I am getting increasingly frustrated with people querying me, acting like they know about me and about our agency, while they’re pitching something we don’t represent. Usually this means projects clearly outside of a Christian worldview, like astrological self-help, or memoirs of drug abuse and debauchery (without redemption), but that doesn’t bother me. The frustrating thing is that people think finding a listing on an online site such as agentquery.com or writersmarket.com or querytracker.com constitutes “researching” the agency.
Now, from where you sit, this might not be obvious, which is why I’m explaining it to you. Those websites that list literary agents can be a great help in identifying agents who might be right for you, but looking at them is not the same as visiting the agent’s website, or looking up their deals on Publishers Marketplace.
I know for a fact that I’m listed on countless online agent listing services, but here’s what you should know: Most of them have never contacted me to ask my permission to list me, or to get any information about what I might like my listing to say.
I am listed whether I want to be or not, and the part that gets me is that I know some of the listings are wrong or incomplete, because most of the inappropriate queries say that they found me on one of those websites. Those query-ers have not visited our website or my blog.
Honestly the thing that bothers me the most is the number of queries that take up space in my inbox that are clearly outside the scope of our agency, so I feel like it’s not a good use of my time when I respond to them. (And I DO respond personally to everyone.) Don’t get me wrong, I never look at writers as wasting my time, per se. But when a person could have learned a little about me and found out that I don’t, in fact, represent pornographic memoirs of Las Vegas hookers, then yes, I do feel a teensy bit like my time was taken advantage of.
Of course, all the people who need to read this post are most definitely NOT reading it. That’s my frustration… there’s no way to reach them. Aarrgghh.
Here’s my point: It’s a good idea to research the agents and publishing houses you’re submitting to by visiting their websites and reading what they say about themselves. Since so many agents have blogs these days, it helps to read the blogs, too.
But you’re already reading this one. So you don’t need my advice.
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Rachelle Gardner is a Christian literary agent affiliated with WordServe Literary Group in Colorado.