Simultaneous Submissions

Simultaneous Submissions Writers often ask whether it’s okay to do simultaneous submissions, meaning sending your query to multiple agents at one time. Just to ease your mind, most agents agree that it doesn’t make sense not to do simultaneous submissions. It’s too inefficient to send something to one agent, then wait until they respond before sending to someone else. We expect that you’re simultaneously submitting. If you’re not, and instead you’re submitting to one person and hoping/emailing/begging them to respond, that person may not appreciate the pressure (flattering though it is). I promise, they are getting through their submissions as fast as they can. Since we assume you’re sending to more than one agent at a time, you don’t have to mention in your letter...
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Query Paranoia

Query Paranoia Writers often get freaked out by all our blogs and twitter posts about “bad” queries and big mistakes people make that can make them look…less than professional. But here’s the thing. If you’re reading blogs and books and getting yourself educated about how to get published, then I’m sure you’re going to be fine. You can stop worrying so much, because YOU are not the one making those really egregious mistakes. And even if you’re not perfect? Don’t sweat it. Believe it or not, agents can see through cliches, poor wording and other mistakes to identify good writing and strong book ideas. When we post all those silly things people say in queries, and write all those posts about “here’s what NOT to do,” we’re just trying to...
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Submission Guidelines

Last Update January, 2012 Please address all queries to: representation [at] booksandsuch [dot] com → If you intend to query ME specifically, please indicate that in your subject line or the first part of your email. → When you send a query to the correct email address, you will get an automated response, usually within 3 to 4 days, saying we received your query. → I do NOT accept queries at my personal email address. Please use the one specified above. → I only accept queries by email, NO snail mail. → Read “What I’m Looking For” to see if I will consider your project. If we are interested in your project, we will be in contact within 30 days or sooner. If we do not think your project is something we can represent, we may or may not be in contact, depending on...
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Reasons for Submission Guidelines

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/S4F9PgqcdXI/AAAAAAAADmM/EQNgnF59hJ0/s200/rules.jpg As you know, almost all agents have Submission Guidelines posted on their websites and/or blogs. Agents who blog and Twitter always remind writers to follow guidelines, and some agents reject without responding if you don’t follow them. But why are the guidelines so important? Are we just picky and anal people, obsessed with power and intoxicated by the ability to control people? Obviously my answer to that is “no.” It’s simply a numbers game. It’s all about the high volume of submissions we receive, and the need to get through them as quickly as possible, while making smart yes and no decisions. Our guidelines specify the exact information we need in order to make the best decision possible, in the shortest amount of time. Our guidelines tell you what to...
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I’m Adding Some New Genres

Today I’m making a couple of changes in the kinds of books I’m looking for. Those of you who are writing romance, cozy mystery, or female-driven suspense, listen up. Right now I’m specifically seeking previously published authors who are unrepresented but would like to expand and grow their career beyond what they’ve been able to do on their own. Important: As always, I’m also interested in unpublished authors, but I don’t want to see any first drafts and it’s unlikely that your very first book will be right for me. I’m looking for writers who have been working on the craft, have shown their manuscripts to objective readers and received positive feedback, and are familiar with the workings of publishing through reading blogs and attending...
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Have You Written More Than One Book?

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/SkaW_m9vkjI/AAAAAAAADCA/DozYnWjoQ74/s200/Carrying+Books.jpg Katie asked: I have written three books that I’m hoping to finish revising this summer, all in the same genre. When I’m ready to start submitting, how do I decide which one to submit? And let’s say I submit a book to an agent, they say no. Can I query the same agent with a different book? And if they say no to that, can I query again with my final book? Or is that just beyond annoying? Is that unprofessional? and… Shen asked: I am currently about finished with two books. They are of entirely different genres. Would it be wise to submit them under different names, or are my chances of being read by an agent greater if I submit them under the same name? ***Let’s start with the obvious. Why are you writing two or three books at once? Don’t you find your...
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Manuscript Submission Services

