Monday, February 21, 2011


I've spent much of this President's Day reading queries and organizing the emailed partials and manuscripts I've requested. Later in this post I'm going to sound like that old, cranky English teacher you had in high school. You remember--the one who insisted that you write your term paper in a conventional style and that you number the pages and write your name clearly. But for now, in the interest of transparency, I must confess some organizational sins of my own.

I asked for the same manuscript--twice. That's the trouble with electronic submissions. If you're not very organized, you can get in trouble. I have a new system in place which should prevent these kinds of mistakes.
I know I've done the same thing with rejections. How awful to get rejected once and then get rejected again. So sorry.
My current problem is that I'm loving a manuscript I requested, but the author did not put her contact info anywhere. It's not on the manuscript, her bio or the synopsis. I no longer have the original query. No way for me to contact her unless she reads this blog. Lisa T--email me?
Please remind yourself to identify everything you send to agents. Write your name, address, phone number and email address on each item. Use a running head on each page of your manuscript with your name and title of your book. Simple to do and it could mean a lot.
And, yes, a super-organized agent would never lose a contact. In a perfect world, all agents would be perfect secretaries. Trouble is, sometimes we're just not as together as we should be.
Oh, the photo above. It's just for fun--the first of the three amaryllis bulbs we received for Christmas from our daughter-in-law, Phaedra. They are all in bloom now and they make winter easier to bear.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Here's one for the "You Can't Please Everyone" files. This email came in tonight:

i send in my query with a SASE, and the best you can do is scribble a rejection on the bottom of my own query letter and send it back to me? that's not just rude, it's unprofessional; a professional would have had the courtesy to reject my query with a form letter. wassamatta- is your printer broken? unpublished writers don't merit simple human decency?

and you people are supposed to be in charge of public relations? shame on you.

This missive annoys me for several reasons:
  1. It's Jon who "scribbles" on snail mail queries. He does it because he thinks it's more personal than a form letter. This person sent the email to me--I'm innocent here. I scribble my rejections via email and don't even deal with snail mail!
  2. Authors tell us time and again how happy they are to find an agent who will respond to a query in ANY fashion. Many agents simply tell authors that if they don't hear back, consider it a rejection. I've been tempted to do that but Jon thinks it's tacky (and not very professional) not to respond.
  3. I'm annoyed by the tone and attitude of this email. Somehow this author thinks we don't respond with "simple human decency"--pul-eeze! Human we are and we really bend over backwards to be decent!

OK, I think I'm done now. Just needed to rant and while the author certainly merited "simple human decency," I didn't think that email merited a personal response.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


This winter has been one for the books. Up until a few days ago our sidewalk sported an ice wall on each side, compliments of a Pennsylvania 1-2 punch--snow, then freezing rain with resulting ice moguls everywhere. It's enough to make you use a steak knife on your partner. That's what a local lady did, according to our newspaper. She asked her boyfriend for a cigarette and when he said, "Get your own!" she stabbed him with a handy steak knife. Her excuse was the weather and that I can understand.

But, I digress. Today it's over 40 and ice is melting everywhere. Tomorrow it will be even warmer and I'm feeling pretty chipper.

But, let me apologize to all of you who are waiting for Jon and me to get back to you about your queries, partials and manuscripts. We are making progress, but we're still behind. Your patience is much appreciated. Why are we so behind? Is it the weather?

Can't use that as an excuse. It's simply that there are so many good writers out there and we're doing our best to sift through their work and to select those projects we think we might be able to sell.

The glaciers are melting, spring is forthcoming and we continue to work through the backlog.