Agent Query Policies: Stop the Griping!

http://www.rachellegardner.com//HLIC/b8d84a34f24c181722c8e51d775ffa6f.jpg Ever since I’ve been an agent, I’ve listened to writers complain about the unpleasant aspects of the publishing industry. Part of my job is helping authors navigate these difficult waters. I try to talk my clients through the hard parts of publishing; and on this blog, I do the same for many writers who aren’t my clients. Believe me, I know there are frustrations, and I know people need a chance to rant now and then. I do it occasionally myself, obviously. But there’s one particular rant I seem to hear more than any other, and I’m weary of it. It’s the one where writers complain about the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad agents who take forever to respond on a full or partial manuscript, or worse, have the nerve to not respond to every...
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Change or Die

I was amazed at the comments on my Friday and Saturday posts, not just the number, but the depth, the passion and the thoughtfulness in many of them. It shows how diverse we all are, and how many different opinions and ideas we can have about the same topic. Again, I want to say I appreciate the feedback. I was a little disconcerted, although not surprised, by several comments that suggested maybe I was against new developments in publishing because I was afraid of what it meant for literary agents, i.e. that the new publishing landscape wouldn’t include agents. Speaking strictly for myself, I’m not against any new developments in publishing. But I do consider and try to think through how each change will affect both writers and readers. And there’s my point. I’m...
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Self-Publishing: A Rant and a Q4U

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/SwYjV_Pnc9I/AAAAAAAADQE/yPO2ExTGSj4/s320/question+mark.jpg This week another major publisher, Harlequin, announced their entry into the self-publishing business. The blogs have lit up over it and there’s a lot of interesting reading out there. I think Victoria Strauss gave a great overview on the Writer Beware blog (here.) I have to admit that the idea of all these major publishers opening self-pub arms is making me nervous. It makes me worry about the future of publishing, much more than other issues like e-books, the decline of reading, etc. And here’s why. The lure and the prestige of getting a book published has always been based on… what? Exclusivity. It’s exciting to get a book deal because many want one, and few can get one. Published books have always been respected because of the many gatekeepers they had to go...
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If Only I Had Some Advice for Writers

*Snark Alert! So the other day this guy tweeted me: “Any advice for a new author trying to find a literary agent?” I feel really bad for the guy. I’m sure he’s nice enough, and a good writer, and he’s doing his due diligence researching agents. But in the moment, the question dumbfounded me and I just totally went off, I mean I had a complete flippin’ conniption fit. (What’s a conniption anyway?) It was just one-of-those-days (and it was only 9am) and I suddenly felt absolutely overwhelmed by someone wanting a 140-character answer to such a ginormous question. Kind of like walking up to the nearest person at Niagara Falls and asking, “Hey, is there any water around here?” I tweeted him back: “You didn’t really just tweet...
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A Friday Rant (And This One’s Not About You)

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/SaCOwKRh0XI/AAAAAAAACvc/EGhtugAqLQA/s320/woman_bullhorn.jpg So, you know I love writing this blog, right? I enjoy the dialogue with writers, and sharing tidbits of information, and hearing about your experience as a writer in this crazy publishing world. But I have to tell you my #1 frustration with this whole thing. It has nothing to do with you. Nope. It’s everybody else. That’s right, everyone who doesn’t read publishing blogs. These are the people who most need to be educated. But you can’t tell them they need to get educated, because they’re not on the Internet trying to get educated! They send queries having not ever looked at our company website or my blog. They pitch me screenplays and illustrated childrens books and poetry and 200,000-word fantasy novels. They send emails saying things like “this book...
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Online Agent Listings

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...
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God Told Me to Write This Post

http://www.rachellegardner.com//HLIC/81ad0e497c21cd281acbb523edf47a7f.jpg People always ask me about the clichés we hear in queries, and last week someone asked me what makes my eyes glaze over in a pitch. Here it is, hands-down: “God told me to write this.” And let’s not forget its many variations. God laid it on my heart. God gave me this idea. God has called me to write this book. I call it playing the God card and frankly, it doesn’t impress me. Now don’t jump to conclusions and vow (once again) to stop reading my blog forever. I’m not a heretic, but I may be constitutionally incapable of conveying my thoughts on this without the snark factor. Because you see, when you say “God told me to write this” the instant reaction (usually unspoken, thankfully) of most editors and agents is, “Yes, but God...
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A Published Author’s Rant

You know I like to rant now and then, right? But I’m not the only one who gets the privilege! A friend of mine, who shall forever remain anonymous, sent the following rant about the pitfalls of being published. *****I finally have a non-fiction publishing contract. I’ve been pursuing this for more than ten years—attending writers’ conferences, receiving rejections, building my platform brick by brick, taking criticism and harsh words from critique groups, and writing, writing, writing . Slowly but surely, my platform has grown and I am now speaking to audiences of hundreds and sometimes thousands (instead of twenty or thirty). Along the way my writing improved. It all paid off. I finally got a contract! Now… people I know assume that my life is perfect and small...
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Q4U: Your Turn to Rant

Okay, I admit it. Sometimes I get snarky on this blog (some call me haughty) and I can go nuts ranting about the dumbest things. Why do you think I have a blog in the first place??!! A girl needs SOMEPLACE to rant, doesn’t she? Saves my hubby and kids a lot of grief, lemme tell ya. Anyway, I’m thinking it’s your turn to rant. Complain all you want. What really bugs you about this business? What are your frustrations? And since I’m always giving you tips and “guidelines” for working with me, why don’t you give me some tips for working with YOU? Go for it. Rant or ramble away. I’m all ears. Be Sociable, Share! Tweet
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