A geeky girl living in the big city, making her way, the only way she knows how... no wait, that's The Dukes of Hazzard. Who am I again? Oh yeah, a pop culture obsessed writer, publishing person, and occasional nerd. And I'm getting married. I talk about that, too.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Agenty stuff, again

Ok, we're back for another round of "Advice from an Agent." I'm not sure I've seen this discussed elsewhere, but it's a form of bookkeeping for all you aspiring writers out there, and it's pretty simple:

Track Your Submissions.

You don't have to go all out and design something fancy, but try making yourself a spreadsheet with each title you're submitting, the date you contacted an agent, how you contacted them and with what (query, query with 3 pages, sample chapters, full manuscript), any follow-ups you may have sent, and their reaction or the result.

We agents may get an awful lot of submissions, but what we do with them is read them. And most of us have gotten very good at remembering what we read. If you write to us in October and describe your novel, if we like the sound of it and ask for a couple of chapters, but ultimately decline, chances are if you write to us AGAIN in February with the same pitch, it's going to ring a bell. Even if it never gets past the query stage, be aware that sending a pitch twice doesn't make you seem persistent (and bear in mind the difference between persistence and annoyance I spoke about before), so much as it makes you look sloppy and forgetful. And that's not the image you want to present of yourself.

Likewise, if you sent us Novel A and it got to the chapters stage, but was ultimately declined, if you're tracking your submissions, you can reference that in a new query for Novel B: "Last summer, you requested and ultimately declined several chapters of Novel A, but I've been working on a new project that is even stronger, and I'd love to share it with you." What this says to me is that I liked something about your work the first time you wrote, and I'm more likely to look at a new manuscript. It's not a slam dunk, of course, but you're looking for every little edge, right?



Blogger Doyce said...

Which reminds me that I want to move my submission tracking (currently in MS Excel) over to Google Spreadsheet, so that I can access it just as universally as I can the gmail account I'm using for submissions.

2/06/2007 3:38 PM


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