Friday, May 01, 2009

Dropping Off Requested Material

If you live in New York, any harm in dropping it off quickly and politely, leaving it with the receptionist?

Ask. Agents feel differently about this, usually depending on how often they actually come into the office (as opposed to working from home) and whether they actually have a receptionist. I used to work for an agency that did not have one, and anyone could walk in, and we all want to avoid the awkward conversation with the author we are probably going to reject, statistically. My current boss works in a building with a lot of different small offices and does have a receptionist for the building, so she allows drop-offs, but only when she knows to expect them and ask if there's anything behind the desk for her.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for answering, Rejecter. I almost always drop it off, but never thought of asking before. It saves a lot of money, but I would never talk to anyone, I just pretend I'm a messenger. I like getting a sense of the office too. Paul Auster's character in ORACLE NIGHT does this too, saying he doesn't trust putting it in the mail. I live in his agent's zipcode and you wouldn't believe how often our post office screws up our addresses, delivering mail to the wrong address (same number but wrong street). Enough to drive a writer crazy.

Thomas said...

So the pirate rope swing from the roof and in through the window for delivery followed by the BASE jump exit probably isn't the way to go?

Judy Schneider said...

Putting a manuscript in the mail is a scary process. (So much so that I used to ask my husband to do it!) Now, with e-submissions, the pressure is off a bit -- even though hitting the "Send" button can still be a sweaty-palm process. It's that whole off-you-go feeling of vulnerability.

Walking a manuscript in to an agent's office and dropping it off, wow! That's as romantic as writing a novel longhand. I love it!


Gilbert J. Avila said...

Too bad we'll never again see the good old days of the pulp fiction magazines like Astounding Science Fiction. Legendary editor John W. Campbell often had writers like Isaac Asimov come into his office (located in the magazine's printing plant!) and then wait while Campbell read the story and then called accounting to have them cut a check for the author while he waited.

The Rejecter said...

South Park, whenever it has a book deal episode, has the unpublished author sitting in an editor's office while the editor finishes reading the manuscript, then gives his personal critic. It happened to Mr. Garrison when he wrote romance novels and it happened on that Towelie episode where he wrote a fake autobiography. It's very dramatic but I always have to laugh at the idea of an editor at a publishing company (a) having a massive corner office with a giant window overlooking the skyline, and (b) having the time to read an unpublished author's manuscript and then actually want to discuss it with them face-to-face. Rejections are awkward for both parties. That's why it happens in writing.