STATUS: Not so lovely. Email is currently down. How did agents do this job before the internet, email, and FedEx? I’m lost in the dark. Without email, I’m nothing. I’m, I’m, I’m being way melodramatic. Still, frustrating. Blogspot is working though.
What song is playing on the iPod right now? THRILLER by Michael Jackson (appropriate ain’t it?)
The editor name dropping actually doesn’t bother me that much—but it all depends on how the writer handles it in the query letter.
Often writers will include the information that their manuscript has been requested by Ms. Hot Shot Editor at Hot Shot Publishing House. (This tends to happen more in the romance and the SF & F genres because these editors will often still consider unsolicited material and will look at queries. They also attend more conferences etc. because good material is hard to find and not a ton of agents rep it.)
Okay. You’ve name dropped the editor’s name.
My question is this: Why are you telling me this information? There are actually two intentions you could have.
Intention 1: You’re feeling pretty proud of the fact that you got a full manuscript request from an editor and you are hoping it will be impressive if you start your query letter with that information.
First, I’m thrilled for you that this editor requested your full. I’m positive it feels like a big milestone on the road to publishing. You should be proud. It’s a great first step.
But here’s my view. I know Ms. Hot Editor personally. I know she requests a lot of fulls when she attends conferences and such. She’s actively building her list. She may or may not actually be the person to read it. Her assistant or an outside reader might do the first read. She takes over a year to respond to these requests. She… and the list could go on.
If the intention is to impress, I’m not that impressed.
Intention 2: You are simply providing me with all the information about the current status of your manuscript.
I actually like that.
Now, I can always tell the difference between the intention by how this information is presented and where it goes in the query letter.
If Intention 1, it’s always in the beginning and the tone is off.
If Intention 2, the info is always part of the concluding paragraph and stated matter-of-factly (as in “The manuscript is also currently being reviewed by Ms. Hot Shot Editor at Hot Shot Publishing House).
No frills. Just the facts Ma’am.