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 About querying agents by name

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Shelagh
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Shelagh

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About querying agents by name - Page 2 Empty
PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name - Page 2 EmptyWed May 11, 2011 2:58 am

LC wrote:
http://www.amazon.com/Hermans-Publishers-Editors-Literary-Agents/dp/1402243375/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1305072104&sr=1-2

Have you bought this book? I'm tempted...
I would submit to his publisher, Sourcebooks:

http://www.sourcebooks.com/authors/submission-guidelines.html

They mention his book in their submission guidelines. If you buy a copy, it wouldn't harm to mention it in your query letter.

Btw, submissions to: Editorial Submissions -- I would suggest that "Dear Editor" on the query letter would be appropriate. Good luck!

Eta, St Martin's Press (Macmillan) recommend literarymarketplace.com for a list of literary agents:

http://www.literarymarketplace.com/lmp/us/faqs.asp

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About querying agents by name - Page 2 81KU-cLOw3L._SX110_ About querying agents by name - Page 2 41C9GeFDNWL._SX110_ About querying agents by name - Page 2 41%2BmGkZJdOL._SX110_ About querying agents by name - Page 2 51eDGllZXhL._SX115_ About querying agents by name - Page 2 41y7VHKoszL._SX115_ About querying agents by name - Page 2 51Zs4N4T4eL._SX115_
Amazon Author Central: Shelagh Watkins
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name - Page 2 EmptyWed May 11, 2011 10:22 pm

Thanks for the references. Sourcebooks has a good description of how to put a query together. I don't think they're looking for what I'm proposing, though. I went to B/N tonight, browsed a shelf in the genre and and wrote down a bunch of publishers. Most are majors who won't look at you without an agent. So I'll spend some more time this weekend looking at different agents. I joined the literarymarketplace site but it seems kind of hard to find things. At least for the free members. I might shell out for a week's subscription.

Re local writers groups, there probably are a few. I'm not real interested, though. Even if they will tell me their agents. lol.
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name - Page 2 EmptyFri May 13, 2011 3:23 pm

Well, I sent an email query to an agent today, and mailed a hard copy query to a publisher. So that makes 2 agent queries and 2 publisher queries total (1 via email, 3 via hardcopies). And that will do me. My experience is that if they're interested, they respond soon. So if I don't hear from anyone soon, I either need to send out a few more or quit. I'm not married to this idea, so quitting won't bother me.

It seems to me that a strategy needs to be set, though. One needs to either query agents or query publishers. Not both. How can you query a publisher, get rejected, then expect an agent to query for you? In fact, one agency even asks on its submission page if you've "queried the whole publishing world."
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Shelagh
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Shelagh

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PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name - Page 2 EmptyFri May 13, 2011 3:43 pm

The bottom line is: if the idea will sell, an agent will buy. Many authors looking for an agent feel that agents are missing out by not offering to represent them. How so? Why would they turn down the opportunity to make money? They cannot stay in business without clients.

Imagine yourself as the agent. If you had contacts with publishers and already represented a number of successful writers, how keen would you be to accept that proposal you have just written? You are not committed to the idea and would not be disappointed if no agent shows any interest. Would you be willing to represent someone who didn't much care one way or another?

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About querying agents by name - Page 2 81KU-cLOw3L._SX110_ About querying agents by name - Page 2 41C9GeFDNWL._SX110_ About querying agents by name - Page 2 41%2BmGkZJdOL._SX110_ About querying agents by name - Page 2 51eDGllZXhL._SX115_ About querying agents by name - Page 2 41y7VHKoszL._SX115_ About querying agents by name - Page 2 51Zs4N4T4eL._SX115_
Amazon Author Central: Shelagh Watkins
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name - Page 2 EmptyFri May 13, 2011 4:05 pm

Quote :
Would you be willing to represent someone who didn't much care one way or another?

Sure, if the idea was good. How would I know how committed the author was to the book, anyhow? I felt the same way about all my other books, Shelagh. If they were picked up, great, if they weren't, I'd have deferred to editorial wisdom and never written them. I abandoned a textbook idea after a talk with a Wiley editor.

