent? Publisher? All of them?
    – What do you get from an established author? A first draft? A polished manuscript?
    – Are there deadlines for getting this manuscript to you? “You have 3 months to write this book or else…”?
    – Do you need to go through the whole submission phase again with an author that’s already published or do you always stay with the same publisher?

    I find there’s lots of information out there on how you get your first book (traditionally) published, but afterwards, info is scarce, which is a pity, really. *fill that gap* 😉

  4. Avatar Philip Ginn says:

    Should I get my manuscripts professionally edited before querying? Read my story here: I have two articles about experiences with professional editing, and I know I will be very dependent on it. The main problem with getting editing done early is that once I make any changes, I will be sure to create more errors. I call it surgery with a backhoe!

  5. Avatar Christian Miller says:

    I love your blog and it has been a fantastic source of knowledge in my efforts trying to get published, so I’d love to ask a question. 🙂

    From an agent’s perspective, as someone who hasn’t yet published a book, is it okay for me to mention my education in the section of my query letter that details my writing background? (example: food plays a big role in my current manuscript and I hold a cooking degree as well as a creative writing degree) Or is it better to just leave that part blank and not say anything at all?

    Thanks for your time! Keep on rocking out these posts, they’re a HUGE help!

  6. This may seem like an odd question, but since there’s not an unlimited number of agents for children’s picture books, do agents get annoyed with writers who “rotate” their manuscripts (i.e. re-query the same agent who previously said “no” with a different manuscript a few months later)? I have half a dozen PB manuscripts and I’m at the beginning stage of querying so I do not want to be annoying. I realize a “no” to one manuscript doesn’t mean “no” to all of them. Thank you so much for your assistance. I love the blog and YouTube videos about BookEnds!

  7. Avatar Kathy Nieber-Lathrop says:

    I have been reading a lot of MG contemporary novels in free verse. Kwame Alexander comes to mind. Tell us your take on this genre, please and thanks.

  8. I’d like to hear more about the most effective ways an author can promote their books.

  9. Avatar K.C. Greer says:

    I have a question about agents who are closed to queries. During the querying process, I submitted to agents, and within a week of my submission the agents posted that they are closed to queries. Will these agents finish reading subs in their inboxes, or does that big red circle in query tracker mean the door is closed? After the 6-8 week mark, should I follow up? How long does an agent usually stay closed to queries?

    Thank you for considering my question.

  10. Thank you everyone for your questions. I’ve been quiet on the blog, but now feel inspired. Expect to see answers start appearing in January on both the blog and our Youtube channel–if you haven’t yet subscribed please do.

  11. Avatar AJ Blythe says:

    There are some great questions here; I look forward to reading/watching the answers!

    I know the hard work doesn’t end when you sign with an agent. I was wondering if it might be possible to hear from you and/or your authors on how the process is from signing with BookEnds to publication? I imagine there’s suddenly a whole lot more to learn (in addition to rewrites etc) – marketing comes to mind.

    Thanks, Jessica.

  12. Avatar Penny Haw says:

    Where, if anywhere, during the process of querying and revising, do you see value of asking beta readers to read and comment on manuscripts? What are the pros and cons of engaging beta readers before querying agents, and what should one look out for?

  13. Avatar Stacey says:

    Hi, much thanks for always being so open to questions. Lately I’ve been hearing about a Lower YA category in children’s fiction. Upper MG seems to have been in the dialogue for a while, but I’m wondering where the line is between the two? Is there a difference in content or theme, or is this simply about the protagonist’s age? As a writer aiming for the Upper MG audience, this is both exciting and terrifying. Do you think this is a trend that will come and go quickly (similar to New Adult), or should we writers be sitting up and paying attention?

  14. Avatar Diego says:

    Hi Jessica,

    What is a bad period to send queries? With bad period I mean a period when an agent is really busy and my chances of getting my query through to her are lower than usual.


  15. I have a question. I have read Publisher’s Weekly and I will see it state that a book was pre-empted; sold at auction; etc. What does all that mean?
    I haven’t secured an agent yet, but just curious about it.

    I am enjoying your blog and YouTube videos!

    • Avatar Jackie says:

      I’m about to start querying and I’m struggling to identify my genre. I’ve written a realistic young adult novel. Sounds simple enough. But the catch is it’s set in 1994. I don’t know whether to classify it as contemporary or historical. The setting isn’t integral to the story-aside from the absence of technology and some pop culture references- but it’s realistic and relatable making me think it’s contemporary. Help!!! Please and thanks!

