Thursday, November 09, 2006

Editors, Editors, Editors

Rejecter - one tiny defense here --last week at Backspace tghe agents told us the LIKED when we hired an editor because implied that the MS might be cleaner than if we hadn't, meaning less work for YOU. And also, they liked that we had invested our own moolah in our work. I know nothing of which editor or the quality of the work presented -- just sharing some info that was bandied about last week in NY. Perhaps the writer was at Backspace? Was YOUR boss there?????

My boss was not there, but many reputable agents were from the looks of the webpage. I can only guess what they were referring to in terms of editors, but I would assume they mean reputable editors and no people like Edit Ink. I suggest you ask on Kristin Nelson's blog, as she was at the conference.

EDIT: There was a change and she was not present. Don't bother her about the conference.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The First Five Pages

Dear Rejector,

Agent Query says, "Do NOT include sample chapters of your novel with your query UNLESS an agent's submission guidelines specifically SAY to include sample pages with your snail mail query. If you really feel compelled to show an agent your writing style along with your query letter, include only the first 5 pages of your novel." I'm not trying to just provoke a battle of experts here, but what do you (or most agents) think of that? If you were to recieve five pages with a query, would you read them? Ignore them? Shred the whole package and send it back in the SASE?

This will vary from agency to agency, but in general, the 5 pages will either be ignored (if the query is so bad that we don't get that far) or actually read, depending on who's reading it. I'm paid by the hour, and I'm an insanely fast reader, so I'll read the pages. A very, very busy agent with no assistant might not, but 5 pages in manuscript format is really not a lot of text.

On the other hand, if I say, "Yeah, go ahead and send five pages," everyone who reads this will start doing it, and then it'll become a nuisance, which is why AgentQuery says that. So I answered your question, but I'm not going to take a hard line and tell everyone to send 5 pages or not. In general, listen to what the agency says they want. If they don't specify, just send a query.

New York Or Bust

Here is my question: I see a lot of uproar about how much an agent’s
location really matters. What I’d like to know is how much a writer’s
location matters to the agents. For example, if a writer is located
the big publishing countries such as USA and England.

It’s most likely a silly question, so feel free to be snarky if you
answer it. ;)

It's actually a not a silly question at all. What was silly was my original post, which skimmed your email a little too quickly and I answered the wrong question. Gack, Nanowrimo!

The answer is: No. We do not care if you live on the Upper West Side or in Tehran.

The "Holding Pen"

Dear Ms. Rejecter,

What are some of the reasons your boss might sit on a manuscript (not an exclusive) she likes after six months or more instead of offering representation right away? Miss Snark recently blogged about having a potential client in a “holding pen” for a year. As the assistant, how are you instructed to manage that type of situation given that you are probably being asked to read any requested revisions and the potential client is probably contacting you or the agent for updates?

I don't particularly know what Miss Snark is referring to by a "holding pen," but in general, agents give responses as soon as they have made a decision. We're not interested in putting people in suspense unnecessarily - that's cruel and they're in suspense enough just waiting for the mail delivery. The "six months or more" wait generally refers to a wait for the manuscript to actually be read and decided upon, or just decided upon. Sometimes the agent says, "I need to read it again" and then some emergency with a client comes up and she gets distracted for a while. I can't think of a time when I have ever seen a boss actually decide to offer presentation and then not do so in the next three minutes, maybe 5 if she got a busy signal on the first call.

Why are we STILL on the subject of gift baskets?

Just curious: If the "Gift" basket/certificate is sent to the agent as a thank you, is the agent supposed to send a thank-you for the thank-you?

A quick email acknowledging that it arrived is more than adequate if you ask me.

But you didn't, did you . . . ask me?

I would assume the same rules apply here that apply in any real life gift basket situation - you send a thank you if you feel like it or feel you should. My dad, who is a skin cancer surgeon, often does work pro-bono for needy patients or friends, so he regularly gets gift baskets. I don't know if he sends thank yous, but I've never seen him do it. On the other hand, if someone sent me a large gift basket for my birthday, I might send a thank you note. Who knows?