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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Anaquana, an interview.

And here we are, interviewing a new, exciting writer: Anaquana. She’s not published yet, but is represented by Donal Maass Literary Agency, one of the 3 American top agents.
Some info about the author: Ana Ramsey* is a crazy cat lady-cum-author repped by the fabulous Cameron McClure of the Donald Maass Literary Agency. She just recently finished rewrites on her first novel. Where Demons Fear to Tread is the first in an urban fantasy series set in a world populated by all manner of Fey creatures, vampires, shapeshifters, and demons. She can usually be found lurking on Twitter (@anaquana) or gallivanting around the world from the comfort of her chair. She has also an interesting blog: anaquana.wordpress.com
*Name changed to protect the guilty
1) When did you decide to be a writer? Was it your dream since you were a child, or it happened ‘by accident’?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t start seriously writing until I was in high school. The first novel I ever started writing was a YA version of The Fugitive. I’ve
still got the notebook it was written in, so one of these days I’m going to dust it off and update it.
2) Tell us a bit about your agent: when did you find her and how? Was it a long and painful process or was it easy?
I’m repped by Cameron McClure of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.
I knew right from the start of my querying process that I wanted to be represented by somebody from DMLA because most of my favorite Urban Fantasy writers are
repped by them. My query to Jennifer Jackson in 2009 was rejected (and rightly so)
because neither my query nor my writing were quite up to par. So, I took about half a year off to not only focus on my upcoming wedding, but also to polish up my query
letter and manuscript.
When I jumped back in the querying pool in the fall of 2009, the first two queries I sent out netted me requests for more. Yay! They both ultimately rejected me after
reading the full manuscript as did many more agents.
When I queried Cameron in March of 2010, I had already queried almost half of the 100 agents on my list. I was becoming quite dejected to say the least. She responded
fairly quickly asking to see more and when she responded just as fast asking for the
full, her email practically screamed for more. Talk about ego boost!
Unfortunately, she wasn’t quite as thrilled with the rest of the book. There were characterization issues and plotting issues that weren’t up to snuff. So, she asked for a revise
and resubmit, which I gladly did for her. Unfortunately, she didn’t think I’d taken
the revisions far enough, so she ended up passing on it because she wasn’t sure I was up to the work of bringing it up to her standards. She did offer a few referrals to other
agents.
After emailing back and forth a bit to clarify a few points on the referrals, I asked her if she would be willing to take another look at it if I were to really dig in deep and do
whatever work was necessary to get it up to speed.
I will readily admit that I was a bit desperate. I was *rightthere* and I was not going to let this opportunity slip away without doing everything in my power to stop it.
She agreed to take another look at it because the premise and characters really intrigued her. She also asked to have a phone conference to talk about the changes.
The call went very well, we talked for almost an hour and we really clicked on a lot of points. I could tell by her enthusiasm over the phone that she really wanted this to
work out. And so did I!
So, I buckled down and dug back into the revisions. In that same time, I received a firm offer of representation from another agency. The second agent agreed to wait until
I’d completed the revisions and heard back from Cameron to make my decision.
I finally finished the revisions and sent them off to Cameron at the beginning of July. When I heard back from her several weeks later, she was encouraged by my progress,
but she still didn’t feel like I was quite there yet. However, she was willing to offer me
representation on the condition that I do another round of revisions. But she wanted me to take a few months off because she thought I was a bit burned out on this
manuscript. And I was. The thought of doing yet another round of revisions made me cry.
Here I was faced with a decision: go with the agent who wanted the manuscript as is or the agent who wanted me to do more work on it. I decided to go with the agent who
was willing to push me past my limits. The agent who believed so strongly in not only
my book, but in me and my abilities as well.
I did take Cameron’s advice and took a good long break from the manuscript. I signed with her at the end of August 2010 and didn’t start the third round of revisions until
March 2011. I finished them in June and am just waiting for her to get her latest set
of notes back to me.
3) What are your thoughts about self-publishing and the new ebooks world?
For those who are drawn to it, and I have several friends who are going the self-publishing route, I wish them all the best. However, self-publishing is not the correct path
for me. I feel like I can go farther with a team of professionals on my side than I can
going it alone.
As for ebooks, I, personally, don’t read ebooks. I don’t like the experience and find it inferior to the experience of reading a paper book. Other people’s tastes obviously
differ considering how fast the ebook market is expanding. Hopefully, the world of
book buying is large enough and profitable enough to accommodate both ebooks and paper books.
4) Recently, best-selling self-published author Amanda Hocking explained in her blog that she decided to sign with St. Martins because she had become ‘a corporation’ and
was so busy marketing her books, that she didn’t have any time left to write: what
about you? Do you still have time to write after having being on Twitter, written your blog, etc?
Some days I do and some days I don’t, and I’m just an unpublished hopeful at the moment just coasting along not really worrying about building a fanbase at the moment.
The thing writers need to remember is that if you don’t have an amazing finished
product, all the marketing in the world isn’t going to help win you fans. So focusing on the writing aspect needs to be a writer’s number one priority.

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