Pub Rants

Unrequested and Unwanted

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STATUS: Grumpy! First day back in the office after being gone a week is always terrible.

What song is playing on the iPod right now? IT’S TOO LATE by Carol King

Honestly, I don’t think my black mood would have descended if it weren’t for the mail. As y’all know, I’ve been interviewing a new assistant and plan to have that person in place by next week (OMG I cannot wait).

So guess who has to open up a week’s worth of mail? Yep, yours truly. It was creating too big a pile that needed to be handled so I tackled that first thing this morning.

First, there were 10 snail mail queries. Why? I clearly state on my website to query by email only. Even if you look in the Jeff Herman guide, it says that. Where do they come from?

Then, and I had to roll my eyes (because I’m grumpy), someone sent me a full manuscript. In the mail. Hundreds of pages.

Now y’all know that if I’m interested in looking at a full, I’m delightful and I actually have that person send it to me electronically so I can read and make comments right into my tablet PC.

So, I really do know when I’ve requested a full. It’s easy to keep track of because it’s in my requested manuscripts queue folder on my computer.

The temptation was to simply write NO on the cover letter and return it today. I didn’t though. I was nice. I simply extracted 30 pages from the full to put into the partial inbox.

Which reminds me, I’ve been getting lots of unrequested partials as of late. Please don’t. We really do ask for a query by email first. If we want to see it, we’ll ask for 30 pages and send you an email on how to send us those sample pages.

Right now, my reader will give a quick look to the cover letter. Most of the time, it’s not right for us so we don’t read the sample pages. I’m just trying to save you the postage.

Not to mention, if we start getting overwhelmed by this trend, we’ll just have to recycle them without answering. I’d rather do anything but that so please, follow my submission guidelines.

Okay, now that’s off my chest, I can stop being grumpy!

26 Responses

  1. Anonymous said:

    You ARE too nice. You should have just written NO on the cover letter and sent it back.

    But you took the first 30 pages as a partial, and now everyone will ignore everything you just said about “please don’t….”

    Okay, enough criticism. I love reading your blog, and I like that you are a nice agent. 🙂

  2. farrout said:

    I agree with anonymous. You just gave a whole bunch of writers wiggle room. “Hmmmmm, she rejected my query, but MAYBE she’ll look at my manuscript!”

  3. reprehn said:

    I’m excited about the PPWC this weekend — looking forward to at least saying ‘hi’. I hope it’s an enjoyable time for you too 🙂
    Hope your grumpiness isn’t because of too many conferences (though mine would be, I think, in your position).

  4. Agent Kristin said:

    Not exactly. I said I pulled the first 30 pages to stick in the partial in box. The rest of the manuscript got recycled.

    My reader will glance at the cover letter. Not right for us, the pages won’t get read because we didn’t request them. So–no different treatment than anything else that comes unrequested.

    If I start getting full manuscripts in the mail, I’m just going to recycle them.

    Send at your peril. I was simply giving everyone fair warning.
    : )

  5. Bernita said:

    Seems the opposite happens to agents who request only mail queries – they get cluttered with e-mail queries.
    We’re a gormless lot, at times.

  6. Anonymous said:

    I sent a requested partial back in mid-March and am wondering when I can expect an answer, especially when unrequested mss are clogging the pipeline.

  7. PRNewland said:

    gormless? lol…

    Dunno what that means, but if its synonymous with “dense” and/or “clueless” or “heedless” I’ll have to agree with you 😛

    I don’t get it… why would anyone send an equery to those that don’t want em and snail mail to those that prefer email?

    Relevant cliche: never get a second chance to make a first impression.

