Query Critiques with Erin Hosier

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Show Notes

Literary agent, author, and podcaster Erin Hosier discusses the current publishing landscape, challenges and opportunities in the industry, the author-agent relationship, and what aspiring writers can do to develop their writing. Finally, she and Laura critique three query letters submitted by Ohio writers.

Erin Hosier is a literary agent with Dunow Carlson & Lerner in NYC, specializing in narrative nonfiction (music biography, memoirs by artists, history, science and untold true stories of all kinds) and select literary fiction. She is the author of the memoir Don’t Let Me Down (Atria, 2019), and the coauthor of Hit So Hard by Patty Schemel (Da Capo, 2017). She is the co-creator and host of the podcast Tell Me About Your Father, now in its third year. In general, novels with happy endings put her in a bad mood. She lives in Cleveland.

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Publishing News & Info



Erin Hosier (00:00:00):
There's a lot of reasons that your book is not going to sell and it has nothing to do with how well it's written, how much merit it has in, you know, society or like literature. It really is about timing some luck and the marketplace.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:00:21):
Welcome to Page Count presented by the Ohio Center for the Book at Cleveland Public Library. This podcast celebrates authors, illustrators, librarians, book sellers, literary advocates and readers in and from the state of Ohio. I'm your host Laura Maylene Walter, the Ohio Center for the Book Fellow and author of the Novel BODY OF STARS. Today we're joined by Erin Hosier, a literary agent, the author of the memoir DON'T LET ME DOWN, and a co-creator of the podcast Tell Me About Your Father. We'll be discussing publishing, agenting, writing, and podcasting, and we'll also provide feedback on three query letters from Ohio writers. Erin, welcome to the podcast and thanks so much for being here.

Erin Hosier (00:01:07):
Hey, it's so great to be here. I'm really happy to be here as a guest.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:01:12):
<laugh>, Yeah, a break from being the in the host shoes for the podcast. Well, I have a lot I want to cover, but let's start quickly with your Ohio connection, which we always do here. Ohio's kind of the center of the universe for this podcast, but you grew up in rural northeast Ohio, which you document beautifully in your memoir. But then after living in New York for years, you have come back and now you're in Cleveland. So can you tell us a bit about the role Ohio has played in your life and also what is it like for you being back in the area now?

Erin Hosier (00:01:45):
I mean, who would I be without Ohio? It's interesting, like I always was one of those kids who knew that they wanted to move to New York City. I sort of came of age in the eighties and nineties and in the eighties especially, we didn't have cable and it was just like three TV channels and everything seemed to be happening in the big town. So I knew I wanted to get there and when I finally did, it was for an internship at Ms. Magazine and the editor who called to interview me while I was still at Kent State was like, is this the right time to call? Are you in a different time zone? <laugh>

Laura Maylene Walter (00:02:26):

Erin Hosier (00:02:26):
Yeah. And so, you know, Northeast Ohio's still the Eastern EST. So I, I learned pretty quickly that actually when people found out I was from rural Ohio in New York City, I would get questions like, oh, are you, were you Amish? <laugh>? I mean, truly...

Laura Maylene Walter (00:02:48):
I grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, so I got that question all the time. <laugh>

Erin Hosier (00:02:52):
There's like a real glamor and it's unusual to people in the cities, you know, the left coast and the right coast to encounter us. And of course all the great writers and entertainment creators seem to be from the Midwest or the flyover states. So I'm very proud of it. It is great to be back. It's almost like I'm here for the first time really, because being in New York in publishing and media for 23 years, it's so insular and it just feels like, oh, nobody outside of this world could possibly understand how things work. And then I moved here during the pandemic and one of the first connections I made was, uh, Laurie Kincer. Oh

Laura Maylene Walter (00:03:36):
Yeah, Laurie Kincer...

Erin Hosier (00:03:37):
Right? At the Cuyahoga Public Library, the Lynhurst-South Euclid branch and, more importantly, the Writers' Center there. And she just opened up the world to me and started introducing me to people from New York that I hadn't known when I was in New York and are now in Cleveland. And just so many great things have happened since then. So I feel like I'm in exactly the right place at the right time in publishing and my clients are excited, the writers that I work with who live all over the place because now they'll have a liaison, you know, once we get back into, which we pretty much are, but touring around and sharing and reading and being part of the festivals and the workshops and the communities that we all rely on.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:04:28):
Yeah. And I know here in Cleveland you've participated in the Inkubator through Literary Cleveland Yeah. And some other things. And so we're just really excited to have you here. Well, let's talk about your work as an agent a bit. You said you've been doing it for 23 years. Can you tell us a bit about your work and what kind of books do you represent or would like to represent?

Erin Hosier (00:04:48):
I sort of fell into book publishing. I loved reading magazines and reading books and I was a pop culture aficionado. So when I got that first internship at a magazine, I just threw myself into that world of reading articles and seeking out writers and, and reaching out to strangers and asking them about their lives or have you ever thought about writing a book or have you ever thought about writing an article (for at the time where I was working), but then I got a job answering phones at the Gernert Company, which is another boutique literary agency in New York City. And at the time it was just starting out and it was four people. But through that job of answering the phone, I met so many people and so many writers and started learning the ropes of like a giant, we call it the slush pile of manuscripts, that is just constantly on your boss's desk needs to be read or at least the first page or so of every manuscript has to be read and rejected or ask for more.

Erin Hosier (00:06:07):
And so you learn that as an assistant really quickly, like what gets any reader to turn the page. And so it wasn't just about like, oh, I had all this experience as an editor or as an agent because I had none of that. I was just a reader. So I was surprised by how much weight they gave my opinions. If I didn't think that it was worth reading another page, it doesn't matter who they were, you know, the busy agent boss was just like, okay next. And so that's truly how it works. You know, now that I'm an agent myself, it is my job to position the books and write about them in a way that will be enticing to the editor who needs to read next. But also thinking about how to position it for all the readers to come, you know, like what is the copy going to be on the back of the book or the jacket. It's basically an amended version of my pitch letter to the editor, which I get from the author themselves or at least pieces of it in their query letters to me. So yeah, I just like got carried away and I couldn't stop, I couldn't stop feeling that urge to help see a book project through not just selling it but getting to see what happens on the other side 2, 3, 4, 10 years later when the book finally comes out,

Laura Maylene Walter (00:07:45):
I'd love to hear a bit about how you work with your clients. I read in an interview with you, I don't know if this is still accurate, but a few years ago you said that you generally sign about five new clients a year and no more than that. And I think it's important for writers who are out there trying to find an agent, it's really tough to get an agent. There's a lot of rejection involved, but to let them know what it's like on the other side of the desk. So can you tell us why you take on so few projects and what does it really entail for you to work with a writer and to believe in a project enough to sell it?

