Debut novelist Allison Pang (pictured, via her Twitter avatar) recently sold her urban fantasy novel, Shadow of the Incubus–along with two sequels to the book. Pocket Books executive editor Lauren McKenna acquired the book in a four-way auction. The deal was negotiated by Colleen Lindsay from FinePrint Literary Management.
GalleyCat caught up with Pang, getting some exclusive advice about pitching an urban fantasy novel (or any novel, for that matter). “The only real advice I can give is to write the absolute best book you can and don’t send it out before it’s ready,” explained Pang. “Souring an agent on a story can be hard to come back from. Make sure the agent you’re submitting to is actively looking for what you’ve written–Twitter, Google, Facebook and agent blogs are important tools that should absolutely be utilized.”
She continued: “Read other urban fantasy books to make sure your vision is as fresh as it can be. In a heavily saturated market of vampires, werewolves and sword-wielding heroines, it can be difficult to appear unique and you want to make sure your book has every possible chance to stand out.”
After the jump, Pang offered some advice about writing pitch letters to agents.
Pang had this pitching advice: “As far as pitch letters go, I think it’s very important to make sure the voice of the story shines, emphasized by a great hook–but the query should sell the story, not the author. For myself, I wrote the basic pitch, ran it by a few of my beta readers to make sure I had hit the important parts and then put it out there for ‘brutally honest’ opinions from people with no direct investment–authors who hadn’t read the story and didn’t know me all that well. Based on that feedback, I spruced it up and sent it out. And very key here–I followed submission guidelines!”
She concluded: “I don’t know if it was harder being a debut author or not, simply because I have nothing to compare it to. I’m sure having a list of published works as part of the letter could certainly make an agent take notice, but in the long run it’s probably not about what you’ve already published so much as what you’re trying to sell that’s important. Being a debut author has its advantages I think, mostly because I had nothing to prove. If I got a rejection, I simply sent out another query letter within the next hour and kept going.”