"Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

Coragem

Believer in flawed heroes
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I started writing a door stopping wedge of a sci-f
One obvious thing, in my case, is that who's to say what will be marketable in five years?

I haven't been writing long, I'm improving all the time, and I need more time to both complete my current project and (ideally) make some headway on another before thinking about being published.

By the time I'm "ready" heroism, humour and romance set 150yrs from now … or indeed space junkers looking for work all over the galaxy, might be the hottest property in the market.

Coragem.
 

Jo Zebedee

Aliens vs Belfast.
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blah - flags. So many flags.
My attitude to it is I can't be the only person who likes the sort of thing I do, so I don't write to the market, I write for myself. (It'll probably never sell, though so there is a distinct down side ;))
 

Triceratops

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There's definitely a trade-off--writing for yourself or writing to market/genre trends. I've been doing it so long I've explored both routes and I can't really say which is the more successful route to take. My macho SF space opera junkers did sell and is currently selling a lot better than I thought it would. But I had to get behind it and push it through various promo channels, trying to find that niche audience for it.

Writing to trend and market found me in the urban fantasy, paranormal fantasy and YA genres. My agent just loves this stuff, and it's out on the sub trail. But there's no takers from NYC yet on any of them. Time will tell, I'm sure.

Chris
 

devaed

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Hi all,

I know John's not really posting here any more (no doubt extremely busy!), but just wondering if anyone who has had recent dealings with him might know - has he stopped sending confirmation e-mails when he receives a submission? His website seems to imply he'll send one within 24 hours, but I sent my submission to him on 2nd Feb, a follow-up query (as the website suggests) on the 4th, and then another follow-up a week ago. There was no response to any of them, which from what I've read on this thread, sounds unusual.

The last thing I want to do is spam John, particularly as he's obviously busier than ever, but the instructions on his site make me worry my e-mails aren't going through... I thought this might be a good place to check before I tried anything else.

By the way, thanks to John and the other various contributors to this thread, I've pretty much read it all now and there's some fantastic insight here - much appreciated.
 

Warren_Paul

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Not sure, Devaed. Are you using a proper email account, or just hotmail? Some providors filter hotmail accounts to the junk folder.

Agents/Publishers can sometimes take months to get back to you, so don't get too worried yet.

If you don't ever get a response then... that's really their answer and I'd move on, try somebody else. Perhaps look back at the manuscript and see if there is anything that can be improved for your next attempt, to give you a better chance.

Your right though, don't spam him, and don't send it again; that might just annoy him.

I'd leave it for a couple more weeks, and if you still have not got a response, send him an email asking after your submission's status from a different email account (if you use hotmail/gmail).
 

Susan Boulton

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I'd leave it for a couple more weeks, and if you still have not got a response, send him an email asking after your submission's status from a proper email account (if you use hotmail/gmail).
I would suggest you use the same email address, as to use another would most certainly seem like spam. Also on a side note I use hotmail and always have, not stopped me getting replies or requests for samples from agents.
 
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Warren_Paul

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Good point, SJAB. I was just meaning that if it got marked as spam for being a free email, then you would have to use another, otherwise it would never get through and the recipient wouldn't know it ever existed.

I've had it happen to me before using hotmail, not to agents though (not submitted a ms yet), but sending emails to some other businesses email accounts.

If you had no trouble, then that's probably not the reason anyway, so no need.
 

Susan Boulton

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Good point, SJAB. I was just meaning that if it got marked as spam for being a free email, then you would have to use another, otherwise it would never get through and the recipient wouldn't know it ever existed.

I've had it happen to me before using hotmail, not to agents though (not submitted a ms yet), but sending emails to some other businesses email accounts.

If you had no trouble, then that's probably not the reason anyway, so no need.
Email accounts are funny things. I have had my work one (local government, very proper lol..) bounced by spam filters where as some of the ones sent to us by concerned citizens (i.e racerking@ .......) get through.

I think its being consistent that is the key and keeping to the three month rule(Don't poke an agent about a query/sample chapters until three months have passed.) Unless they state a no reply, not interested rule on their website/submission guidelines.
 

devaed

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Thanks for your responses guys.