Erin Hosier (00:08:17):
Yeah, it's not because we're just, you know, I say no and that is my power. It's truly that every single book project is so immersive. Meaning, you know, a lot of my days are just reading slowly manuscript pages that I've already read 10 times, trying to hone them or advise the writer working in concert with an editor, you know how to tell this story better. And so the actual pitching is like the least frequent thing that I do. And so a lot of it is just having that quiet time where I can shut out the world to focus on the work at hand and just really concentrate so that I can write the things that I need to write that I know are really important. But amid all that is just so many meetings, you know, meetings with the um, the editors and the publicists and the marketing people and the writers themselves and running the business side of things and lawyers and contracts.

Erin Hosier (00:09:33):
And so all that just like sucks up time when you've been in the game a long time. You have like authors that are at various stages in a new project or in the midst of a, you know, oh my God there's a shipping crisis or I hate my cover. So there's just almost no time to scout new projects that are totally unsolicited. So at our agency we have one of our colleagues like goes through all the unsolicited queries that come in through info at our agency or whatever the designated emails are and then she will call those to make sure that they're going to the right people or just taking like the creme de la creme that has a shot of really being a match for each agent. Then she sends those to us every week, probably a dozen to each person that might come out of a hundred that week.

Erin Hosier (00:10:33):
And sometimes I can get to them and sometimes I can't. So I'm always telling writers like, try not to take it personally if you are just getting ghosted left and right. I mean it's just that busy out there And it's the same thing for the editors that we're trying to approach. It used to take a couple weeks, we would feel confident that we would know for sure whether or not this book was gonna sell in this quarter or not. And now it's just not like that. There's just so much burnout, a lot of it has to do with the new work culture that's hybrid and all over the place and childcare and social problems. Right now HarperCollins is on strike.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:11:21):
Yeah, the strike. And editors are leaving the business. Exactly. I'll try to link to a few resources in the show notes to give people a fuller picture of how tough it is. Right. Which isn't to say it's impossible. I always tell writers, of course you have a chance. Totally. I meet writers all the time who have found their agents through the so-called slush pile. You know, if your work is good and strong it can and will rise, but it can just take a lot of time and a lot of rejection to get there. And I would also say that my agent, she read my book so many times before we went on submission to the point where I felt she deserved a medal. And you know, for an agent to really devote that time and they don't get any money out of it until they sell your book, which we'll get to that later, but it's so valuable to have an agent with that kind of eye. And you want an agent who has that level of care for your book. You know, I've known writers whose agents work in a different way and I'm sure agents work completely different ways. I'm not saying one is right or wrong, but if an agent takes your book and just sends it out everywhere all at once without putting that level of care into it, that could, you know, it could set you up to not get a book deal. So it's tough. It's tough.

Erin Hosier (00:12:29):
There's a lot of strategy that goes into every single book submission. It's never the same or it shouldn't be for every book. But yes, there are a lot of agents I'm sure who are just there to make the deal and then they pass off their, you know, the paperwork to an in-house attorney or something. But that's not the kind of agent that I am and that's not the kind of books that I work on.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:12:54):
I know you represent a lot of non-fiction with some select fiction. Can you talk about what you represent and also maybe the differences in trying to sell fiction and non-fiction?

Erin Hosier (00:13:05):
So the one thing I like to say off the bat is that I don't handle any kids or young adult material and I wish I did, but it's a whole other world unto itself with different players and different rules even though they have the same parent companies a lot of the time. But I predominantly represent narrative non-fiction writers, which encompasses like biographies for me. It's like a lot of biographies of musicians or memoirs by musicians that's just like a lane that I kinda <laugh> got carried away with. It's my personal brand, but also memoir and some journalism and stories about the culture and current affairs and pop culture. I guess some humor, a little bit of true crime. I do a lot of books about underrepresented women criminals for instance, or just like stories that typically haven't been told, you know, in the popular consciousness.

Erin Hosier (00:14:16):
So for fiction, I love it and I, I represent a couple of novelists right now. Edan Lepucki, who wrote a bestselling novel called CALIFORNIA that was her debut like a decade ago and now has her third novel coming out next year, which is a complete departure. So that'll be interesting. Every fiction writer's novel is, is a new test. I represent Leigh Stein who wrote the satirical novel SELF CARE, it came out last year, or actually now two years ago. But she's a writer whose work I really love and she works across platforms like she's done a memoir and a novel and poetry. So yeah, I think I just really like working with writers who have their finger on the pulse of what is going on right now. Even if they're writing about things that happened in the past or looking at history, they're looking at it through, you know, up to the minute lens.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:15:22):
In addition to being an agent, you're also an author. So I'm wondering what was that like for you? When you were selling your memoir, you have your own agent, I don't know if people know this, but literary agents also need their own agents to sell their books. What was it like for you, since you're in the business and you know a lot of editors, did that make much of a difference for you? Was it strange having your work submitted to colleagues? Tell us about that.

Erin Hosier (00:15:45):
Oh my god, yes. Well, it's kind of a long story but um, my agent is my boss and colleague, my very first boss I should say: Betsy Lerner, who is also an author of memoirs and had been an editor, I mean before she was an agent. And so she has really taken me under her wing as a writer as well. And she just kind of encouraged me about 10 years into the job, you know, when are you going to write your memoir? And part of that was because she knew that I was, that I did write for myself and that I was, you know, struggling in my personal life over grief from the death of my father about 10 years previously and how that intersected with or affected my life like as a young woman dating in New York City. And so the memoir DON'T LET ME DOWN was conceived I guess like in 2010, but it didn't actually come out until 2019 for many publishing reasons.

