STATUS: The morning was devoted to following up on contracts in process but I did, oddly enough, get to do some editing on client work this afternoon. That’s pretty rare for me to accomplish that while at the office.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? ASK THE LONELY by Journey
As most of you know, agents don’t take phone queries. We simply don’t have enough time in the day to take 5 minutes and listen to a pitch for every writer who wanted to call.
Just thinking about that makes me shiver.
So when is it okay to call an agent? Well, the list is pretty short so I’ll be able to sum it up quickly.
1. You are a previously published author with a great track record that’s looking for new representation. Agents will be happy to take your call.
2. You have an offer on the table from a respectable publisher with real money involved (a least a couple thousand dollars) and you are looking for an agent to negotiate the deal. Agents are happy to discuss this possibility via phone.
3. You have been personally referred by a current client and would like to request permission to send sample pages. (Actually I’d still prefer an email first but it would be okay if you called.)
4. You have a full manuscript request from me and it’s been more than 2 months and you are simply following up on the status. (Once again, I prefer you email but I think it’s professional and reasonable to call and follow up.)
I love technology but it can go astray. I’ve only had this happen once (knock on wood) but I was mortified when I realized what had occurred. I read a full manuscript, sent a lovely letter by email mentioning that I was passing with regret, and the writer never received it. (I can’t remember if it got spam blocked or if the writer had changed email addresses or what). This person ended up emailing the agency months later with a request for the status. I keep all letters sent so it was easy to email it again but I felt terrible that the writer had waited all that time to hear the news. And then to get bad news…
That’s pretty much it.
When folks do call, Sara handles it. For the occasional times I’ve answered the phone, I’m very nice but I simply direct the caller to our website and the submission guidelines listed there.