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#DVPit - Amélie Wen Zhao and Peter J. Knapp:

#DVpit hosted client Amélie Wen Zhao and me to talk about how we connected through #DVPit and, of course, about Amélie’s stunning debut BLOOD HEIR, the first in a YA fantasy series that you won’t want to miss! 

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Yes, for lyrics you will generally need permissions, and it is generally the author’s responsibility to secure them from the copyright holder.

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I respond to all fulls. There was a period between moving agencies where some did slip through the cracks, regrettably, but as a rule I am good about responding personally now to full manuscripts. My feeling is you should follow up if you haven’t heard within 3-4 months with a polite check-in. 

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I really don’t have an “idea” range, as it varies widely from story to story. There is MG that works at 30k (and less!) and MG that is in the 80-120k range or even higher (NEVERMOOR, THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY, etc.). With YA it also ranges greatly, typically from 50k (especially for contemporary) on up to 140k on the high range for SFF. It really depends on the specific story and what it demands.

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For me personally, a nudge after 3 months is totally fine, as I *almost* always answer queries within 8-12 weeks. 

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Definitely not – I love third person, and it can work in present or past tense. But I do like immediacy and intimacy in voice, so with third I generally like it to be close third, where we are right there alongside the characters, experiencing things as they do, learning things as they do, etc. Sometimes third is too distant, where we cut away from the character’s experience and get either an omniscient POV or else a sense. If we lack that feeling of experiencing things as the character does, it can sometimes distance us from the character’s emotional experience of events. That said, sometimes these cut-aways work – it’s not a rule by any means, but just be careful of a third person voice that feels too much like a report of events rather than an intimate story about them.

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I have started requesting synopses. I very rarely end up reading them, but sometimes it’s helpful if I’m loving the voice but the plot starts to lag significantly, so I can get a sense of where things are going and decide if it’s just an act two issue I can fix or if the story itself isn’t going to be the right fit for me. It also can be helpful if I’m typing notes to the author to have a big picture snapshot of the story. 

Here’s a good resource to help write a synopsis: http://www.publishingcrawl.com/2012/04/17/how-to-write-a-1-page-synopsis/. I actually prefer synopses to be a little longer if possible – I am okay with up to about 3 pages – but as a general rule 1 or so pages is what agents request, so I would work with that.

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It is definitely possible, but alas, no crystal ball indeed! I’m in the market for one, though! 

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