Erin Hosier (00:16:58):
Number one, the imprint that we ended up selling it to the Free Press went out of business <laugh> and or got absorbed by another parent company. And the short answer is it took me a lot longer to write the book than I thought I would because I had sold it on proposal, which is what we do for non-fiction a lot of the times because editors will want to help you see through the entire arc of the book. And so I felt really confident about putting that proposal together. I had a couple of sample chapters and a strong pitch and a concept and many editors were very curious to see it. And two men in particular had been encouraging me to write and I can't wait for you to send, send it to me and it's gonna be great and we're gonna, you know, I actually thought a man was going to be my editor and those were the toughest rejections. Those were like the meaner rejections that I received. Just like kind of a baffled response because the book is really about like the gender conundrum between fathers and daughters. Like a strong-willed daughter standing up to her, you know, the man not just like the dad but the culture and it just rubbed them the wrong way. But of course it's all very subjective.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:18:26):
It's interesting because I've read your memoir and of course there are so many themes about being a woman in the world and the relationship with men. But it's also so universal. Just universal human themes coming of age, handling grief, family trauma, you know, the connection with your dad and music was really beautiful and sad. And so, I don't know for someone, a male editor to gender it so strongly...

Erin Hosier (00:18:53):
I think because they were also fathers themselves and young fathers like fathers of young daughters at the time maybe. But who knows? The point is, at first in the beginning at the, of the process, I was saying to Betsy, my agent, you know, of course I want to see what so-and-so wants to say send me everything. And ooh, that was tough. Eventually, you know, I was just like, wake me when it's over. And that helps me to have that conversation with authors in the beginning too. Especially when they've never gone through the process of submission before. It's their debut. I say, how do you take your rejection? And I recommend that I send or I share like the more specific and glowing because there are some letters that are so thoughtful and such love letters that you can't believe that they're rejections. But sometimes that's why they're rejections. I mean we could talk about this all day, but there's a lot of reasons that your book is not going to sell and it has nothing to do with how well it's written, how much merit it has in you know, society or like literature. It really is about timing some luck and the marketplace. It, we have to remember the capitalism part.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:20:17):
<laugh> Yeah, a hundred percent. That is deeply ingrained, especially if writers want a book deal with a significant or notable amount of money attached to it. You know, capitalism is married to the process. When my book went on submission, this is something I encourage writers to think about because I think there's an impulse that you want to see every rejection from every editor. There's a sense that, oh, my book is actually out with editors at these big publishers, so I want to see everything. I want to know exactly what they say. I think the submission process is so difficult. It's very secretive. You can't really tweet about it or anything or you shouldn't if you want to be smart.

Erin Hosier (00:20:53):
You shouldn't.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:20:54):
But my agent batched them, we talked about it and I think that's also something to talk about with an agent. She would send me maybe small batches of rejections at certain times and I remember I was on submission around the time of my birthday, so I told her, this is when my birthday is, please don't send me a rejection on this day. And she said, of course. And so when my birthday came around and I got an email from her, I knew that that would be good news and not bad news. So that was really good. And then my book sold, which was great. I had few editors who were interested, it went to auction and then it sold and it was all happy. And a part of me wanted to ask her for those final rejections to see what they said and I had to have a talk with myself and think, okay, your book sold, which is amazing. Do you really need to see more? Who knows what these rejections say? Will they even be helpful? Do you need to see this? Will it actually do you any good? So I refrained from asking her for them. So I'm very proud of myself. But I think that's easier said than done sometimes, I think.

Erin Hosier (00:21:52):
Yeah. I mean, and now I've seen it happen so much, you know, with Betsy Lerner, who's had multiple books, so has had to go through this process many times, many people in publishing who are editors or agents are not published editors or agents. Right. Like they've tried and failed, like we have to break bread with the people who reject us every day anyway. Whether it's our own writing or just merely something we think is brilliant. And so it is a delicate balance of like, well some editors and agents are married to each other. It's wild.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:22:32):
Yeah, that is wild to me.

Erin Hosier (00:22:33):
It's a balance.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:22:35):
Well, I'm curious how your experience publishing your memoir, did that change or influence the way you work with your own authors, with your clients? Did it give you any new insight or new things to think about when you're working with authors? And maybe you can also just give us an overview of what that author-agent relationship looks like for you with the authors you work with.

Erin Hosier (00:22:56):
I just learned so, so much writing my own book and co-writing or ghostwriting for others because I now realize that the part where you're writing alone in a vacuum is very important. Clearly it's how it is, but it's not great for your mental health. Number one <laugh>. And you need the support of other writers or other people who know what you're going through, through the process to help you see the bigger picture, to guide you through, to give you prompts to tell you when it's not working to tell you to take a break. It's just a long-term project. So the first thing I do is I tell the new writer I'm working with to buckle up and that this is about the long game. And that every time you start to hear that like, oh my God, I have to quickly turn this around and make this chapter sing by next Friday or the world will end.

Erin Hosier (00:23:58):
That is just not the world of book publishing. We're talking about deep future. You might be in another decade of your life by the time this book is in stores, but that's what you've signed up for if you want to have a book. And it's just, it's slow. So there's that. I am very hands-on in terms of how many rounds of edits I'll do, whether it's the full manuscript of a novel or the proposal. And sometimes it's like you start with a hundred pages but you want to, for whatever reason, like carve it down to 50 pages so that there's more like sales push than actual material on the page. because maybe some of your partial isn't as strong as the beginning. So there's a lot of finessing that happens there. I tend to do a lot of handholding through, you know, breaking down the contract and what that means.

Erin Hosier (00:24:59):
And more and more often I think the word is out about how great it is to work with if you can afford it or in as much as you can afford it. Editorial help in the form of an independent editor, a book coach, some kind of research assistant depending on the project who can be a partner and help you. And since I've been doing this for so long, I now know that some of the boldface name authors we all know and love and win prizes, they are working with co-writers behind the scenes ghost editors who have nothing to do with the person in the acknowledgements page. Writers, authors pay for help, they pay for sometimes their own outside publicity and marketing help. So I think the jig is up when people, they no longer believe the fantasy that, you know, you'll be discovered from the slush pile and then it's photo shoots and tours or something. It's not any of that. It's more like you have designated helpers who can pay for your postage for two weeks out of the year. It's a lot. So I try to not leave the writer alone or at sea and just answer all the questions as I go. And that's why I can't take on so many new clients all the time because there's just no way to make a living doing that while putting all of the effort that I tend to put in. I don't know any other way to do it unfortunately.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:26:39):
Before we get to our query letters, let's quickly talk about your podcast, Tell Me About Your Father. I love this podcast. I've been listening to it, but can you share with our listeners the premise of this podcast and what you do?

