Pub Rants

In A Positive Light

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STATUS: I’m very upbeat today. I worked on finishing up two contracts and a submission (for a novel I’m super excited about). It just gets the blood flowing.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? SANDY by John Travolta (Grease Soundtrack)

Since I’m in such a good mood, this seems cool to share.

Last night I read 6 sample page requests (out of 45 that I have in my queue—yikes—I’m behind as you can tell).

I sent a personal note with each response though. I could have just sent off our standard reply but I didn’t. So it happens and I’m really making an effort to include something personal—even with sample pages.

I also read 180 queries on Sunday night. Several of which weren’t addressed to me. That was an accident on the sender’s part but I’ll tell you right now that I chuckled, realized everyone is human and mistakes happen, and just read the query like it was addressed to me. Several were NOs but one did catch my interest so I asked for sample pages despite the addressing snafu.

And here are some kudos to Sara. I know that she doesn’t immediately nix a query if a writer has sent more than what we have asked for and when we receive queries for a genre we don’t represent, Sara usually just replies mentioning so instead of sending the “standard” letter.

Also, and I know this because I’ve seen the return replies, Sara will give writers a second chance if they attach their query letter to an email instead of sending it in the body of the email. She just asks them to resend instructing them to cut and paste it into the email itself.

That seems to me that we are going above and beyond… and please, if you have received no response from us on a query or on sample pages, please email us again to ask about the status. We do respond to everything but that doesn’t mean every email actually goes through.

And as last resort, occasionally writers will call to follow up and Sara is always pleasant and helpful.

So hopefully that lifts your mood a bit too.

38 Responses

  1. Anonymous said:

    What a nice literary agent and agency you are! It makes me want to submit the nicely polished novel I just finished editing to you knowing that you will treat it and me with respect…
    May it all come back to you.

  2. Just_Me said:

    It’s nice that you take the time to read the queries even when people goof. We all make mistakes and it takes a mature and kind person to forgive mistakes in others. Kudos.

    Good luck with your slush pile 🙂

  3. Anonymous said:

    Read Private Arrangements last night. So wanted to tell you how much I liked it. Sherry Thomas is a very good writer. Will definitely buy her next book. I really want this book to be made into a movie. Oh how I wish you become my agent too. She had so many good words for you and Sara in the acknowledgment section.

    Since some anon has written really bad comments, i almost had an afterthought to not post mine here. but i really want to write about PA, so here it is.

    – K

  4. Eileen said:

    I’ve got an agent so need to kiss up. However, I appreciate everyone in this business who gives of their time to offer advice. If you don’t like someone’s opinion, the beauty of it is you can ignore it- as I will the foul comments.

  5. Mary Paddock said:

    Egad. This is why I keep my blog set to publish upon approval only.

    Kristin, you’ve got my e-query somewhere in yours or Sara’s in-box. Regardless of your response I appreciate your attempt to treat writers like individuals as opposed to cattle with opposable thumbs.

  6. S R Wood said:

    Wow. How unfortunate.

    Kristin and Sara, please carry on. We all, writers and readers alike, need your professionalism and — yes — judgement. It’s a great wild rich vibrant explosively interesting world out there; our variety of reading choices reflects that. (After Shakespeare:) the book is the thing.

  7. Wes said:

    I wish you the best with your agency. Your willingness to send a brief note to point out how a submission doesn’t make the grade will help many writers, and most will appreciate it. For those who don’t, they are the losers, and blow them off.

  8. George Peabody said:

    My goodness, did one of the potty-mouths go a bit off the chain?

    I have a question concerning the division of work in your office: does your assistant filter the queries that you look over at night, so you look at a smaller percentage? In theory, that would mean that the first person a writer is wooing with a query would be the assistant, followed by the agent. Does the assistant have to develop an eye for things the agent would like, or do they go for things that have that Everyman appeal?

  9. Donna said:

    I want to say thank you. Even though writers know on an intellectual/professional level that this is an incredibly subjective business, it’s hard not to experience bewilderment and doubt when receiving form letters. We know how busy you are, and we’re aware of the incredible volume of queries you handle, so a kind word about our efforts makes such a huge impact. Thanks again.

  10. LizR said:

    I was going to comment when you posted this that I think it’s great how personal your agency is, but I’m glad I waited, because I got my email yesterday about my partial.

    Just those few sentences telling me why you passed were fantastically useful. It’s so nice to be told whether it’s the writing, the characters, the premise, etc.

    The confidence boost was nice, too :).

    Thanks so much!


  11. Anonymous said:

    Well I hate to be snarky, and I’m not trying to. This is a tough business, and I do it because I love it. That being said, it’s very disheartening when it’s mentioned that you comment on every rejection- even queries. I very recently had a partial rejected, that while was addressed to my name, was very definitely a standard letter. I’m not saying that’s bad- I’m just saying it’s depressing to think I was the only one out of the hundreds you receive that no words of “what’s wrong with this” could be given.
    Just wanted to pass it on.