    I personally have a very short list of e-accessible agents and I will query all of them before I ever start cranking out queries to the ones that require snail mail inquiries on bonded paper in real envelopes. Sheesh…

  8. MTV said:

    I have to speak up here. WHAT is so complicated about following directions – especially since they are for YOUR benefit! Like what is so complicated? Oh… I just know if agent Kristin read my mss – she would love it – hey – guys and gals – try this – learn to write a powerful query that REALLY expresses a)Your writing ability AND b) actually fully, powerfully, irresistibly describes your work in the genre’s that Kristin sells. I assure you – it will get immediate attention. QUIT blaming others for your failures – it’s not the agent’s responsibility to give you the benefit of the doubt. It’s YOUR responsibility to convey a low risk situation to the agent. Kristin truly wants to be as successful as you want to be. You just need to convince her that YOU are part of her success!!!

    And here’s another suggestion:
    If marketing your hard work is too difficult then stay with your daytime job – please… from my perspective this business is about striking the right chord in the right place … endeavor to find the right place continually and always strike the right chord – even the wrong chord in the right place can get results – those people who do that are called lucky – I submit to you it has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with synchronicity – and perseverance – learn to recognize and create synchronicity in your life.

    The gift to agents is less heartburn and the gift to the planet is conservation of trees!!

  9. Eileen said:

    If you are feeling nasty google “peep reasearch” it will take you to website that will show all the evil things you can do to marshmallow peeps. Destruction of Easter treats might make it better. You can even pin tiny manuscript names on them if it helps.

  10. Anonymous said:

    Ok, if that’s you grumpy, I’m a total monster.

    Hope things get better for you soon!

  11. down_not_out said:

    Sounds like an “I hate people day” to me. I’ve pasted my usual “I hate people day” rant– my favorite bad day rant– below. Feel free to use it in your time of need.

    (note: it’s important to wave your hands around for emphasis fizzles and also because, otherwise, people assume you’re serious.)

    “I hate people. Not a group of people. Not some people. All people. All people are irritating the shit out of me today. They insist on doing things like talking and asking questions and breathing out loud. People suck. All people should have stayed home today. Now… git. Go away and leave me alone.

    O.K. So, I was having a “I hate people” kind of day. It’s passed and I am back to only hating idiots.”

    Let me know how it works out for you.

    Tomorrow will be better. Tuesdays usually are.

  12. Shelli Stevens said:

    Ick! I’m sorry you got an unsolicitated full. I don’t envy your job when I hear about that kind of thing 🙂

    Good luck with the interview, hope it works out!

  13. Camilla said:

    So a really good, tight query letter should be worked upon? I’ve read so many articles on cover letters, but if, in this age of electronic submissions, the query letter (as opposed to the cover letter/partial/synopsis route of old) can make or break whether a partial is requested, what is the new format for it? Should it read like a back cover blurb(with all of the “action” words that leap out at readers [in historicals, words like “rake” or “scoundrel”,etc]) or shorter and more straight-to-the-point?

  14. Anonymous said:

    For Camilla,

    This is my first comment, although I’ve been reading (and enjoying, and learing from) Kristin’s blog for some time now.

    As for the query letter format, Kristin (and a host of other agents) have spelled out exactly what she likes to see. She even uses a real life example of a query to her that led to representation, then publication, of one of her clients.

    It’s all on her Website. Look around.

  15. Anonymous said:

    I dunno I think that you are going to get a whole bunch of people sending you stuff because you mentioned this story – they will have switched off before you got to sending all stuff to the recycling. A lightbulb will have appeared over their little heads – ooh a way to get in.

    You should just have said that you burn all unsolicited manuscripts, partial etc.

    I like that you are nice but I don’t think you should admit to being nice in this instance. Give some people an inch and they’ll take a mile.

  16. just Joan said:

    *sigh* Was it a male that sent the full MS? You know, males do have trouble with instructions/directions. 🙂

    Now all you men out there, don’t go sending me hate mail, you know I’m right! Admitting it is the first step to recovery. 🙂

    Good luck with the assistant!

  17. Catja (green_knight) said:

    what do you think of Miss Snark’s advice to stick the first five pages into a query letter?

    Ok? Annoyance? Don’t-darken-my-door-again offense?

    And I agree with others on that ‘partial’ – you’re too nice. Yay! for the new assistant.

  18. Anonymous said:

    The first name of the lady who recorded “It’s Too Late” is correctly spelled “Carole.”