Erin Hosier (00:26:52):
Yes, thank you. This podcast, ugh, I wish I thought of it before, but it was really because it came out of DON'T LET ME DOWN [which] came out in 2019, I was totally terrified. I didn't know how to think of myself as a writer and therefore the person promoting the book, being the one being like, you need to buy this book, this sad story will change your life. And I was still struggling when I was out there giving readings and things like internally, who is this book for? Who will this connect with as much as it does for me? And and other sad girls who've lost their dads and their twenties. And I realized, like at my book launch I had other people with interesting dad stories to do a Moth-like storytelling series where it combined like my storytelling with other people's storytelling to show how universal these experiences are, [of]

Erin Hosier (00:27:59):
being a child of a complicated man or a man they didn't know. And Freud's always talking about, you know, tell me about your mother. And I was like, what if people would tell us about their fathers? So I partnered with two of my media friends who also have complicated dad stories, Matthew Phillp and Elizabeth Thompson during the pandemic when I was supposed to be going on, you know, a publicity tour for the paperback. So instead we just started talking to other people about their fathers, both famous people, other authors that we know, but also just like we'd hear weird stories. So-and-so knows somebody whose father was in the CIA and she went along and became a CIA operative working undercover with her dad. And so just talking to different people and I think of every episode as kind of its own little memoir and I get sharper and sharper when I'm preparing for these interviews and then writing the copy for our newsletter that describes, you know, the themes behind each episode and titling it.

Erin Hosier (00:29:18):
So I love podcasts. I didn't, when I started, I had never been on a podcast until I started doing publicity for DON'T LET ME DOWN. But once I did, I really got it. I got the bug of, you know, why it's good for people, why it's good for books. It's a great way to have a conversation instead of going to a reading which can often make you leave your body right. Like <laugh> listening to a writer in that bookstore setting. We all know that that's been replaced more often by having a Q & A because people really do want to hear what's it all about and then do their reading in private.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:30:00):
Yeah, I agree with that. I feel the same way. I also love in your podcast you have special episodes called Daddy Issues, where you and your guests take a deep dive into unresolved "daddy issues" in pop culture. You did an episode recently about the royal family, which I thought was really interesting. And also by the way, I was reading your memoir and listening to your interview with Molly Shannon around the same time. Yes. So this is when Molly Shannon came to Cleveland just last April I think. Right. Really great interview with her about her father, but also more generally. And I think, I think you should know that because I was listening to that and reading your memoir around the same time. Certain details were getting mixed up because you know, she tells her famous story of hopping a plane to New York when she's 12. She's dressed in her ballet clothes and you took ballet when you were young <laugh>. And so for a split second, I'd have to think, wait, did Erin hop a plane with her friend? No, no, no. That was Molly Shannon. So just know that in my mind you and Molly Shannon are the same person, which is a compliment.

Erin Hosier (00:31:01):
Thank you. That's so cool. Yeah. You know, there's so many writers from Shaker Heights, I talked to Kathryn Schulz.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:31:10):
Yeah, that's a recent episode. Yes. So I'll link to those episodes in the show notes.

Erin Hosier (00:31:15):

Laura Maylene Walter (00:31:16):
All right, well let's move on to our query review. Last summer, the Ohio Center for the Book put out a call for submissions including query letters from writers in Ohio. I've received some queries, which are actual query letters from actual Ohio writers working on books. And Erin is generous enough to offer some feedback today on these queries. So I just want to point out that of course all the writers have given us permission to use their letters and to read them on the podcast and critique them. And we just want to thank these writers right up top because this is so, so helpful to others. It's also just really brave to put your words out there. I really appreciate it.

Erin Hosier (00:31:52):
Totally. Same.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:31:54):
So I will read the first query letter and then we'll discuss. Query Letter Number One.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:32:00):
"Dear Agent: When I was 29, I moved to Seoul, South Korea with my partner to teach English at ChungDahm Institute. In my memoir, WORTH HER SALT, I describe the educational landscape of South Korea, which is so competitive compared to the one I was accustomed to in the United States, where I had taught for several years at universities in West Virginia and Missouri. In Seoul, I would see my students step out of a Mercedes to go to school. It was also not uncommon to hear about students climbing up to the rooftops of their schools at night and jumping to their deaths. There is a reason why I only taught there for a year. .

Laura Maylene Walter (00:32:34):
"Two of my favorite memoirs are Without You, There is No Us by Suki Kim and You’ll Grow Out Of It by Jessi Klein. While my time in South Korea was often emotionally paralyzing, it was also beautiful, awkward, uplifting, and hilarious. One day before class I sat at my desk eating carrots dipped in ranch dressing. When I looked up at my students, I saw their faces, frozen in quiet horror. When I asked what was wrong, one girl asked why I was “eating glue.” They had never seen ranch dressing before.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:33:03):
"My essays have appeared in numerous publications, including The Sun, Modern Farmer, and This Land Press. My essay Guns and Country was chosen for Best of the Net and my essay Silent Heart won the prose contest for Northeast Ohio writers sponsored by Gordon Square Review. I was a parent-fellow for the Martha Vineyard’s Institute of Creative Writing and a finalist for the Key West Literary Seminar Emerging Writer Awards. Before I stopped teaching to be a stay-at-home mom, I taught English online to students who are incarcerated. I have 12 years of teaching experience in various arenas around the world.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:33:32):
"Children in South Korea spend almost all day going to school, but there is more to their lives than that. There is more to everyone than their main title. I feel this now, heavily, as a stay-at-home mom who grew up on a farm in Ohio. We work hard to define ourselves and move beyond a stereotype. I worked hard at this memoir because I wanted to write a book that is honest and aware. I discuss education, but I go beyond that to talk about how we get to where we are in a life. The most privileged students in South Korea were the ones who got to go to the best schools, but were they happy? If we ask the same questions about Americans, what is the answer? Thank you for your time and consideration. I am attaching the first page of my essay Cupcake, which was originally published in The Puritan. I can send you a copy of the manuscript WORTH HER SALT by email or regular mail. I hope to hear from you soon. Sincerely, [Author Name Redacted]."

Laura Maylene Walter (00:34:26):
Okay, Erin, I'll let you take it away with your opening thoughts.

