Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I often whine and boast about our dealings with authors and queries, partials and manuscripts. I seldom discuss "the other side" of our job as agents, our outreach and business with editors at publishing houses.

If you're fond of analogies, I guess you could say that agents are to editors as authors are to agents. In other words, if you are an author wooing a literary agent you want to play by the rules, you want to put your best foot forward, you don't want to goof up by sending a sci-fi query to an agent who hates that genre. In short, you polish your shoes, iron your shirt, brush your teeth and put on lots of hair goo before you query an agent.

We're in the same boat when we pitch an editor. We normally call editors we've never met to discuss a project we think will be of interest. Sometimes we talk to the editor; sometimes we talk to the editor's assistant. It makes us nervous. We plan carefully before we make these calls. Our hands sweat and we take a deep breath before we dial the number. We don't want to waste their time or pitch a book that is not of interest. We brush, floss and sit up straight and usually the editors are very nice and tell us to send our projects in. We feel very good after these calls. (It's even more nerve-wracking when we meet editors in person for the first time.)

But, maybe we can increase our outreach. That's why I'm writing today. This blog has always been dedicated to authors. We write it to keep you informed about our business and to make sure you know just what we are looking for. You seem to appreciate this information and your comments and suggestions are much appreciated.

As you know if you read this blog, I am now Twittering and find that publishers are beginning to follow my Tweets. I hope they will follow me back to the blog. I'm thinking of writing about the books our agency is trying to sell to editors, reporting on what we're working on and how we're approaching publishers.

Here's the big question: Would you, the authors who read this blog, find this information interesting? Or would you feel I'm straying from the basics of author-agent relationships? Let me know what you think?



H. L. Dyer said...

I think the "other side" of agenting is plenty relevant to author-readers, and I, for one, would be interested in hearing more about that part of your work.

DebraLSchubert said...

It's all an education - the more the merrier! It's fascinating to hear what you crazy (I mean wonderful, perfect, astute) agents go through in order to get we brilliant (I mean, whiny, annoying, needy) writers published.

In all seriousness, if it's important and interesting to you, it's more than likely important and interesting to us.;-)

Sandy said...

I agree with Heather. I'd love to get more of the agent-editor side of the story.

Anonymous said...

I think it's a great idea, especially writing about what you're trying to sell because you never know what publisher might be reading your blog and love the concept. Additionally, we writers can get a better idea of your side of the business. A good team is one where the members understand one another.

James Fell

Chuck Dilmore said...

I also vote: We Would Love This!

Widening our sphere is a good thing.
Thank you for this!


Valerie B. Winkler said...

I too would be very interested in a peek into the other side of the agent's work - how you go about selling a book, and what kinds of work are getting publishers' interest.