Al once posted that some people take computer platforms personally; they argue when one is criticized as though they, themselves are being attacked. I thought that was an excellent observation. I've noticed that with celebrity fans. On fan boards, some go crazy if anyone criticizes their favorite singer or actor. I think many writers react similarly with their work. What is the fear of rejection all about, otherwise?

Anyhow. I prefer hardcopy queries because the sites I've read indicate that they'll at least be answered if you include a SASE. Some sites say they don't even read all their queries (and my impression was they were referring to their email queries). I'd like to know that it was at least read and rejected, not thrown out and rejected.
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Shelagh
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About querying agents by name - Page 2 Empty
PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name - Page 2 EmptyFri May 13, 2011 4:44 pm

Don't you see the contradiction? Why should you care whether they read it or not if you are not committed to the project? You are saying that you want to know that the idea was not worth pursuing. You want the feedback. Being rejected is easier to take if you know that it was not marketable. You don't want to be left in limbo not knowing if it was a good idea or not. It's all about what you want for the time and effort you put into the query.

Again, put yourself in the shoes of the agent. If hundreds of submissions arrive every week, how do you find time to give individual feedback?

_________________
About querying agents by name - Page 2 81KU-cLOw3L._SX110_ About querying agents by name - Page 2 41C9GeFDNWL._SX110_ About querying agents by name - Page 2 41%2BmGkZJdOL._SX110_ About querying agents by name - Page 2 51eDGllZXhL._SX115_ About querying agents by name - Page 2 41y7VHKoszL._SX115_ About querying agents by name - Page 2 51Zs4N4T4eL._SX115_
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name - Page 2 EmptyFri May 13, 2011 5:05 pm

A lack of response IS feedback.

Before launching a product, companies do focus group studies. They assemble potential customers and ask their opinions. The product will live or die based on those opinions. Does that mean they're not committed to the project? No, they're just not committed to a bad idea. The focus group gives feedback on the validity of their idea.

I see nonfiction proposals the same way. Nonfic writers should take advantage of the fact that only a proposal is needed to sell the book. We don't have to commit to a year of writing only to find out that it isn't marketable. Maybe the fiction writers take rejection and criticism so personally because they had to work on it so much longer.
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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name - Page 2 EmptySat May 14, 2011 7:33 am

Here's an idea for a useful service for writers.

CluelessAgents.com
Best seller ... Agents who rejected it or ignored its query
...
...
...
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name - Page 2 EmptySat May 14, 2011 7:44 am

Was there supposed to be a link there?

I'm aware that some famous books were rejected before finding a publisher. I don't see this as an indictment of the agents who rejected them. Most of us have probably let "the big one" get away. I also don't see this as validation that any rejected book is good, because eventually the famous books did find a publisher. If a book is continually rejected and still sitting in a drawer, maybe that's because the drawer is where it belongs.

I'm looking at the few submissions I'm making for this nonfic idea as my focus group. I don't need individual feedback; a rejection alone is enough for me.
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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name - Page 2 EmptySat May 14, 2011 10:13 am

"I'd like to know that it was at least read and rejected, not thrown out and rejected."

Standard rejection letters don't give that assurance. The letter will say that the work has been considered. There is no way of knowing if the query letter was read or not. An employee might have been given instructions to send out rejection slips in SAEs to all incoming mail. During those periods when agencies are no longer taking on new clients, that could very well be company policy. When new openings arise, the employee might be given guidelines that would give some of the incoming queries a chance to be read. When you receive a rejection slip, there is no guarantee that your submission landed on an agent's desk.

Whether this is a fair and just way to run an agency or not is up to the agency itself. Businesses tend to operate in a way that suits them. They accept that opportunities may slip through the net because of the filtering processes they adopt. Changes occur only when a company loses business because of company policy.

_________________
About querying agents by name - Page 2 81KU-cLOw3L._SX110_ About querying agents by name - Page 2 41C9GeFDNWL._SX110_ About querying agents by name - Page 2 41%2BmGkZJdOL._SX110_ About querying agents by name - Page 2 51eDGllZXhL._SX115_ About querying agents by name - Page 2 41y7VHKoszL._SX115_ About querying agents by name - Page 2 51Zs4N4T4eL._SX115_
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name - Page 2 EmptySat May 14, 2011 12:51 pm

Quote :
Standard rejection letters don't give that assurance. The letter will say that the work has been considered. There is no way of knowing if the query letter was read or not.

