Pub Rants

A Very Nice Literary Agent Indulges in Polite Rants About Queries, Writers, and the Publishing Industry

Don’t Cry Wolf With "An Offer Of Representation" In Subject Line

STATUS: A have slight cold so not feeling 100 percent today.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? MOONDANCE by Liz Longely

When a writer emails us to say they have an offer on the table, for the most part, we do read the pages right away. After reading some of these submissions, and I feel awful admitting this, but I think the offer is a little suspect. Sometimes the pages just aren’t strong enough for me to believe that an agent has offered. That it was simply a ploy for a fast response.

Luckily, for the most part, I do believe the writer as I can see it. The work might still not be right for me but it’s strong enough that the offer is probably real.

Today takes the cake though. We received an email with “offer of representation” in the subject line. Upon reading the email, the writer revealed that he had had this offer in a biblical vision.

Yep. This one would definitely get the WTF stamp.


44 Responses

  1. Rick said:

    Unfortunately, Elijah won’t be able to actually SELL the book until he returns to Earth to help usher in the Messianic age, by which point all print publishers will be dead.

    I know, because Joe Konrath told me so.

    *removes tongue from cheek*

  2. Natalie Aguirre said:

    Too bad people waster your time like that. I am glad you read more seriously when you get those type of e-mails. Because I’d definitely want to send you an e-mail like that if someone else ever offered me representation.

  3. Colin Smith said:

    I don’t doubt what you say for one minute, Krisin. However, haven’t we all read at least a couple of books that have left us shaking our heads saying, “A literary agent actually thought this was good??!”?

  4. DeadlyAccurate said:

    I just checked the last two books I queried you on. One, the response came in one day. Another, the response took three. You guys are some of the fastest responders in the business. How much faster do these people want to hear back from you?!

  5. Elissa M said:

    With family, friends, and acquaintances, I’m constantly fighting the stereotype that artists and writers are insane and/or alcoholic. I think I’ll stop fighting now…

  6. Maggie said:

    We had somebody stop by IN PERSON to check the status of his submission. Which he had sent about an hour before.

  7. Kristi Helvig said:

    I have to point out what an amazing compliment it is to you that despite an offer from “above,” the person turned it down to pursue your agency. 😉

  8. Nancy Thompson said:

    Actually, this ploy was recommended by a young, recently-signed debut author on her blog. This writer was answering questions from her followers as to how to make sure their submissions were taken seriously & therefore read by agents.

  9. Emily said:

    I sort of half wondered if people really did that. I guess I got my answer. Yes, people are that unethical.

  10. Leiann Bynum said:

    I was wondering if anyone had done that before too (I would never risk it). Since some agents take months to respond to partial and full manuscript requests, this ploy might actually work. It would be dumb to do it after an initial query though.

  11. Mark Fenger said:

    Really though, who hasn’t been tempted to do this?

    Not the God part I mean, but to claim an offer in order to get things moving. I never did in my agent search, but it was really tempting sometimes.

    At least in my case it was for the most noble of reasons. I knew my manuscript was the best thing since oral sex and all an agent had to do was read it all the way through to fall in love, find an awesome publisher and we’d need to buy a riding mower to rake in all the money.

    Of course, now I know better. But a guy can dream can’t he?

  12. omar said:

    I still have not started a search for an agent. But that seems really low. I know some people are delusional but that really takes the cake.
    I would like to share this on my blog for ebook writers I have. This is something That I think needs to be shared in order to deter this from happening but more important I think we should at least try and keep civil so as agents can take us a bit more seriously. Please let me know either on my blogg or by email.
    Blogg : http://omar-ebooks4all.blogspot.com/
    My email: Kalamadea1234@gmail.com

  13. Bonnie said:

    A biblical vision? What does that even mean. He hallucinated Jesus and Moses talking about his contract? He flipped open the bible and specific letters glowed spelling out your name? Does he have other kinds of visions? Zoological visions where zebras and kangaroos debate whether he should be released in hardcover or paperback or go straight to ebook?

    Bonnie Ferrante

Denver Skyline Photo © Nathan Forget [Creative Commons] | Site built by Todd Jackson