A writer who loves fantasy, avoids reality, and who knows the value of hanging a death skull outside my door to ward off uninvited visitors.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Agent pet peeves, from the author's side of the fence, PART 1

Okay so, this is going to be a short blog series on literary agents.

Agents. You gotta love em'. They work hard for their clients, they're dedicated, and if you're lucky enough to find the right one, the relationship can be life-long and prosperous. Hopefully not in the Vulcan sense, but more in the cuddly and oh-so-friendly, "I love my agent, and my agent loves me," sense.

That said, this author has a few pet peeves regarding agents, which I have little doubt most authors seeking an agent share to the core. So, let's get started, shall we?

THOSE AGENTS WHO DON'T REPLY: I understand why agents can't respond to all queries. I truly get it. They're busy with their own clients as it is; and what self-respecting author would want their agent more vested in acquiring new clients, than working with the ones they already have. What I don't get is why so many don't take a moment of their time to add a tiny bit of much-needed information to their websites about how long we should wait before realizing agents we've queried (who fall into this no-reply pit) are not interested. I mean, come on. Really? If I were an agent, I would return the respect I ask for. The easiest way to do this is to simply add the following bit of disclosure to the submission guidelines: Unfortunately, do to the volume of submissions we receive, it is not possible to reply to all queries. Therefore, if you have not heard back from us within (so and so) weeks, please assume we are passing on the project.

Now how hard was that? I'm not an agent, and I did it in, what...five seconds?

Ah, but you see, this only works if agents actually take it one teensy step further, by setting up an automated response to acknowledge that queries have been received on their end. Truly, one is useless without the other. If the website claims no response after a certain period of time, then what good does it do us if we don't even know for sure that our emailed submission was ever received? You know, there is this occurrence called "LOST IN TRANSIT". You see, with all the spam filters we're forced to activate to keep out those unscrupulous spiders who prey on our inboxes like savage soul-sucking vampires, when dealing with email, things sometimes get tossed around like unwitting passengers on a chicken-bus riding along on a dirt path-like road in some third-world country that has yet to discover the benefits of gravel.

So, for any agents who might come upon this blog, please, consider the amount of time and hope that goes into researching you and your fellow agents in order to weed out the one that will hopefully find our novels good and loving homes. Consider it from this side of the fence, where we, authors with aspirations of seeing our work out there, stand with our faces pressed to the proverbial glass, desperate to get our foot in the door of a world in which our dreams are rooted. All we ask is that you pass along a little more information.....

Closing Question....I'd like to now hear from those reading this blog. Have you ever submitted to an agent that didn't respond or indicate (in any way on their website) how long you'd have to wait to assume it's a no, and also, did you receive an automated reply to acknowledge your email had been received?

1 comment:

  1. C.L., you've got a point here. Many agents have the disclaimer that you speak of, but many don't. I look forward to the others in this series. I'll bet I can relate to all of them. Good luck with your writing and with your search for representation!