Erin Hosier (00:34:31):
So number one off the end of that, with like what I'm attaching, don't attach something that isn't what you're pitching and don't attach all of the thing that you're pitching. Like the whole manuscript. She was right to say, you know, I'm looking forward to talking about seeing more. But you know, typically attach the first 10 pages or just a sample of your strongest writing within the piece. Number one, when we're going into the letter, I'm immediately intrigued by the connection of wealth and pressure at school and teenage suicide. And in that first paragraph I'm like, oh, I wonder if this is gonna be some kind of investigation or a mystery will be uncovered. Because those are very provocative things to put in the first paragraph, which you should always open with because I'm skimming, I'm skimming. But then it's like I'm not seeing, uh, the connection because it does say that she's only been there for one year.

Erin Hosier (00:35:37):
She teaches one year, which seems like not enough time to immerse yourself in a culture or a subject really for a book at all. I didn't see any plot points raised in the query letter throughout. Like there's no setting of where the action will take place. Like what the arc or beginning middle end will at least like be building toward. So there really needs to be a takeaway. Like I wouldn't use the adjectives, she says she wants her book to be honest and aware. That's implicit. You need to be honest and there has to be awareness and self-awareness if a book is ever going to be published. But you don't want to, you know, use your precious adjectives and don't take away from your pitch for a broad question.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:36:32):
Yeah, exactly. And when I look at the letter on the page, it's very long, and that line you referenced about wanting to write a book that is honest and aware...I mean, the whole line can just go because we don't actually need to know the impulse behind writing the book and what you want to accomplish. So I think a lot of trimming and organization would help. Stay-at-home mom is mentioned twice in the letter, which, if you're going to mention that for any reason, once is enough. And it's such a strong and upsetting image of these students committing suicide because of the pressure and that phrase "jumping to their deaths." That echoed with me throughout the query. And so when I got to the next paragraph with the detail about eating ranch dressing, it was hard to know how to put that in place. Right? Because it's hard to focus on the ranch dressing or the hilarious moments when I heard about something so dark. So, yes, I agree. I had the same questions of what is the overarching, the arc of this book, right?

Erin Hosier (00:37:27):
Is it like, "Are Korean students that come from rich families as unhappy as American students who don't come from rich families?" And so that's not enough. But this whole letter made me think of a guest on my podcast who I hope is going to write a book named Youngmi Mayer, who is Korean-American and has a podcast called Feeling Asian, which is talking to other Asian people about growing up in their respective Asian society. Like no matter which one it all is about like a tendency to repress feelings or you know, be less like American <laugh> and Western with all of our complaining. Then she has a spinoff podcast though called Hairy Butthole, which is a saying in Korea, if you laugh while crying hair will grow out of your butthole. So each week Youngmi is joined by a guest with a sad story and then she counters it with a funny one.

Erin Hosier (00:38:39):
So it's kind of like addressing these themes like here's a dark thing that happened to me that I never talk about and I'm gonna cry about it on the show and let it all out and then I'm gonna tell you about how it made me a funnier person. So the reason why only Youngmi can do that is because she is Korean herself. She has a Korean mother, but she also has a white father who she calls racist and misogynist and her parents are still married. So she's who I hope will write a memoir about the conflict between American culture and Korean culture because she is from both. So I think also if you're writing about a different culture outside of the U.S. and you are from the U.S., you need to stay in your lane. So if this writer is a white woman, give that a think because it won't work. because then it becomes that like navel-gazy, you know, "I'm out of my comfort zone and I'm gonna tell other people how to live."

Laura Maylene Walter (00:39:48):
Yeah, yeah. Without maybe definitively knowing this writer's identity in general, if you were to get a query letter where you feel, based on the writer's identity, they need to stay in their lane so to speak, where should they go from here if they had been working on a project like this? What is their next best step?

Erin Hosier (00:40:06):
Well, I would just ask yourself like why this subject? What am I really trying to say? Because if I were peeling it back, it sounds like she wants to talk about class. Like, wealth.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:40:20):
Yeah, yeah. Which I'm really fascinated by. Yeah.

Erin Hosier (00:40:22):
I am so fascinated by books about class and capitalism and I've been so irritated by how hard they are to sell. You know, there's that book by Stephanie Land called MAID, or NICKEL AND DIMED by Barbara Ehrenreich twenty-some years ago. Still such an important book. But recently when I've been trying to sell something about capitalism to a mainstream publisher, the editor would say to me, <laugh> "Erin, this is like a book for activists. It's kind of anti-capitalist. You really gonna think like we're going to publish a book and try to promote it for somebody to sell for $30? And you're saying, like, we're the bad guy for that." You know, it's just, it's tricky. You have to really think through all of the angles. But I would also say for something where you're just not nailing it in book length, write an essay, you know, come up with a proof of concept.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:41:24):
And also I would like to point out that this writer has some really excellent credits. Which is always good. It is clearly a person who's been been working hard on their writing, which is always fantastic to see. And I think I would tell this writer as well that if you do have to reexamine the angle of your book or of your topic. You know, and some of our comments just wondering about the arc of the book itself, I think that is so normal. It is standard, right? To have to step back and reevaluate your angle, how you're approaching your subject matter or anything like that. This is just the process. So I would say definitely don't be discouraged by that. We all do it. We're all doing it constantly for years sometimes. But, yeah.

Erin Hosier (00:42:07):
No, I think that's good. It's a great one to start with because I feel like we got a lot out of the way.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:42:14):
Query Number Two. "Dear Agent: FRATERNAL TEARS is an 82-500 worded young adult novel about a fraternal sister who seeks answers about the disappearance of her fraternal brother with the help of her surfing friends. Similar titles are Skullcrack by Ben Bo, Second Star by Alyssa Sheinmel, and Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech. FRATERNAL TEARS is filled with teenage drama, romance, reincarnation, and paranormal events. Hailey and Hunter are fraternal twins and best friends. Based in the 1980s, Hailey and Hunter and their friends are known as The Suicidal Surfers in the coastal community of Tall Ships, Rhode Island. When Hunter goes missing at college, Hailey's life becomes a nightmare until she opened her eyes one morning at home and sees Hunter standing over her. Her friends and family think she is crazy for stating she sees Hunter. Hailey discovers Hunter returned to help her decide which high school sweetheart to marry-wild and cocky Seth or calm and cool Joe.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:43:15):
"I am a librarian at [redacted], and I previously worked in a Young Adult Department at a medium-sized library for four years, ordering and reading young adult novels. My love for the ocean led me to write FRATERNAL TEARS. I was honored FRATERNAL TEARS was chosen as one of many semi-finalists in the 2018 Eludia Award, a first book-length unpublished novel contest. In 2009, I paid a literary agency $5,000 to revise FRATERNAL TEARS. They never found a publisher, so I relinquished them in 2013. Per this agency, "It was one of our favorite projects, and we're surprised we haven't had any luck placing it for you.” I entered FRATERNAL TEARS on Swoon Reads in 2016 and received favorable reviews and ratings. Go Media designed the book cover with my input.Thank you for your time and consideration. Best regards, [Author Name Redacted]."