  16. Avatar Martha Willey says:

    Thanks for taking questions and suggestions.

    Mine question is, what does an agent mean when they say they “take select Ya” . What if they haven’t listed what genre that select YA is in? Is it worth the time to query them or should you concentrate more on those agents who seem more open to YA?

  17. Avatar Kim Beall says:

    I can’t say how much I enjoy the YouTube videos! You and James are great presenters. Your banter is both fun and informative. Watching gives me the impression I really am being let in on “inside secrets” that will help me toward my goal. Some of the topics are incredibly validating for me. All of them teach me something new.

    Oh, I’m also thankful you’ve released so many new videos, lately! I don’t expect you to keep up that pace, but it’s been wonderful while it’s lasted.

  18. Avatar Robin Hayes says:

    Please please please talk about the dreaded synopsis: what you want to see, what you hate, what purpose it serves for you, and any tips you have. Thank you!

    • Great question! I’ll work on a blog post, but we just filmed a video that goes into great detail on all of this. Subscribe to our YouTube channels so you don’t miss it and expect it in January.

  19. Avatar michelle says:

    I was thinking about joining a few organizations for writers but, to be honest, they’re kind of pricey. I was wondering if there are any real benefits to joining writers’ organizations? Also, are these organizations equally beneficial for all levels of writers? I know each group might be different in terms of benefits, interactions, perks, etc. But in your experience (or the experience of your clients), are there any groups worth recommending? I’m looking for an organization that has a high rate of interaction. Thanks for your time.

  20. Avatar Alice says:

    I would love more information on querying picture books. Do I just send the whole manuscript? Is it better to be an illustrator too? Do I give ideas on how Id like the book to look? Should I make a dummy book and send it in? Any information would be appreciated!

  21. Avatar Kim Beall says:

    Would you please address the question of referencing existing (self-published) work in a novel for which you intend to pursue traditional publishing?

    Everyone who reads it loves my existing series, but I feel traditional publishing would help me connect with more people who would also love my story world. I realize I can’t expect any agent or publisher to consider publishing a new volume in my existing series, so I am ending it and beginning a new one.

    The trouble is, I can’t help wanting to reference – vaguely, so that only my most rabid current fans would even catch the reference – locales and characters in my old stories. Would this cause legal complexities that would scare off a publisher? Should I just create a whole new story universe all together? I hate to, because I’m not the only one who loves the existing one, but if I absolutely have to I guess I will!

  22. Avatar Kim Beall says:

    Thanks – that’s a comfort and I can proceed with far less waffling, now!

  23. Avatar Charlotte says:

    Hello Bookends Literary!

    I’m an English writer living in Italy. So far I’ve completed one book, which I’m poking through a round of major edits based on revisions from an agency (they didn’t pick it up in the end, but they gave lots of painful/helpful feedback).
    I’ll be starting the submission process again with my rewritten book and my question is about who I can submit to.
    Can I resubmit to people I’ve already submitted to, or would that be annoying for them? Can I submit in the US? Do people mind that I’m overseas? I’ve found that a lot of UK agencies say that they won’t accept submissions from people living overseas. I can’t submit here in Italy, as the book is written in English.

    Any thoughts you have would be really helpful!

  24. […] –From Questions for the Blog […]

  25. Avatar Lisa Kirkman says:

    Thanks for making yourself available. I am nearly done with my first book and I fret that it doesn’t fit into a genre. It’s somewhere between women’s fiction and YA. The labels feel limiting, but I get why they are part of the discussion. As a reader, I pick up something because it’s interesting and takes me to something else that’s interesting so I have been keeping tabs on agents that rep books that I dig. (That’s how I came across BookEnds.) Does it make sense to force a genre label on my ? Or seek out people who are likely to get it, regardless of the label?

    • I can understand why the labels feel limiting, but there is also a distinct difference between women’s fiction and YA. Besides how the book is marketing and sold, the voice for YA is distinct. Knowing the differences between these two genres, including the voice, will help you find where your book belongs.

  26. Avatar Lisa Kirkman says:

    Thank you. That is a big clue for both marketing and for the story. Just because I have teen characters, as part of a family, I can see how that doesn’t define it specifically for that audience. I appreciate the direction and will refine to get the voice right for a more adult reader.