Friday, October 7, 2011

Query Trackers Making Tracks, #13

Today is an abundance of interviews day. I'm hanging with the savvy Melodie Wright over at Forever Rewrighting where she asked some of the hardest most insightful questions I've ever had the pleasure of answering. Heh. In all seriousness, this girl is one of the best interviewers I've had the pleasure of working with.

And of course, here in the land of madness it's installment number thirteen of my "first Friday of the month" series on successful authors from QueryTracker. Some of my guests have agents, others have found success in less conventional ways. But one thing they all have in common is the utilization of the QueryTracker website to help make their tracks in the publishing world.

I just realized how appropriate it is to have the 13th QT interview in October. But there's nothing scary or unlucky about today’s guest, Gennifer Albin. Her success story is one that would give anyone inspiration (not to mention cause much drooling in awe and wonder). 
Genn had a whirlwind submission after she signed with agent Mollie Glick of Foundry Literary + Media. Within a matter of weeks there was an auction for her book which ended in a major deal. Her story on QT, here, was enough to leave me breathless just living vicariously.

By the end of today's interview, no doubt we'll all need inhalers. (◕‿-)

And onward we go...

AGH: Welcome, Genn. Could you give us a quick summary of the book which snagged your agent?

GENN: Incapable. Awkward. Artless.

That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.

Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.

AGH: Before you signed with your agent, how many books had you tried to query?

GENN: This was the first book I ever queried.  I'd come to close querying a book I never finished back in my naive days. I'm so glad I didn't.

AGH: What were the responses to those queries (stat-wise: fulls, partials, etc.)?

GENN: I had about a 70% request rate, about 40% of those were requests for partials and the rest were requests for the full.

AGH: How long did it take to find a publisher after you signed with your agent ?

GENN: We had out first preempt offer in a little over a week and then we went to auction about 3 weeks after I signed with my agent.  It was unusually fast.
AGH: What inspired your very first book idea?

GENN: I've been obsessed with a painting by Remedios Varo that shows women embroidering the world since I first saw it in college.  One day I wrote a one page prologue that came to me out of nowhere.  It was the story of a girl in the painting, and I went from there.

Embroidering Life's Mantle

AGH: How do you come up with titles?

GENN: I have to have a title before a book will really flow for me, so I obsessed over this.  Originally I thought Tangled would be great, but when I googled it up came a new Disney movie!  I was so disappointed, although I actually loved the movie.  From there I pulled ou the thesaurus and started looking up weaving and sewing terms.  When I saw CREWEL, I knew it was perfect 

AGH: What books / authors have most influenced your own style and concepts?

GENN: That's hard to say.  I have considerable time put in towards PhD in literature, so I think I'm heavily influenced by a lot of the themes from the early novels of the 18th century.  My next book is much more academically influenced.  But then I think I've learned a lot from rereading my favorite books and really studying the voice and style of people like Rowling and Collins, but then I think conceptually I was influenced by people like Margaret Atwood and Orson Scott Card.  I certainly have a mixed education in literature.

AGH: How did you find QueryTracker, and how did it help you in your effort to get inside the publishing doors?

GENN: The lovely Scott Tracey posted about QT and since I was so impressed by his success, I ran over and joined.  First of all, everyone should get the premium membership because it allows you to see all these special charts and reports, which is awesome when you want to obsess during the querying process.  I loved that people posted stats in the comments, and I still try to stop by and offer support when I can.  I also used the QT boards to vet my queries before I sent them out. Overall, it's such a supportive, welcoming community that I feel comfortable there.  Not too big, but constantly moving - QT was a perfect fit for me.

AGH: Have you recently learned anything about the business side of publishing that you can share with up and coming writers?

GENN: No one else's success will look like yours!  I think we all look to stories for insight into what to expect.  Like so-and-so was asked to share her favorite covers with her designer, or such-and-such got a huge ARC campaign - it doesn't mean anything in regard to what you will get!  Trust me.  It's a bad and good thing.  Share in others stories to support them, but keep your eyes on your own paper.  Focus on your book and your campaign and don't get stuck in comparison hell.

