Monday, October 25, 2010

The Partial

Ok. Now that you've created for yourself a nice complete database of agents/ agencies to query, created an awesome query letter, and sent out a few queries, you're probably what comes next.

Like you, I was also wondering what type of feedback I should be hoping for after sending out queries. Should I log on to my email every five minutes or cling to my phone as though it were my lifeline? Where and how would these agencies contact me after reading my query letter?

The answer to these questions is pretty simple.If you've done your job right an agent's first response to your query letter will be a request for sample chapters. This type of request is called "a partial" and, although it is good news, don't get overly excited. A request for a partial manuscript, which can come via phone or email, is not an offer of representation.

Should you get a request for sample chapters, you need to make sure you have the accurate amount, properly formatted. Most likely, the agent will request the first three chapters or the first fifty pages. If the request is for a specific number of pages, it is perfectly fine to go over a FEW pages in order to make the partial end at the end of a chapter. Most agents would rather you go over a few pages than leave them hanging with an incomplete chapter.

Your manuscript's font should be Times New Roman, size 12, and page numbers should be located in the upper right corner with your last name and manuscript title in the upper left.

You should also include a title page with your name, address, phone number, and email address in the upper lef-hand corner. Centered, about one third of the way down the page you should include the title of your manuscript in all caps and two spaces below that, include "BY" in all caps and YOUR NAME in all caps two spaces below that. Check out the sample to the left if you have any questions.

Now that your partial is formatted, go ahead and send it off. This can be either via email or snail mail, but either way, you need to include a cover letter that tells the agent that you have enclosed a requested partial manuscript. Include REQUESTED MATERIALS in the subject or write it on the envelope.

Now just sit back and wait it out! Good Luck!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Other People's Rejection Letters

Cover of "Other People's Rejection Letter...Cover via AmazonI read Bill Shapiro's "Other People's Love Letters" last year and really enjoyed it, so I was excited to find out that a new edition, "Other People's Rejection Letters" was recently released.

The website also has an interesting feature: a Reject-O-Matic.

Have fun rejecting....everyone and everything!

Also, make sure you check out this link:

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Rejection Letters

Sad faceImage via WikipediaAccording to wikipedia, there are exactly four types of rejection letters: literary, job, college, and romantic. Under the banner of literary rejection, there are four versions that are as follows:

1. The Non-Existant Rejection--this rejection offers no proof of life, but it's still very real. Haven't heard from an agency 10 years after sending them your query? Yep, you've got a case of the "Non-Existant Rejection."

2. The Personalized Rejection--while this rejection has a bit of flair; they might have called out some of the best parts of your submission, encouraged you to keep trying, or suggested helpful alterations, it is still rejection none-the-less. It might sting a little, but at least you've got those little comments to ease the burn.

3. The Mass Printed Letter--this rejection will have zero reference to you or your particular submission other than the fact that it's just not right for the agency or publisher. Instead of your name, words like "writer" will be thrown around willy nilly.

4. The Standard Form Letter--now this little gem I have personal experience with. Yesterday I received my first rejection letter, and while I was expecting it, I can't say that I was pleased. This letter is clearly used on a daily basis by the agency, but they did have the decency to cut and paste my name into the salutation.

Now here's the evidence of my indoctrination into the world of the struggling author. I've provided it for you all to see in the hopes that it will prepare you as well as encourage you, because although I have been rejected...sigh, I haven't given up hope. Hey, at least it isn't a "Romantic" rejection letter...I hear those are brutal :)

All right, here she is, the first rejection for The Other Side of the Glass. It's short, sweet, to the point, and currently resides on my fridge:

Dear Jacey,

Thank you so much for writing to me about your project. I read and

consider each query carefully and while yours is not exactly what I am

looking for, I would certainly encourage you to keep trying.
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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Literary Agency Red Flags

Simple Magnifying Glass IconsImage via Wikipedia So you've been working diligently to compile a database of agencies and agents you wish to query but you are still a little unsure about the reputability of one or more of them, what do you do? Well, after you've done a quick google search and nothing has come up, but you're still feeling unsure you should go to this website: Preditors & Editors provides a comprehensive list of several agencies as well as a ranking of the agency based on its reputation and recent activities.

Entries on P&E are pretty simple to understand. Here, a sample entry that looks like the one below and tells you that Nelson Literary Agency is recommended by the site and the $ indicates that they have verified sales to legitimate royalty-paying publishers on record.

Nelson Literary Agency: $ Recommended. A literary agency located in Denver, CO.

An agency with a poor reputation will show up on Preditors & Editors like this:

AEG (American Enterprise Group) Publishing Group: Strongly not recommended. A consortium of literary agencies and one or more vanity publishers. Their name is also somewhat redundant (and that's for a publishing business?).

1/29/09: AEG Publishing Group seems to have a credibility gap showing. Recent information reveals that the interview they've been claiming was by Deliriousgirl was actually written by them and not her according to her response on this page at AbsoluteWrite.

As you can see, a quick glance at P&E will help you learn a lot about an organization and whether or not you should query them. If you are unsure about any aspect of an agency, I suggest you use this website as a tool to gauge their reputation. You should also know that no reputable agency will pressure you to sign a contract before you are ready, and none will ask for payment upfront.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Take a Break!

Mad LibsImage via WikipediaTaking a break from putting together your agency contact list? Good! Take a minute every now and then to breath, read a book, write, or just have fun!

Here's a  website you can go to to kill time while doing one of my favorite things, MadLibs!

Here's one I made today :)

Dear School Nurse:

Silicone Clayton will not be attending school today. He/she has come down with a case of measles and has horrible doors and a red fever. We have made an appointment with the swollen Dr. supercilious, who studied for many years in home and has thirty degrees in pediatrics. He will send you all the information you need. Thank you!


Mrs. round.
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