Aug 262008
 

I just mailed out a bunch of rejections this morning, which is never very fun. Based on what I read today I wanted to add a few quick faux pas and some general advice!
Many agents will take electronic queries these days (I prefer them). You can save yourself postage and reach out to those agents electronically. You might also get a more timely response. With agents that don’t read e-queries, be sure to follow their instructions and contact them appropriately.
If the agency is easily found and you have my contact info, then you should know I’m not “Sir or Madam.”
I don’t rep novels. Maybe someday, but not now. This is noted everywhere you might find my info except maybe in Everyone Who’s Everyone in publishing. I do want to see queries for memoirs, narrative non-fiction, how-to, reference, technical titles, design and photography, and anything of a western regional bent, including travel.
Keep track of your queries. If I turned it down once I will turn it down again.
Make sure the correct letter goes into the correct envelope.
Don’t quote your rejection letters. We know you need an agent before Scribner will read your manuscript. If you include five “positive” rejections you’re just telling the agent you’ve already shopped this and nobody bit.
Please don’t despair if you see a short rejection letter or even a form letter. Most often “it’s not right for me” is just that, even if your project might be great for someone else. You want your prospective agent to love your project, so it’s vital to weed out those who don’t. The history of publishing is filled with rejection. We hear it too on our side of the fence.
Good luck!

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