I always get questions about manuscript submission services like Authorlink or Writer’s Edge or Christian Manuscript Submissions. (Also known as manuscript display websites.) These are services that show your writing to agents and editors through a website and/or monthly report that displays your logline, synopsis, and a sample of your manuscript. Most of these services charge fees of around $100 for the listing. Everyone wants to know if they’re legitimate, if they’re worth the money, if they have any track record of success. Most of all, writers want to know if editors really look at these listings. First, I believe some publishers have someone on staff, usually an editorial assistant, who checks those listings occasionally. It’s just like another slush pile. And...
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Ask the Agent: Submitting an Improved Version

Lately I’ve received quite a few questions like this: So, let’s say I submitted a proposal that was requested by an agent. While waiting for the agent to respond, the novel was significantly improved (not just a few spelling errors, but bigger things like tightening, deepening the POV, author affiliations/platform, etc). Would you suggest a re-submit (upfront- telling you it’s a resubmit) or just hold out and let the original proposal be reviewed? I guess my first thought would be, why you didn’t make all those improvements before you submitted to an agent in the first place? In other words, why did you rush to get your proposal out before it was ready? Now I know you’re thinking about how you’re never quite sure when your manuscript is...
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Simultaneous Submissions

On a panel at the PPWC on Saturday, one of the New York editors said, “It is so hard to get published these days, it doesn’t make sense not to do simultaneous submissions.” The panel went on to discuss how inefficient it is to send something to one agent or editor, then wait until they respond before sending to someone else. Most agents and editors agree, and I am definitely one of those. The normal response time from an agent or editor can be anywhere from a couple of months to a year. Because of the volume, there’s just no way to get to things faster. So obviously, you will go crazy if you are only submitting to one person at a time. We all expect that you are simultaneously submitting. If you’re not, and instead you’re submitting to one person and...
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The Glut of Children’s and YA

I’ve mentioned in several places that I’m seeking to represent some YA and middle-grade fiction. But holy cow, I didn’t realize that would open the proverbial floodgates. My inbox is bursting at the seams with childrens and YA, especially fantasy. I’m not seeking to represent children’s books, and I don’t intend to make YA the bulk of my business, so I’m going to be VERY selective in choosing this genre. In fact, I haven’t yet found a YA project that’s right for me. So if you’ve received a pass letter, please don’t despair. You’re not alone. Plus, there are a lot of agents out there who are excited about YA. If your book is good, you’ll find the right agent. Now, of course I find myself ruminating on why so many...
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Going Postal (About Shipping & SASE’s)

Today I went to my P.O. box and found a bunch of manuscripts I’d requested. And as always, a couple of them had been sent Priority Mail or even Express. Here’s my advice: Don’t waste your money! Only send it Priority if the agent or editor has asked you to. Otherwise, sending it Priority is not going to affect how quickly I’m able to review it. And don’t send it Priority because you want it to “stand out.” Here’s what happens: I go to my P.O. box and I get all my mail. I open all the packages, discard the packaging, then take all the proposals & manuscripts back to my office and put them in my “to be read” stack. So the fact that yours arrived in a special red-white-and-blue box doesn’t help yours look any better than...
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ASK THE AGENT: Exclusivity

“If you are working on revision suggestions for one agent with whom you have NOT signed, should you still query other agents?”Simple answer: No. You should try to have things out on the table verbally, but I realize sometimes it doesn’t happen. So here’s how to handle it. If an agent has given you revision suggestions but not agreed to represent it, you should honor them (the fact that they took the time to give you notes) by giving them exclusivity for a period of time. You should do the revisions and re-submit to THAT agent, letting them know that you are currently letting them see it exclusively. It’s reasonable for you to expect a fairly prompt reply since you’re not submitting to anyone else at this point. Follow up if you haven’t heard a...
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Steps for Approaching an Agent

So, I happened across some kind of website/chatroom/message board for writers and there was a discussion about finding an agent. This is one of those sites where people ask each other questions and help each other on the road to publication. One of the writers mentioned that an agent to whom she’d submitted had requested a book proposal. Her question for her friends and fellow aspiring authors was: What is a book proposal? I have to admit that FREAKED ME OUT. These are the basics. How can you be already approaching agents when you don’t have any idea how this whole getting-published process works? An agent can’t sell your book to a publisher without a book proposal. You’ve got to have one, and it’s got to be good. These days, you even need one for...
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