AGH: Do you have any current news to announce?

GENN: CREWEL is coming out October 16, 2012!

**Five for fun**

1)      In your opinion, what was the best thing before sliced bread?

GENN: Stew.  Everyone knows it was around the day man crawled from the primordial ooze.

2)      Which would you rather do: carry an umbrella or sing in the rain?

GENN: Why can't you do both?  I loved to splash in the rain, but I use an umbrella since I wear glasses.  I also have my cake and eat it too.

3)      Are you Team Dog or Team Cat?

GENN: Cat.  I guess I appreciate having to work for my cat's love.  The Tuesday cat runs the house.

4)      If I were at your house right now, what would I find in your refrigerator?

GENN: Cheese.  So much cheese.  Dubliner.  Wisconsin cheddar.  Goat cheese.  Feta.  Pepper-encrusted pecorino.  And  Gouda.  Always gouda.

5)   Drinking tea … pinky up, or heavy on the Long Island?

GENN: I have to say I have a weakness for Long Island iced tea, but I also love Earl Gray.  But if I had to choose, heavy on the Long Island.

Thank you for sharing your amazing experience, Genn! CREWEL sounds incredible, and I love how you thought of the story and title. I'm so excited that you have a pub date now, and wish you every success! Although it's obvious you're already there. (◕‿◕)

Don’t forget to visit Genn’s blog and follow her on twitter to stay abreast of news and announcements. Also, please leave her any questions, comments, or kudos below. I know she'll be thrilled to see them.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, and I'll see you next week. 


  1. YES! Score! I'm thrilled for you and your fall release date - don't hesitate to ask for Writer, Writer space to help promote!

  2. Gennifer's story is so great - I've been in awe every since it happened. I cannot WAIT to read Crewel. Seriously - it's right up there with Bitterblue on my spring to buy list.
    Great interview!

  3. EVER! I meant ever since it happened...sigh. Blogger is sticky today.

  4. Wow, amazing! QT has another winner!

  5. I remember hearing about Gen's story, very cool. And congrats to you on your new release date! Finally, something QUICK happens in publishing :o)

  6. It's REALLY her!! Eeeeek!! *giggles like a school girl*

    Great interview! The book sounds awesome--I'm imagining some very cool covers in my mind...hmmm...

    I love that you remind us to keep our eyes on our own paper because everybody's story is their own. I needed that today.

    As always, another FAB QT interview, my dearest 8)

  7. I love the sounds of Crewel. I found the painting I think you're talking about. Beautiful! Looking forward to it.

  8. Thanks everyone for stopping by and sending up great thoughts for Genn!

    Petra~ YOU ROCK. Thank you for that picture. I integrated it into the post. And now I have visuals! SWEET. So nice to meet you. :)

  9. This book sounds absolutely fantastic, and a great, original title too.

  10. Love the interview! Genn's story always inspires. And I haven't heard anyone say "keep your eyes on your own paper" in years--so funny. I never realized how well it fits a writer today!

  11. Wonderful interview Anita. I'm salivating over her amazing success. Congrats Crewel!

  12. Thanks Sarah, Melissa, and WRW. It really does sound like an amazing read! And I agree, eyes on your own paper is the best advice for writers, on many levels. ;)

  13. Gennifer's real life story should be in a fairy tale anthology. It is nothing less than magical.

  14. Thanks everyone!!! I can't wait to share the book with everyone.

    Isn't that painting haunting? I just love it.

  15. Awesome interview, Anita, and congratulations again to Genn!! This story is so unbelievable, and I'm so happy I got to be on QT and see it as it unfolded! :)

  16. Lisa~ Thanks for stopping by, pal. And yes, Genn's story is AMAZING.:)

  17. I love reading interviews, and your questions are fabulous! Great post!