Tag s | book proposals

How Long Should You Wait for an Answer?

You have sent your project to an editor or an agent. Their guidelines state “We will respond within 6-8 weeks.” Do you mark your calendar on day 56 and send that person a query the minute the deadline passed?

This past week one of my clients set a personal record for waiting.

She was contacted by a magazine asking to publish a poem she submitted…in 1990. You read that right. Twenty-six years after submitting the work, it sold.

Various reactions centered around the question”what?” Not only had this magazine kept the submission in a file…they actually looked at it 26 years later.

We had another client sell her novel 22 months after we submitted it to a publisher. After nearly two years she had already moved on and sold other novels elsewhere. But was happy to accept the offer.

Maybe there is a lesson here. Both of these clients are consummate professionals. They don’t have just one piece they rely upon for publishing success. The non-fiction writer is always working on new material and submitting ideas to periodicals. The novelist is constantly working on the next project while writing the current one and studying the market to see if there is something she can target for her proposals.

I receive the occasional note from an annoyed writer wondering why I haven’t responded within eight weeks. A couple weeks ago one enthusiastic author called the office the day after emailing the proposal wondering if we had read it yet. Another questioned the legitimacy of the agency and my statement of faith because I had not responded to their email query (which only proved the person had not read the guidelines on our website very carefully).

Maybe the real lesson is if I contact you in the year 2042 offering to represent the proposal you sent me this month…try to act surprised.


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The Proposal Review Process

You’ve all been there (and if you haven’t yet, you will…). You put together the perfect proposal and finally, finally send it off to agents for their review. So what happens next? Well, from your point of view, waiting. And waiting. And…(yes, we’ve covered that before. The waiting. That’s not …

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The Best Time to Submit to an Agent

Thanks to Katie Powner for her question on my May 25, 2016 blog, which sparked this blog. There have been many changes in publishing over the last few years. In fact, it seems we just get used to some element of publishing, and wham! It’s turned on its head. But …

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I’m Always Open to Submissions

Sometimes authors send me an email asking, “Are you looking at new submissions?” or “Are you accepting new clients?” I appreciate these authors’ desire not to waste my time or theirs, but I’ll say it here: I’m always open to submissions and new clients. Now, does this mean I’m open …

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What’s Wrong with my Book?

As you can imagine, we see hundreds of proposals and manuscripts each month. And, as you can also imagine, we must decline most. However, there are a few mistakes you can avoid to help your submission rise above others: Not beginning the story in the right place. All too often, …

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Why I Don’t Critique Your Work

A fantastic blog post from Ramona Richards reminded me why I, as a literary agent, don’t offer critiques on rejected proposals. Believe me, as someone who used to write books, I understand the disappointment of the unhelpful rejection letter. So much that I blogged about it (click to read it). …

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The Why and How of Selecting Endorsers

Some authors find the endorsers section tricky when they write book proposals. If this describes you, or if you would like a refresher, I hope this post will be helpful. The Why: I can’t say I’ve ever sold a book based on an endorsement alone. Content is king. But the …

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The Hardest Part of Being a Writer

If there’s anything I hate to do, it’s wait. At the gas station, at the grocery store, at the doctor’s office…it’s wait, wait, wait! Drives me nuts. I want to get going, get things done, move, do something! Not just stand or sit there. If you’ve been at this writing …

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Limitations Inherent to Non-Fiction Publishing

Some categories of books in the Christian market have very limited potential for publication. A publisher may do just one every year or every ten years on a particular topic or category. When you send your proposal to an agent or ask your agent to pitch a title in one …

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