Just to clarify - normally I'd stick strictly to the 'three month rule', as you mentioned SJAB - certainly any other agent and I wouldn't even have blinked at no response by this stage. It's just that John's submission guidelines say:

"If your submission is not confirmed within 24 hours, please follow up by e-mail to ensure I’ve received it." (www johnjarrold co uk).

So I was really just worried about the confirmation side of things; given how busy he is, I wouldn't have expected him to have looked at the submission itself yet.

I am using Gmail, but haven't had any other issues so far. I think if I haven't heard anything at the three month mark, I will probably try one last follow-up from a 'proper' address, just to be sure... but was really just hoping to hear from someone who either a) got an immediate submission confirmation from John recently, indicating my e-mails aren't getting through, or b) submitted but also didn't get a confirmation, indicating that the guidelines on his site might be out of date.

Thanks again for the replies though, much appreciated :)
 

Jo Zebedee

Aliens vs Belfast.
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blah - flags. So many flags.
Devead, I never got a response from him, nor to my follow up email. I'm pretty sure it's not spammed - I have an aol account, and it's usually pretty good. So, I took that to be the answer I needed....
 

devaed

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Cheers guys. I did a bit more looking around and it sounds like John always responds, but for one guy last year it took as long as 189 days, so I'll hold off sending him any more e-mails for now :)
 

SPH Young

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I'd like to pick your brains as an editor if I may, John?

Here are a few 'rules' I have often heard said to be truisms by a number of publishing/agent/editor/author types. What's your take on each? True, false, or true sometimes? I'd love to know.

1. Never use adverbs. Perhaps one or two in a whole 100,000 word manuscript, but no more.

2. Never use any word other than 'said' to indicate speech. Whisper, exclaimed, and shouted are all out of the question.

3. Never mix tenses. If it is past tense, do not use sentences such as, "His hand felt as though he had plunged it in a fire now."

4. Never use exclamation marks.

5. Never begin sentences with words such as 'suddenly', or phrases like 'in an instant'.

6. Never use adjectives.

Also, what's currently hot in fantasy fiction? I must confess, I've let myself fall out of touch with reading new authors of late. I've been too busy exploring new genres and old classics. I'm looking forward to John Gwynne later in the year, and I picked up some Abercrombie to try when I finish my non-fiction book (I like to rotate). What else is worth a look?

Thanks.
 

Mouse

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Here are a few 'rules' I have often heard said to be truisms by a number of publishing/agent/editor/author types. What's your take on each? True, false, or true sometimes? I'd love to know.

1. Never use adverbs. Perhaps one or two in a whole 100,000 word manuscript, but no more.

2. Never use any word other than 'said' to indicate speech. Whisper, exclaimed, and shouted are all out of the question.

3. Never mix tenses. If it is past tense, do not use sentences such as, "His hand felt as though he had plunged it in a fire now."

4. Never use exclamation marks.

5. Never begin sentences with words such as 'suddenly', or phrases like 'in an instant'.

6. Never use adjectives.
Good god. I'm not John but false to all of those! What rubbish.
 

The Judge

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As you'll have seen, John isn't around much here at the moment, as he's too busy, so you'll have to make do with the rest of us.

I don't know where you've been and who has told you all these things, but I'd echo Mouse in saying this is rubbish. The only one which has more than a nodding acquaintance with reality is number 3 -- mixing tenses in a single sentence is inadvisable to say the least.

Clearly I don't know how advanced you are in writing, but if you want to learn a bit more, then spend some time going through all the threads in General Writing Discussion in Aspiring Writers, and also look at the comments in the Critiques threads.

As for what's hot in fantasy, if you're asking for reading purposes, then we've lots of threads here about books and reading and what's new; if you're asking because you want to write whatever is hot at the moment, you're on a hiding to nothing, so I'd advise you to forget that gambit, just write what you want to write.


EDIT: Hex jumped in while I was writing.
 

Mouse

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Not in one sentence, but yes. You did it in your short I read recently, I think! Worked well. Philip Reeve does it in Mortal Engines. Glen Duncan does it in what I'm reading at the mo.

edit: Just spotted TJ and me have the exact same number of posts. *spooky music*
 

HareBrain

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I think the most valid one is not to use exclamation marks, at least outside of dialogue. (Use them sparingly within dialogue.)
 
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