Erin Hosier (00:44:08):
Mm. Well, I hate that she got taken for a ride because you definitely don't want to put anything about your previous track record being rejected in your query letter. Just in general. You know, I hope everybody's heard the wisdom about, you know, literary agents don't get paid by writers until we get paid through the publishers or the film production companies and then we pay the author after we make the money. Now there's a lot of book packaging companies, there's like things called like curated self-publishing or hybrid publishers, but in this case I would just take that loss and not mention it. I love the fact that they are a librarian. That goes for a lot, especially since I don't know anything really about the YA or middle-grade kids world, I would think that she would. And so she's the expert there. I wouldn't open with "My 82,500 word..."

Erin Hosier (00:45:15):
That's just like filler to me. Like it also sounds a little long, but maybe it isn't, you know, for young adult, I also couldn't tell, this is where I get tripped up with young adult material because as I understand it, kids read aspirationally, like they read above their grade level. An 11-year-old wants to hear about a high school romance, but a 20-year-old does not want to hear about a high school romance because now they're onto, you know, adult fiction that isn't even called YA anymore. So I would work on that. And with the competitive titles with those comps, I would also, I'm assuming because they're a librarian then they know that these should be very recent comps and I would list like, you know, Candlewick or whoever put out those particular books just to show how tuned into the market the writer is. I don't know about "suicidal surfers" or if it's giving me enough and that's just my take, but I think she can be a little bit more conversational, I think, about the plot.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:46:30):
Yeah, yeah. I had questions about the plot because on one hand it seems like a ghost story, right? But then with that line "Hunter is standing over her bed..." That struck me as a bit ominous, but I don't think it was meant to be. And then I was surprised when it actually seemed to be a love triangle where she's trying to pick between two different people to marry. I was just curious, like what is the real heart of the story here?

Erin Hosier (00:46:52):
Yeah, and it's called Fraternal Tears and it doesn't say that they're twins, you know what I mean? But she uses the word "fraternal" a couple times.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:47:05):
I think it does. The second paragraph, it says they're twins, but the word "fraternal" is used so often before that that I think it gets muddled a bit and it might not be necessary to use.

Erin Hosier (00:47:14):
Take it out. Well, but because they're brother and sister...yeah. I don't like the title Fraternal Tears that I think that's what I'm getting at. Yeah, I think that's, that's not a title that says anything. Anything to me. Yeah.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:47:30):
Yeah, it's abstract

Erin Hosier (00:47:31):
And it doesn't seem like a YA.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:47:32):
Well, I have a question for you. So I'm not familiar with Swoon Reads. I looked it up and it seems to be an online community where you can post your work and people will comment on it. So I'm wondering what advice you would give to authors in terms of doing that. Are there certain limitations, you know, obviously you don't want to publish your work, but these communities don't always count as publishing, so I guess I'm wondering where the line is in terms of sharing your entire book online. There was also the mention of the book cover design that made me question, oh, is this self-published or not? If there was a cover design...

Erin Hosier (00:48:08):
There's so many, apparently, places. I think that I would go to Poets & Writers or Publishers' Marketplace, which we always talk about in the biz, and just click around, do some research. I Google all the time, like if I haven't heard of a press, because there's so many millions of them and micros and smalls and universities and whatever. Just do your research and look around and if it looks too good to be true ... and I'm a fan of self-publishing and I think that it can be done really well. But if you don't do a lot of research first it can be disastrous because you end up buying, you know, 500 books and nowhere to put 'em. <Laugh>

Laura Maylene Walter (00:49:04):
Right, exactly. I think that's also just a good reminder that agents are Googling people. They're googling small presses. I mean, I do that and I'm not an agent or an editor, but I do it through my work when I haven't heard of a press or a contest or something, I'll do a little digging just so I understand what it is. So it's good to be aware of writers, that professionals are Googling what you put in a query letter. Sometimes, anyway. Okay. So our last query letter is a little bit different and I think this is a good sign of what it's like to be in publishing or to be an author in the industry is that publishing, as you said, Erin, is super slow. So from the time that I asked for these queries and received them until I was ready to set up this interview with you and contact the writers and ask for their permission, months had passed.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:49:52):
So this writer had already revised her query based on other feedback in that time. So we're actually going to do a quick before and after based on the original query she sent me and then the revision that she sent closer to this podcast airing. So first I'll read the original query as it was submitted.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:50:10):
Query Number Three, Before: "Dear Ms. Agent: I saw on Duotrope that you are open to suspense and literary fiction which led me to your agency’s website. Given your interests, I hope you will consider WHERE WILLOWS TAKE ROOT, complete at 92,00 words. An excerpt of this work was featured in Best Short Stories from The Saturday Evening Post-Great American Fiction 2021 which garnered a personal note from Jodi Picoult. In WHERE WILLOWS TAKE ROOT, a coming-of-age story set in 1965, Kat must grow up fast to outwit her stepfather when he commits her mother to Athens Insane Asylum as a means to sell off her three hundred acres through power of attorney and pay off his mounting debts to the Cleveland Mayfield Mafia.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:50:53):
"Like her daughter, Helen leans on her wits. Still, her struggle to earn the trust of the asylum staff and prove her sanity may drive her even deeper into its grips as solitary confinement and shock treatment therapy are lorded over those who speak out. Together, mother and daughter echo one another, circle each other, separated and desperate for reunion, both striving for the chance at a new life the world may not give them. Mary-Jane Holmes (Fish Publishing Editor) worked with me to rewrite the story, and Caroline Leavitt (New York Times Bestselling novelist) worked with me to polish it. WHERE WILLOWS TAKE ROOT has the edginess of Kate Quinn’s The Alice Network, the tension of Falkner’s Light in August, and the darkness of Willa Cather’s Paul’s Case, and will resonate with fans of Nadine Gordimer and Amy Tan.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:51:39):
"I studied creative writing at Baldwin Wallace College and Cleveland State University. My short stories have been finalists for Perigee Publication for the Arts, The Fish Short Story Prize, and a Glimmer Train Press honorable mention. My thriller ANONYMOUS (Loconeal Select 2014) won the Eric Hoffer Book Award and was a finalist for Next Generation Indie Book Award and Reader’s Favorite Book Award. ANONYMOUS has sold over 5,000 copies. The first two chapters are in the message. I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, [Author Name Redacted]."