You're right. But we have no control over this. All we can do is what's in our control. My impression after reading various agent sites is that hard copy queries have a better chance of being read than e-queries. Makes sense, because e-queries, being free and easier to do, are probably fired off in larger, sloppier quantities.
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dkchristi
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PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name - Page 2 EmptySat May 14, 2011 3:30 pm

Tor Forge gave me such a nice rejection letter it almost made rejection positive....
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name - Page 2 EmptyWed May 18, 2011 8:59 pm

Quote :
Tor Forge gave me such a nice rejection letter it almost made rejection positive....

Well, I wish I'd get a rejection letter, nice or not. I just get ignores. When I sent queries for my other books, the interested ones responded fast and the rest didn't respond at all. Based on that, since I haven't gotten a response from the recent queries I've sent, I assume nothing will come at all. I wonder what they do with the stamps on the SASEs. Probably tear them off and use them on their own letters. I bet editors and agents have a whole drawer of torn-off stamps. Perk of the job. Rolling Eyes
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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name - Page 2 EmptyThu May 19, 2011 7:17 am

Some sites advise that because of their current deluge of queries and proposals, they might not get back to you as quickly as you'd like. Don't write them off yet.
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name - Page 2 EmptyThu May 19, 2011 8:30 am

Did you get rejection letters from the agents and publishers you queried or no response?

Even on the very few past proposals I made that didn't go anywhere (many years ago), initial interest was shown very quickly or not at all. For those who are published here, including you, Al, how soon after querying did you get a response from interested parties?
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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name - Page 2 EmptyThu May 19, 2011 10:27 am

LC wrote:
Did you get rejection letters from the agents and publishers you queried or no response?
Both. I sent out about 30 queries. More than half responded. About 15 were rejections, a few said they were interested and that if they did not get back to me, I should assume they were not interested. Some are still pending in that their websites said it could take a year or more to respond. I shan't hold my breath.
LC wrote:
For those who are published here, including you, Al, how soon after querying did you get a response from interested parties?
In over two dozen books, I only sent one query. That was for my first book in the mid-eighties. I sent a manuscript to one publisher who rejected it almost immediately and to a second one who accepted it almost immediately. After that book was published, my proposals were over the telephone. Sometimes I initiated the project and sometimes the publisher did. But that's only because I became a "name" in computer books, and the industry was hungry for computer books. It would be a lot more difficult now. The Internet changed all that. Anything you want to know about computer programming is a google search away.
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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name - Page 2 EmptyThu May 19, 2011 10:31 am

Al Stevens wrote:
That was for my first book in the mid-eighties.
Not my mid-eighties. The mid-1980s.
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PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name - Page 2 EmptyThu May 19, 2011 3:25 pm

Everything you wrote confirms my observation that if they're interested they respond quickly and if they're not, they don't.

I know my queries haven't been out long, but I think I can safely write them off.

Makes me wonder about the need for an SASE. Editors and publishers all ask for one, but if they're interested, they call or email. If they're not, it seems like a lot don't even bother filling it with a rejection form.
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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name - Page 2 EmptyThu May 19, 2011 4:16 pm

LC wrote:
Everything you wrote confirms my observation that if they're interested they respond quickly and if they're not, they don't.
Not quite. Sometimes those not interested respond quickly with a rejection.

I selected only agents and publishers who accept email queries. That might have been a mistake. I might have let that litmus test cause me to overlook the very audience I needed. Sounds like your paper trail didn't yield anything any better, however.

The publishing world changes daily. There is no conventional wisdom because there is no convention and there is no wisdom.
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PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name - Page 2 EmptyThu May 19, 2011 5:11 pm

Quote :
Not quite. Sometimes those not interested respond quickly with a rejection.

I wasn't clear -I meant that the ones who were interested responded fast. The ones who didn't respond immediately didn't respond at all.
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