Countdown to the Muse: Micro-Interview 13 (Ann Collette)
Day 2 of The Muse and the Marketplace. This is the thirteenth in a series of micro-interviews by an author, agent or editor who is attending the event.
Micro-Interview with Ann Collette
- What is the toughest criticism to give or receive on writing?
As an agent, I find it's not giving criticism that's tough, it's HOW I give it that can be hard. Sometimes I forget how easily a new writer's feelings can be hurt and I just barge ahead and deliver what I think is a brilliant critique, only to realize later that, whatever its real merits, my criticism should have been delivered -- shall we say -- with more delicacy.
- What do you think is the future of digital vs. printed media for the publishing industry?
I truly don't lose any sleep over what the future of digital vs. printed media will be. Ebooks will eventually peak, then plateau. I suppose, in the far distant future, physical books could become something only owned only by the rich and elite, the "opera" of publishing, vs. the "pop music" of digital publishing. I also think we could find ourselves going online one day to a site where we could literally order exactly the kind of book we're in the mood to read just like the way you order sushi now -- meaning, you're in the mood for a Western. Click on column A. You want it to have Comanche Indians. Click on Column B. You want Texas Rangers. Click on Column C. You want a captive Mexican girl in dire need of rescuing. Click on Column D., etc. And then, bingo! Your exact choice is automatically sent to your Kindle or whatever device you're using. But I was also looking at a recent copy of the magazine "Entertainment Weekly," where there was an article featuring pictures of the set of Mindy Kaling's new show, She plays a doctor on it. And what jumped out at me was that every room of her set had plenty of books on display. These books were not just decoration but more to the point, objects that "proved" how smart her character is. And all I could think was, how could an ereader, no matter how big-ass it might be, ever make that point? Physical books SAY something about us that ebooks never will be able to.
- What is the strangest place you've ever been?
Without question, the strangest place I've ever been is inside my own head.
- What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to give to writers?
The advice I find myself giving writers the most is, DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Check an agent's website before submitting to make sure she or he represents your genre. Don't send attachments. And ALWAYS send your best work. Agents are too busy to give you a second chance. Rejection hurts. Why set yourself up for it when, with a little homework and extensive revising, you might interest an agent instead?
Ann Collette was a freelance writer and editor before joining the Rees Literary Agency in 2000. Her list includes books by New York Times bestselling author B. A. Shapiro, Oprah's “Fall 2012 Unputdownable Mysteries” author Mark Pryor, Anthony Nominee Vicki Lane, RT Award Nominees Clay and Susan Griffith, Mark Russinovich, Steven Sidor, Carol Carr, and Chrystle Fiedler. She likes literary, mystery, thrillers, suspense, vampire, and commercial women's fiction; in non-fiction, she prefers narrative non-fiction, military and war, work to do with race and class, and work set in or about Southeast Asia. Ann does not represent children's, YA, sci-fi, or high fantasy.
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