Laura Maylene Walter (00:52:08):
Okay, Erin, would you like to offer a few initial comments on this original query letter?

Erin Hosier (00:52:17):
I would not mention Faulkner, I would not mention 5,000 copies sold, whether it was self-published or... It's just like how, I'm not gonna tell you that, you know, X episode only got, 600 unique downloads. All publishers need to believe, or tell themselves, that your book can sell about 35,000 copies in general, just so they don't feel like they are losing money on every single book that they do. They do lose money on most books because you know, only 1% of all books even sell more than 5,000 copies. So I understand why she wanted to put that in there, but just take it out.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:53:09):
I don't know too much about self-publishing, but I feel I've seen advice over the years that agents will only be interested if there's a magic number, basically either 2,000 or 5,000 copies that tells them something about the self-published book. But I think it's so useful to hear from you that agents actually maybe don't want that number put in regardless. And you know, if it's sold hundreds of thousands of copies, then it would be a different story for other reasons than just the number.

Erin Hosier (00:53:35):
Here's the thing, they can find you once your book is self-published and it is moving on Amazon, which is truly the only way that self-published books get there. That algorithm kicks in. If it's on Amazon, it alerts all of these, maybe they're not editors, but like nerds at publishing houses. Spies are constantly looking at data and that data will reveal in those algorithm categories like, you know, best blah, blah, blah books. I can tell you that I have worked with somebody that had self-published in the past and the publisher reached out to them because she could see, the publisher could see, that this self-published author was selling about, I think it was like 4,000 books a month, and that is a lot. And so, you know, then they took over that same book under their own license and then signed up two more. So that's how that works. By the way, that author would've made more money in the short term self-publishing, but they wanted that opportunity as we all do for the major distribution and possible translation, yada, yada yada.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:54:53):
Yeah. And not having to do all the editing and proofing yourself. And have a team behind you. Well, looking at the plot of this quickly on the before version, it definitely seems like a lot is happening in the book. It's not quiet, but I think one of my questions was, is it dual point of view? Because Kat, the daughter, is mentioned, and then Helen and also, I kind of balked at the term "insane asylum". But this was set in 1965, so maybe that's what it would be called back then.

Erin Hosier (00:55:22):
Is it? Because...

Laura Maylene Walter (00:55:24):
It's jarring.

Erin Hosier (00:55:25):
It was, it was jarring. For me, I love a state hospital narrative, but I wonder that even in 1965 [they'd call it that], which was the one thing that really stood out to me about this query. So it's important that you said that. "Insane asylum" feels almost satirical. Like I think in the UK they would call it something like that "for the criminally insane" or something. But I couldn't tell if that was made up.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:55:50):
Yeah, yeah. And I don't know, now I want to look it up to see if that was the term being used back then. But I guess either way, yes, it's important to think about these things. So even if what you're writing is correct for the time, thinking about how to frame it in a query can be important. But maybe we'll see that in the revision, right. So yeah, there's a lot of other author names mentioned, either authors who worked with this writer, you know, and I'm glad you mentioned Faulkner and Willa Cather. Yes.

Erin Hosier (00:56:15):
Yes, Cather.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:56:15):
It's really hard to compare yourself, first of all, to authors who are considered greats, but also, you know, Faulkner's LIGHT IN AUGUST was published almost a century ago. So it's just not relevant. Even if her book does have the same tone.

Erin Hosier (00:56:29):
Yeah. Every single editor will tell you that when it comes to comps, it's just because those guys are dead. You know, and it was a hundred years ago, like, people want to know about today's problems, even if they are reading an historical story. It just has to touch on those themes.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:56:50):
Do you have a timeframe in mind that you prefer for comps? Like books that were published in the last three to five years?

Erin Hosier (00:56:56):
I love the way that she handled that comp paragraph even in the first go, because she's saying it's for readers of ___, or readers who liked this book might be drawn to this for these reasons. I still love to do that and I also still love to like reference movies and stories in the news, but when it comes down to it, editors say it needs to be in the last two or three years because they are going after a very specific profit and loss report that they have to put together. So CRYING IN H MART, you know, sold this many copies versus this grief memoir, blah, blah, blah, and make an average out of it. So I just always say, even if you haven't read the books, you must be aware of what is working in your lane, in your category. Look at the New York Times bestseller list. Just scan it. Notice the books that aren't obvious, like obviously Michelle Obama's memoir is number one on the non-fiction list. Who is the non-celebrity that has a memoir on that list? You know, make a spreadsheet. Writers love spreadsheets.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:58:11):
We do. We really do <laugh>. Okay, well let's turn to the revised version of this query. Query Number Three, After. "Dear Ms. Agent: I saw on Manuscript Wish List that you are open to queries. Given your interest in literary fiction, I’m hoping that you’ll consider WHERE THE WILLOWS TAKE ROOT, complete at 92,000 words. Kat’s alcoholic grandfather is her only ally when her mother falls ill and her ill-tempered stepfather alerts children’s services — that is until she comes up against a stranger she meets on the highway. In Kat’s quest to unite her family, she learns to trust the stranger, a returning Vietnam soldier, who keeps a secret between them, along with some of his own. An excerpt of this 1965 coming-of-age story was featured in Best Short Stories from The Saturday Evening Post-Great American Fiction 2021, and another excerpt was a Glimmer Train Press honorable mention.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:59:07):
“WHERE THE WILLOWS TAKE ROOT blends the edginess of Kate Quinn’s The Alice Network, the tension of Falkner’s Light in August, and the darkness of Willa Cather’s Paul’s Case, and will resonate with fans of Jane Smiley and Amy Tan. I studied creative writing at Cleveland State University and Baldwin Wallace College, and have worked with NYT Bestselling Authors, Karen Joy Fowler, and Caroline Leavitt. One of my short stories was a finalist for the Perigee Publication for the Arts and three other short stories were finalists for The Fish Short Story Prize. My thriller, ANONYMOUS (Loconeal Select 2014), won the Eric Hoffer Book Award and was a finalist for both the Next Generation Indie Book Award and the Reader’s Favorite Book Award. I would love to work with you. Truly, [Author Name Redacted].”.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:59:49):
Okay. Erin, what'd you think about this revision?

