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.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Saving $$$

Today I opened an express mail envelope that contained a requested partial.

Really, you don't have to do this. Express mail is very expensive. If we request a partial, we expect to wait 2-5 days for it, at least. If we for some reason need it faster than that (if you have a book deal with the publisher and are just agent-shopping before you sign on the dotted line), we'll say so, and then you can ask if you can email it.

If you're querying via mail, you're going to be spending money. You can spend it unnecessarily if you want, but don't think dropping a twenty on express mail will impress us. Your manuscript is the thing that needs to impress us. Save some money and send it media mail or at worst, priority. If you live in a state close the agent, totally send it media mail.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Agent For You

Dear Rejector,

My memoir involves my experiences in music. The agent who wants to represent my work is passionate about my book, understands the concept and what I am trying to do, and all of his books are extremely successful. My only concern is that most of the books he represents are mainstream Christian. Although my book doesn’t fit anywhere in that category, this agent seems perfect for me in so many ways. His Christian books are all best sellers, so clearly this agent knows what he is doing in that area. Will he have the same pull with publishers in a book that is off his topic area?

If he's a good agent, he wouldn't offer to take you on without some idea of whom he was going to sell your material to. Ask him where he would try to sell it and what editors he knows. If he has a comprehensive response, he'll be a good agent for you. If he doesn't have a real plan and you have other options, go elsewhere.