Pub Rants

Two And A Half Years Out Of Date

 28 Comments |  Share This:    

STATUS: You guys know the drill. First day back in the office after being away for a week means I’m just trying to take care of emails. 280 to be exact.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? THRILL ME by Simply Red

Sometimes the behavior of aspiring writers looking for agents is incomprehensible to me.

In January 2007, we moved our office to the historic SH Supply Building on Wazee Street in the heart of Lower Downtown Denver. We are literally 3 blocks from Coors field.

This was two and a half years ago.

Yesterday I received a package that had been forwarded to us from our old address. Not only that, it was a full manuscript (which we don’t accept unless requested and when requested we have it delivered electronically). And it was sent from Korea by certified mail.

What a colossal waste of time, paper, and money is pretty much all I could think.

Actually, it’s amazing we got this package as very little gets forwarded from an address that’s 2 1/2 years old.

But really? You were interested enough in our agency to keep our original info on file but then didn’t take the time to verify that everything was up-to-date by checking out our website (a url that has never changed over the years)?


28 Responses

  1. Anonymous said:

    I have to admit I feel a little sorry for the full manuscript sender. It may be that because the writer is in Korea, s/he did not have access to the internet or lives in an area without convenient internet access (easy to happen if s/he is in rural Korea). S/he may just have an old copy of an agent listing book to go off of, so hence the old address….just trying to make sense of it.

  2. Stephanie Faris said:

    I’m wondering if the author wasn’t using an outdated book of literary agents or something? Still, who doesn’t cross-check the website’s contact information and submission procedures?

  3. Anonymous said:

    Just out of curiosity, did you check the date of the post-script? Has anything in the package been dated by the author?

    The reason I ask is because one of my local post office workers recently told me about how much mail they ‘temporarily’ misplace. It’d be an interesting story if the author sent the manuscript a couple decades ago or something.

  4. Stephen said:

    Hopefully certified mail would travel quicker. I have received a letter from overseas that took over a year to arrive, though it was ordinary mail.

    I suspect the real reason was an address from some old listing, though.

  5. DebraLSchubert said:

    Will wonders never cease! I’m sensing a great mystery here.

    “The package came from Korea, but the postmark was dated more than four years earlier. If that wasn’t strange enough, when I opened the worn brown paper, I couldn’t believe what I saw…”

  6. Anonymous said:

    You caught the attention of a writer from the other side of the world! Awesome! You should be pleased. Yet you sound annoyed that in their attempt to connect with you they got your information incorrect. You made your aggravation clear to a wide audience. That seems really harsh to me.

    You didn’t say which Korea the ms came from. Having spent time in South Korea, I know that internet access is difficult in most parts of the country and keeping up to date with an agent’s website, as important as it is, could be extremely difficult. It may not have just been that the writer “didn’t take the time to verify that everything was up-to-date by checking out our website.” Keeping up to date may not have been possible for that person at that time.

    And in North Korea, well, I’d be surprised if a manuscript made it through at all.

  7. Michelle said:

    Anon 10:53: I sincerely doubt it came from NK. And SK is pretty wired; Seoul is the most wired city on Earth, actually, and even the outlying cities have decent wi-fi.

    (I’ve been in Korea for almost a year now. I live outside of Seoul, with plenty of free wi-fi access. And lord no, it wasn’t me that sent the manuscript!!) 🙂

  8. Anonymous said:

    If Kristin really is the “Nice” person she claims to be, she will get in contact with the author. He/she has been waiting 2 years after all.
    Here is hoping she does the nice thing.

  9. Terri said:

    I’m not surprised at all.

    We have a mail order business and do a fair amount of international shipping. I sent a package to Singapore, no big deal, do it all the time. Never heard from the customer, assumed all was well.

    Eight months later, I came home to find a battered package on my doorstep. It was the Singapore package returned to me as ‘undeliverable.’ It had more stickers and stamps on it than my passports, it had been routed all over Asia.

    Sigh . . . my merchandise had a better vacation than me.

  10. David Kearns said:

    right, was it a good manuscipt? For all we know the world is missing a great read for lack of protocol. For all we know, this person risked his/her life, the lives of his children to escape north Korea with just the hope in his heart for his story to be heard. Oh cruel, cruel irony: there the manuscript sits in a prison camp of another sort, the slush pile, the capricious rejection note being sent as we speak. Gotta love this business

  11. Anonymous said:

    Gee, I’m glad you’re not my agent! Don’t you rely on writers’ so that you can pay your bills? I wouldn’t hire you knowing that you try to make an author look stupid and a laughing stock on the internet.

  12. Anna Claire said:

    uh, anon 2:01? wow. just wow. good to know you’re able to choose which agent you “hire.”

    I thought it was a cool story. And am totally curious what the writing is like.

  13. Anonymous said:

    Anna Claire- You do have a choice in what agent you work with. Writers should not think they have to take what ever rubbish an agent throws at them. I too would not query Kristin. There are loads of agents, some who really are “Nice”.

  14. Sarah Laurenson said:

    Anon 4:11 – Then why are you here? Go and play on a “nice” agent’s blog. I doubt Kristin needs you to be her conscience.

    Not sure I want a “nice” namby-pamby agent. I’d like one that’s just a touch ruthless, especially when it comes to negotiating my contract with a publisher.

  15. raballard said:

    Two and a half years is a long time to be stuck in our fine, word used loosely, mail system. However I would expect nothing less from the government insitution that gave us our beloved snail mail.

    It also makes me wonder what the poor Korean writer was going through. I get impatient if an agent doesn’t reply after sixteen weeks.

  16. Lucy said:

    Hmnn, I wonder if I want to step in this….

    I’m seeing a few comments that give the impression that the manuscript was stuck in the mail for over two years. The original blog post merely stated that the address to which the manuscript was SENT is about that long out of date. Not the same thing at all. Unless Kristin wants to indulge this discussion and tell us when it was postmarked, we can as well assume that it was mailed recently, but to a long defunct address. Sort of like when you go to catch up with a relative who has moved twice since you last spoke to them.

    I could easily believe that the writer may not have easy access to the Internet. However, there are some people who are politely making note of this fact, and others who are using it for an excuse to be disrespectful. The latter is not attractive, and does little to support any argument.

  17. Bryan said:

    Anon, have cohonas if you want to call Kristin out. The story or post was well written and funny, but someone, no matter what the story, always takes offense. “The guilty always speak the loudest.” Does that ring a bell with you for some reason?

  18. Nikki said:

    I just discovered your blog, and have been browsing through the old entries. I’m an editorial assistant in a publishing company, and the behavior of writers looking to be published is incomprehensible to me, too! I’ve gotten horrendous insults directed at me, just because these writers didn’t take the time to look at our guidelines to see that we don’t take any unagented manuscripts. Way to not burn bridges, right?

    I’ve received huge packages, many from all over the world, sometimes costing $30 or $40, that I’ve had to send a form rejection to. The guidelines are online, people–read them.

    Then again, I’ve gotten a few letters that said, “I’ve read your guidelines but I’m ignoring them because…”