Erin Hosier (00:59:53):
It's good. I like that she ends on the accolades that's very strong. I got more of a sense of the plot I guess, at this time. And I like that it's shorter. The less words, the better. I'd even dispense with like, you know, I read on publisher's marketplace or Manuscript Wish List because just launch into like, maybe it's a question, maybe it's the essential tension of the book. I just want to get to that plot line quicker. Instead of saying "This 1965 coming-of-age story," I'd write "a coming-of-age story set entirely in 1965" because I'm wondering what is it about the year 1965? Is that the container of the book for a reason? And I think she mentions Vietnam or a Vietnam vet. So in my mind I went right to like Denis Johnson's Tree of [Smoke] or whatever, like, because I haven't heard of a Vietnam book in a long time, so I'm just trying to think about like, okay, okay, how does this fit? How does this fit? Or what is this saying to me? And then I think the word "alcoholic father" might have been in there...

Laura Maylene Walter (01:01:11):
Alcoholic grandfather.

Erin Hosier (01:01:13):
Grandfather. Okay. So that's me. Maybe I...but that's not enough. Like I want a little more. And so with this query, I think she should definitely paste below if that's allowed for who she's querying. Like the first 10 pages or the first chapter. So I could get a sense of the voice. Sometimes it's okay to put the first few sentences of the book if they're really great right there as your opener in the query letter, you know, because sometimes you open a book and it's just like, yeah. Yeah. Let's see. Like, I'm just opening up HYSTERICAL by Elissa Bassist, which is a new release. It's got a great blurb by Roxanne Gay on the cover. And the first two lines are "'You don't have a brain tumor,' the first neurologist said." You know, that's a great way to open any letter because it tells you, oh the neurologist. Oh, the _first_ neurologist. So then you're already like uncovering the mystery or you want to know more and that's really the trick of it. And I know it's so, ugh, it's brain-numbing because you don't want to say the wrong thing right off the bat.

Laura Maylene Walter (01:02:34):
You know, queries are so difficult and this writer has clearly been revising and working at it. And I don't know any writer who hasn't revised their query 8, 10, 20 times. Right? This is part of the process, and I think the writer did a good job of totally, they did a lot of good in this revision. I do think it's hard because we did see two versions. So we're carrying forward plot elements we saw in version one, which other agents won't. They'll have just one version. And I did think in this one, the plot information as you're suggesting, is really thin. So the mother isn't mentioned at all, which I still have that question in my mind. Is it dual point of view? How big of a role does the mother play? And things like "she comes up against a stranger," but I don't know what really happens or the stranger's secrets. I know in a query letter it can be challenging where you don't want to give it all away, but you do have to give enough details to entice us, I think.

Erin Hosier (01:03:26):
Yeah, you definitely do. And it's okay to give it all away actually to the agent. You know, you'd want to create some suspense for the editor, but let the agent worry about that part. But yeah, when you're pitching to the agent, it's kind of okay to say like, here's how the book's gonna end. You know, you don't have to say it in your first query letter, but it's something that you should have an idea of when you are writing the query letter and approaching an agent like, oh, I know how to answer the question of what comes next. You know, a lot of people, they start to reach out to agents when they have like a really nice chunk of polished writing or an essay or This American Life or something that has given them that immediate feedback that people are connecting with this. But is it a book? Can you sustain it? Can you sustain a narrative over 250, 300 pages and tell a bigger story than just your own story? because a book has to transcend your experience to say something larger about our culture and our times and all of us in a kind of universal way, even as it is specific to your experience.

Laura Maylene Walter (01:04:49):
That was perfect and that was also really fantastic high-level advice to help us step back and look at a query in the book process from a larger level, which makes me think of that expression, the forest for the trees, which makes me think of Betsy Lerner's fantastic book, THE FOREST FOR THE TREES, which I will link to. But I tend to be someone who zeroes in too much, almost to a fault, but on one really minor nitpicky level here in the second paragraph, "the mother falls ill" and "her ill-tempered stepfather." So those two "ills" right next to each other. And I don't know, maybe the author was trying to create an echo on purpose, but this is such a tiny thing and I wouldn't normally be so nitpicky, but Erin, as you mentioned, when you're reading queries, you're busy, you're skimming, and there are just all these little details that can add up to an impression as an agent is quickly reading. So it's good to just read your query out loud and really sit with it.

Erin Hosier (01:05:43):
Yeah. And truly, Thesaurus.com. I am constantly using it just because I'm writing quickly, I have to write these things quickly and I will not remember the adjective that is different than the one that I just used. But it is so important not to double up on that stuff, you know, it's weird but true.

Laura Maylene Walter (01:06:05):
We should start to wrap up because we've gone over our time. But I am so appreciative of you being here and sharing your insights and your expertise. I am going to encourage all of our listeners to read Erin's memoir, DON'T LET ME DOWN, and listen to the fantastic podcast. Tell Me About Your Father. But before we go, do you have any final parting words you'd like to offer to writers listening who might be trying to find an agent? Any last bit of advice or encouragement for them?

Erin Hosier (01:06:31):
Yeah. Just keep reading. Keep reading what's new. Keep talking to your community about the books you're reading and don't feel like it has to be a book. There are other ways that you can make an impact with your writing. And sometimes a shorter form is the best form, and is just as challenging in its own way, but can lead to other things. I've been really getting into Belt Magazine, you know, like learning about the regional treasure we have here. They also have a publishing imprint. I don't know, just like, don't give up, don't get discouraged. Keep writing and get yourself a writing group or partner, somebody to help keep you accountable and to keep you encouraged.

Laura Maylene Walter (01:07:24):
Excellent advice. Erin, thank you so much for being here with us today. It's been a delight.

Erin Hosier (01:07:29):
Thanks so much.

Laura Maylene Walter (01:07:31):
Page Count is presented by the Ohio Center for the book at Cleveland Public Library. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, rate, and leave a review for page count wherever you get your podcast. Learn more online or find a transcript of this episode at ohiocenterforthebook.org, follow us on Twitter @cplocfb, or find us on Facebook. If you'd like to get in touch, email ohiocenterfortheboo@cpl.org and put "podcast" in the subject line. Finally, follow me on Twitter and Instagram @LauraMaylene. Thanks for listening, and we'll be back in two weeks for another chapter of Page Count.

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