Monday, March 1, 2010

Five Questions with Mark McVeigh

Thanks to you for following The McVeigh Agency blog, I won a fifteen minute Skype chat with literary agent, Mark McVeigh. My chat was Friday morning. I was proud of myself to download Skype all by myself and figure it out. Then I practiced a Skype chat with Sharon Mayhew and prepared myself with my conversation with Mark. Thank you, my blogger buddies, for helping me prepare a list of questions. I had a long list to make sure I used my time wisely, but I didn't ask half of them as the time flew by!

Mark was friendly and so very helpful. I loved talking face to face with the web cam. It makes the conversation much more personal. We talked about query letters, email addresses (no headbanger@irock.com or crazy email addresses; be professional), Blondie, and more!


FIVE QUESTIONS WITH MARK MCVEIGH


1. What kind of books are getting contracts in the last few months?

MM: I've had the most luck with character driven middle grade novels, especially ones that have something unusually compelling about them--but not vampires!

2. Do you think magazine contributions are important when looking at a potential client?
MM: That really depends on the agent or the house. Honestly, unless you've been well published--with strong reviews or sales--the agent or editor isn't going to pay all that much attention to your background: the manuscript is what matters.

3. How important is web presence of a potential client to you?

MM: Web presence is very important. Everyone should start their media platform NOW through blogging, Twitter, and FaceBook. It's important to decide how much of the "real" you you want out on the web and how much is the "public, writer" you. It's a funny line to draw and, for me, it changes all the time. But remember--you are branding yourself for your public. A strong web presence is also great for connecting with other writers.

4. What is the most interesting or unexpected thing you have noticed during a Skype session?

MM: Probably the session in which my cat Ellen felt she needed to be a part of the call and kept walking in front of the screen, or even worse, turning to face me, tail held high, with you know what pointed directly at the webcam. Her editorial taste is impeccable, but she loses points when it comes to author care.
Here's Ellen's good side:
Photobucket


5. What is the last concert you went to and your favorite kind of music?
MM: I was more of a live music person when I was in high school and college, so the last period of my life where I went regularly was in the mid 80s. I loved the Ramones, Blondie, and X back in the day. I went to school in Boston, so we used to go to a place called the Rathskeller to see bands. I don't really like the crowds at arena concerts, so if you can imagine it, the last arena show I saw was The Police with The Go-Go’s as the opener in 1981! When I started clubbing in college I got into dance music, which I still like and used to go to a great alcohol-free club in NYC called Body & Soul. It opened at 2PM Sunday afternoon and closed at midnight, had the best DJs and the coolest crowd. Sadly, they lost their lease and closed. I have a pretty wide range of musical tastes: I like chamber music, Ella Fitzgerald, some opera, but also Madonna, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Angie Stone. Actually, Angie Stone was the last concert I went to, two years ago. She was awesome! Living in NYC you see a lot of musicians--I see Debbie Harry on the street in my neighborhood every so often, she lives just down the block. And I see David Bowie in SoHo, which is kind of cool.

Very cool, indeed!

Sharon Mayhew posted a very thorough account of her converation with Mark in two parts: here and here! Mark will be holding another contest in April for more chances to speak with him. I highly recommend following his blog! More information about The McVeigh Agency can be found on their website.


Thanks again to Mark for sharing his time and expertise and for introducing me to Skype!

Also a thank you to Jonathon Arnston . I won a contest on his blog, and he made me this amazing cover of my latest manuscript! Pretty flippin' cool, huh?!


Photobucket

33 comments:

Jen said...

Thank you for sharing! His cat is adorable, though sometimes can be disrespectful it sounds like!

Jonathon Arntson said...

Awesome questions, Kelly. Thanks for sharing Mark's straightforward and cool questions. I've always liked him.

Also, thanks for the shout out! Your cover is pretty flippin' cool, isn't it? Ok, totally talking w/confidence I generally don't have. I am really glad/relieved you like it.

Jonathon Arntson said...

Please don't forget, that cover is meant to be inspiration to get it done!

