9.23.2005

A bundle of joy.....


I've heard via the cyber grapevine of a process whereby agents sometimes 'batch' or 'bundle' partials/manuscripts of several clients together and send them to an editor. This sounds scary, like a hit-or-miss shotgun approach to me. Am I suffering from paranoia, or delusions of grandeur thinking that my beloved manuscript deserves more individual treatment than this? Are there benefits to handling submissions in this manner? Is it a no-no? Or accepted practice?


I heard about an "agent" who used to box up ALL her clients' work and deliver it to the lobby of various publishers and say "here ya go". I heard about her cause she's now doing time for fraud.

I've never heard of this practice. I've certainly never done it. I can't imagine what the benefits are. I know some editors read this blog--if they have any insights or comments on this, I'd welcome hearing from them. It's too bad ol' 00 is not posting cause this really would be a good question for her since she was an editor.

13 comments:

Another Author said...

I had a poor agent at one time in my previous unpublished career. I didn't know she "bundled" entries until I received a relatively form rejection through her from an editor who rejected five works that my agent had submitted to her. I figured since the one letter rejected all five books, that my agent had submitted all five books in one package. I could be wrong. There were other warning signs about this gal that told me she didn't know what the f*ck she was doing.

I learned my lesson, sought out only top agents, got one, sold, and the rest is, you know.

Leah said...

Most of the reputable agents out there send submissions individually--and often they'll call or e-mail about it ahead of time. There is one agency, though, that sends out one-paragraph summaries of a multiple works in the same letter. There's a space after the title and author to check off whether you want to see the first three chapters, the full ms or "Not interested." There's no targeting, no research, but I have to say that they're the easiest rejections I make.

Existential Man said...

Without giving any more details, let's just say that one of the biggest agents with a sterling reputation, a long career, a lot of clout and a heavy-weight list of clients, sends out some proposals as a batch of three or four.

I know for a fact this practice is taking place but don't know how common it is or what impact it might have on editors receiving this kind of bundle.

litagent said...

Although I would never "bundle" unsolicited submissions, once or twice a year I send a catalog of all my current offerings to every editor who handles the type of books I represent. The benefit to this is that the catalog gets passed around and may get in front of a new or young editor I don't know -- or an editor I do know but hadn't thought of for a particular project will see something interesting. Occasionally, the editor will call or email and ask to see more than one proposal or manuscript. (This also happens with Publisher's Marketplace postings.) The result is that I sometimes receive a rejection letter that covers more than one book, so I'm not sure an author can draw any conclusions from that.

C.E. Petit said...

Miss Snark, I'm afraid that Dorothy Deering (the individual you referred to who dumped boxes of mss in the lobby) has now left prison. For a terse summary, see the actual court records in U.S. v. Deering, No. 99cr76 (E.D. Ky.) (Forrester, C.J.), which shows the actual progress and pleadings; Dorothy got a 46-month vacation at Club Fed, including designer orange clothing, room and board, intense security, and instruction in the exciting field of license plate design and manufacture. A more entertaining narrative of the scheme appears in Jim Fisher's Ten Percent of Nothing: The Case of the Literary Agent From Hell (Southern Illinois Univ. Press, 2004).

Existential Man said...

I want to be clear: the agent I referred to is not sending out proposals that are unsolicited. Everything is requested by editors after contact with the agent. They are simply being mailed as a bundle. Perhaps this is just using the mail service efficiently.

Another Author said...

My current agent does not bundle; I know that she phones editors and pitches the work then sends them the full. rejections and sale all happened within weeks.

The agent who did bundle sent me a list of where she sent my manuscript; I know for a fact she didn't phone or email pitch the editor, and it took up to 6 months to get the last rejection (which was the one I got the letter with the three submissions she'd made together.)

There are top agents, midlist agents, poor agents and then the bad agents. My agent is top; my old agent was poor, and I had a friend who had a bad agent who lied to her repeatedly and now this author is filing reports with AAR and Authors Guild (last I heard).

Bundling isn't simply sending multiply requested material together; it's blindly sending material to editors.

Miss Snark said...

I keep meaning to buy that book about that agent, thanks for the reminder.

More on bundling in a new post..I've had some thoughts over the weekend and read the comments here.

C.E. Petit said...

My client (Jim Fisher, the author of Ten Percent of Nothing) eagerly awaits Miss Snark's purchase. (This is a roundabout disclosure that I have an interest.)

Miss Snark said...

Miss Snark is racing off to the bookstore even as we speak. I hope the book is doing very well.

Miss Snark said...

Miss Snark screeches to a halt in front of the bookstore, adjusts her cowgirl chapeau and stocking seams, then ventures into the aisles of the nearest Word Emporium. Finds book. Checks price. Faints dead away. Revives. $27 for a hardcover, no discount. Gotta love them university presses (my last u press list price was $40..yikes).

Miss Snark returns book to shelf and speed dials the website of New York Public library and reserves her copy.

I'm sorry I won't be lining your pockets, but do let me know when the trade paper edition comes out. I think this will be a great holiday gift for my fellow agents provocateur.

C.E. Petit said...

I never promised cheap. The SIU Press doesn't do trade paperbacks for a minimum of 16 months after first casebound edition—which, come to think of it, is about now. I'll check with them, but they're not the fastest-responding publisher on the planet (but neither are they the slowest).

BTW, Mr Clooney is supposed to be the subject of one of those celebrity-lifestyle shows tonight…

Torgo said...

Straight into the slushpile, is where the big heapin' box o' manuscripts would go.