Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Manuscript or query?

I read that when attempting to sell a first manuscript, you need to send the full manuscript to agencies/agents, and not just a query letter.

Also, is it okay to send the manuscript to another agency after after a few months, or even at the same time? I’ve read that you should, and that you shouldn’t. It seems to me that because it’s exceptionally hard to get a first book published, and because most manuscripts are rejected, that it’d be best to send them to multiple places. On the other hand, I read that agencies hate this. Which is it?

First of all, I don't know where you read that, but you should send a query letter first unless you read on the agent's website to do otherwise. Don't go wildly sending out your manuscript unsolicited. It's expensive and it won't get you anywhere. In fact, it will probably annoy us.

You are permitted to send material to multiple agencies at the same time. In fact, we pretty much assume you're doing it and that all submissions are simultaneous submissions unless the query is from someone who knows the agent personally. If you're blind-querying us, we assume you're blind-querying at least 10 other people at the same time. When I used to work in a building with five agencies in one complex, we would get the mail in a big pile and the interns would sort it, and we would often see the same letters quite obviously going to every agency there on the same day, because the font would be the same or the envelope would be the same. If you're going to query multiple agents at the same address, at least have the decency to spread it out by a couple of days and give the appearance that you care about us specifically.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

This made me laugh...

Great blog by the way.

Simon Haynes said...

So putting five queries in the same envelope with a note about 'sharing them with the other agents in your building' isn't a good idea?
Better yet, why not just send one query and ask the agent to pop it in the next mailbox along when they've done with it? They could even make multiple copies and put each one in a fresh envelope for you. Windowface, naturally.

Linda Adams said...

An agent related this story at a writer's conference I attended. She and another agent from a different agency were coming to the conference on a train. Since it was an opportunity to catch up on query letters, the agents had brought some along to read. One agent pulled out a letter to read, and the other agent said, "Hey! I have that one, too."

Anonymous said...

"Hey, I have that one, too!" Hahahaha. Had the same thing happen with--get this--personals ads. (Hey, I was in my 20s.)

Waylander said...

Where on earth did you read that you should just send the full manuscript unrequested? Seriously - name the source so that this deeply misguided advisor can be shown the error of their ways.

Anonymous said...

oh, please! all you rant and rave about is how much you hate this way that writers address a label to an agent or how stupid writers look if they mention in their query where they read about an agent, and you want us to act as if we care separately about you! ha!

guess what? I don't care about you. I don't care about your agency or your boss or anything else that has to do with you. I don't give a fig about your stupid assistant's position or any or your dumb griping. the only thing I care about is writing and my novel. Until you or anyone else at an agency wants to represent my work the last thing I'm going to worry about is your supposed feelings.

This is forced marching thorough the slimy ranks of commerce for most writers. get that? You have to act as though you care about us, the people responsible for you having your job in the first place, before I'll even consider treating you as anything other than just another possible agency.

writtenwyrdd said...

"This is forced marching thorough the slimy ranks of commerce for most writers."

Oh...an artiste (and stick your pinkie out when you say that, you slimy commercial writers and slimy editor's assistants.)

Anonymous said...

guess what? I don't care about you. I don't care about your agency or your boss or anything else that has to do with you. I don't give a fig about your stupid assistant's position or any or your dumb griping.

Yet anonymous still reads your blog...