Solvang Sherrie said...

Very cool, Kelly -- the cover and the conversation!

Kelly said...

Jen- That is a cute cat! I think she just wanted attention! :)
Jon- Thank you again. I love it! The manuscript is done with many revisions. But of course, one is never done....
Sherrie - Thanks!

jama said...

Congrats on winning the Skype chat, Kelly. Great questions, and I love that cool cover. :)

Anita said...

Very nice of you to share this info!

Anita said...

Bummer...they're closed to queries until April!

Kelly said...

Jama- Thanks! I love Jon's artwork too!
Anita- Hmmm, where did you see that they are closed to queries?? I just checked their site and did not see that. Thanks for that info!

Tina Laurel Lee said...

I do so covet your cover. Although it would have nothing to do with my wip. So I guess it is just as well.

And thanks for the interview.

Suzanne Casamento said...

Awesome chat! Sounds like you guys had lots of fun. And congrats on skyping it up! : )

Bish Denham said...

Way cool Kelly!

Anita said...

I sent a query today and got an auto reply back: Thank you for submitting your work to The McVeigh Agency. We are not accepting submissions during the month of March in order to concentrate on responding to our huge backlog of queries. Submissions will be open again on April 1st. We look forward to hearing from you then!

Hema P. said...

Kelly, thanks for posting this -- you really had very interesting questions for Mark! I talked to him (I won the 15-minute chat also) on Friday, too, and posted part of my interview today on my blog :).

Loved the cover for your manuscript -- nothing like a good cover to motivate you to get it published! Good Luck!

Kelly said...

Tina - Jon did an awesome job on that, didn't he?!
Suzanne- I did like trying Skype. It was a great little nudge to try available technology!
Thanks, Bish!
Anita- Ohhh, thank you for sharing that. I guess that makes sense. I'm glad they are only closed for a month. I can't imagine how many queries agencies get in a week!
Hema- I'm going to pop over to your blog;glad you received a chat, too!!

Denise said...

Great interview with Mark! And I love the cover for Rock n Roll Princesses Wear Black.

MG Higgins said...

Thanks, Kelly. This is really interesting. He seems like a sincerely nice guy. And thanks to Anita for her timely info! I was thinking about shooting off a query myself.

Rena said...

Great interview, Kelly! It's always interesting to hear what agents and editors are looking for at any particular time.

Heather Kelly said...

Kelly, thanks for sharing Mark's answers with us--I'm glad it was a successful skyping session (without cat butt)!

Kim Kasch said...

So much fun - living vicariously through you - thanks for letting us have a moment with the agent too :)

Alison Ashley Formento said...

Great questions and an informative post. Such a cute kitten, too. Thanks for sharing.

Ray Veen said...

I'm a little concerned about the 'web presence' one. Think I need to check the forums and read up on this.

Sharon Mayhew said...

Great job, Kelly! I told you he was a nice guy. :) Thanks for sharing what you learned.

Jonathon's cover for you really "Rocks!"

The Wild About Writing Trio said...

Those were great questions, Kelly! And Mark gave equally great answers. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

Kim

Elana Johnson said...

What a very cool thing! And thanks for passing on MM's answers.

And wow on the cover!!! :)

J.A. Palermo said...

Thanks, kelly. And here's to character-driven MG selling!

storyqueen said...

You did a great job of sharing your conversation with Mark. I love the 5 question format.

I still have to blog about mine....yikes.

Shelley

PJ Hoover said...

You are on fire! What a great writeup of your Skype session! And I love the book cover.

Christina Farley said...

What a fun interview. You are so lucky! I'm glad we got a peek of your experience.

sruble said...

Congratulations on winning, and thanks for sharing part of your chat!

Love the cover you won too - cool!

Serenissima said...

Thanks so much for sharing your prize with us! It's always interesting to get a sneak peek from someone in the biz.

Suzette Saxton said...

Fabulous interview! You are so brave. Well done!

Myra said...

So are you going to start tweeting? ARE YOU?