Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Another morning of query responses. I'm continually amazed by the number of queries you all send us--some great, some so-so, some just not for us, some awful. Each week we ask a few of you to send us more. But, most of these queries are rejected--a sad fact of this business. As I've written before on this blog, we've developed a pretty standard rejection email which states that the query simply does "not meet the needs of our agency." A few days ago a rejected author asked, "Why isn't it right for your agency?" I didn't answer his question because I simply can't get into that kind of dialogue.

But I can address questions like that here. So, without further ado, here are a few reasons your project is not right for our agency:
  • We don't represent the genre--If it's a memoir (unless you're Hillary Clinton or Madonna), a business book, Christian fiction, or deals with child or animal abuse, it's not for us.
  • The query is badly written--Face it, if you can't write a good query, you probably can't write a good book.
  • I'm bored after the first two sentences--Nuff said.
  • You've told me much too much in the first paragraph--Please, please, please, don't tell me about your husband, wife, children, education, parents, job, etc. I DON'T CARE! (at this point). Later on, when we're working together, I'll care--a lot.
  • You've sent us attached material. We don't open unsolicited attachments.

I could go on and on--in fact I think I have gone on and on at some point!

But let me close with the "Pip of the Day." An author asked in his query if I was the right agent for his work and if not, if I could please recommend other agents who would be better for him.

Hello? That's not our job. Get thee to a bookstore and buy a copy of Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, & Literary Agents, The 2009 edition should be available soon.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Busy time here at the agency. I wish we had more hours in the day!

Today, though, I have another question for you. It concerns the New England Book Festival. Have any of you heard of it? Have any of you published authors won the New England Book Festival award?

I ask because we regularly get notices from the JM Northern Media family of festivals encouraging us to enter our clients' books (at $50 a pop) for award consideration. In addition to the New England Book Festival, JM Northen Media sponsors the DIY Convention, Do It Yourself in Film, Music & Books, New York Book Festival and Hollywood Book Festival. They are sponsored by The Larimar St. Croix Writers Colony, The Hollywood Creative Directory, eDiffy, Shopanista and Westside Websites.

I Googled "The Larimar St. Croix Writers Colony" and was immediately bounced back to JM Northern Media. Hmmm. Now, I'm not saying this isn't on the level. I'm just asking: Which books have won awards? What wonderful things happened to winning authors? How significant are these awards? AND MOST IMPORTANT--Who the heck is JM Northern Media? Just curious.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Three weeks ago Jon requested a manuscript from a promising writer. It arrived, was logged in and Jon looked forward to reading it in the near future.

This morning the "promising writer" emailed Jon to tell him the manuscript had been snapped up by another agent and that he (the author) was now under contract with that agent. Actually he said, and I quote, "Please be advised that I have accepted representation with a respected literary agency in NYC."

"Rats!" said Jon. (Well, perhaps not "rats" exactly, maybe it was a longer and much dirtier word.) "We missed a hot one," he grumbled. Then he wrote "promising author" a congratulatory email.

Miss a hot one we probably did, but kudos to "promising writer" for letting us know that he was in a serious relationship with another. Please, all you other promising writers, heed this writer's example. If you are fortunate enough to land an agent, tell all the other agents who are in the process of falling in love with you that your heart belongs to another. It's the right thing to do, even if it makes us sad.