Baker's Dozen 2013 Report
Today was the annual Baker's Dozen Auction, an online contest run by children's book blogger extraordinaire (and, full disclosure, awesome HSG client) Authoress.
For several weeks, Ms. A and her partner in crime Jodi (INCARNATE) Meadows go through a slew of submissions consisting of a tagline and the first 250 words of an unpublished manuscript. They choose 60 submissions, post them on Authoress's blog--Miss Snark's First Victim--and watch the magic happen.
There is magic because Authoress, in her winning yet determined way, has convinced (roped in) 13 agents to evaluate and bid on the exclusive right to consider either parts or all of the most promising of the submissions. That day was today.
This is the third year I've participated in Baker's Dozen, and it's one of the more fun days of my year for a couple of reasons.
The first reason is because over the years the agents have taken to talking some serious smack before and during the auction, both on Twitter and on email (which is BRUTAL. Looking at YOU Brooks Sherman and Lauren MacLeod and Michelle Wolfson).
The second is that it allows us to let our hair down and show the kind of public enthusiasm for manuscripts that we always WANT to show but so rarely get the opportunity to do in public.
I was looking at Facebook this afternoon, and my friend, author M.J. Rose, was asking what the point is of this auction. Isn't publishing a buyer's market? Can't we just take our pick of the best manuscripts anyway? Why are we competing? Rather than recreating it, here's what I said:
M.j. Rose--it's fun as much as anything else. We (the agents) get to talk smack with each other while we give writers an indication as to the kinds of books we like to read (and at times how effective a tag line or first 250 words can be). We spend so much time being the voice of negativity to querying writers that it's nice for us to show even for an hour or two why we got into this in the first place--because we WANT to be excited by a query, by a beginning, and when we are we can get giddy. Every so often one of us finds a client from the auction (the pages are chosen by a panel run by the blogger Authoress in consultation with some writers or editors she knows), and it kind of helps everyone--drives traffic to her site, gets the agents' names out there, that kind of thing...
And there it is. We get happy. We are doing our job and can pull aside the curtain. We can (virtually) hang out with our friends. And who knows? Maybe we'll take one all the way. And wouldn't that be just great? I won auction #56 today. It's a young adult novel set in Paris. We'll see...