12.16.2005

Editors Names...LAST post on this I hope!

From the comment tail on routinely sharing editors names:

O Snarky One:

Why not share editor names with your clients? When shopping my novel around, my agent told me which editors at which houses, without me asking. I wouldn't have been bothered if she'd left that detail out--just seems like a different style--but I'm wondering what the reason is for not routinely disclosing that info.


and this:
But what if a client is going to be at the same conference one of the editors will be attending? Assume, for the purposes of argument, that your client isn't the type to make a total idiot/pest of herself around the editor while at the conference. Would there be a good reason to tell your client that the editor will be there, in case the editor approaches your client to talk to her?

Y'all aren't reading carefully. What I said was "I don't routinely give out editors' names". What I did NOT say was "I don't ever". There's a big difference.

Of course if a client is going to a conference, or a place where they are going to meet editors I brief them fully. Recently I've even dragged their asses to parties to MEET editors. Last year's Bouchercon I gave one of my clients a list of names, physical descriptions and strict instructions to accost each and every one. (Of course I then sold her book to an editor who wasn't even there)

Of course if a client has history with an editor, previous books, contacts yadda yadda, I ask about that, and utilize it.

What I don't do, and what the original poster was asking about, is routinely send a list of which specific editor has rejected something. The amazing thing is NONE of my clients has ever asked (that I can remember..but it is before 9am) for more details.

The reason I do not routinely do this is cause when you start saying "Editor X at Publisher Z rejected this" it personalizes it. Authors tell me all the time (and they believe it too I think) that they don't take rejection of their work personally. Horse hockey. Of COURSE they do. And why not. There isn't anyone else's name on the page (except mine of course). They love their novel and this chowder head at XYZ said no.

Of course, it's NOT personal, and a lot of times it's not about the book at all. So, I routinely don't give out names UNLESS asked, or it's needed. I don't send them routine rejection letters either but if they ask for them, of course I do. The key thing here is that my clients know this BEFORE they sign the contract. I spell it out. Then I ask if that is ok with them. If it's NOT (and this has happened) I recommend they go elsewhere.

The original poster said her agent sliced names off email rejections. I think that's excessive but I stand by my opinion that its NOT a red flag. It is however an indicator of communication style and business practice and it's clear the questioner wasn't happy. That's the real question. Can you live with how your agent works. If you can't, you need a new agent.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have an acquaintance whose agent has given up subbing her manuscript after only 8 submissions because the agent says she has "run out of contacts." Four of those tries resulted in revision requests, but each time, the revision was ultimately turned down at the acquisitions committee level; I haven't read this person's work, but it would seem to me that that level of response from the editors would indicate there's something worth considering about this project.

Am I crazy to think that 8 is not very many tries? From a current Writer's Market, I identified well over 70 publishers who say they accept manuscripts of this particular genre, and while I realize that the subtle distinctions between houses mean that that number would have to be whittled down quite a bit, 8 tries still seems like a very small number to me.

Is it too simplistic to feel that it’s part of an agent’s job to MAKE contacts?

Sonarbabe said...

I can definitely see your point on why you don't announce every submission made and the rejections that follow. Though, for a new author, hearing that you submitted to Cha-ching Publishers and Payday Books sounds fan-tab-ulous, it's not going to sound so spiffy when you have to follow that up every time with, "Er, sorry, darlin', they thought you bit the big one." I would do the same thing in your place.

Now, I could have missed the answer to this, so please, oh great Snarky One, forgive me, but how about sharing info if you get a pretty darn good nibble? Let's say Cha-ching Publishers asked to see the full ms? Would you be then more likely to fire off a quick email and/or phone call to the author? Sort of on the par of, "Just wanted to let you know that Joe Blow at Cha-ching has asked to see the full on The Next Great Book. I'll let you know how it goes when they reply." I'm only curious, because the last agent who took me on (damn them for going belly up, that sux!) stated that they would inform me of such things monthly.

Just curious.

Anonymous said...

I was an editor. An agent forwarded my rejection to his client. Said client sent me an abusive note. (Oddly, my letter was more complimentary than many.) Agent was embarassed. (He also said he dropped the client.) I was angry. It was a small black check against the agent that would have biased me against anything else he sent me a little bit. Not passing rejections on lightly protects all of the agents' clients.

Cornelia Read said...

My agent passed along editor rejections to me, with names. I was interested in the varying tones of them, overall. Some discouraging, some kind, one that struck me as needlessly bitchy--but it was educational (if painful) to see the reasons for passing.

I can't imagine having harassed any of these people, however. I'm still grateful they took the time to read my stuff, and even more grateful there were yeses among the nos.

Jo Bourne said...

When I signed with my agent she said we'd discuss what publishers the ms would be sent to, and decide together. I didn't have to ask for this.

It's never been a problem. Her top choices were exactly what I would have picked on my own.

I said I wanted to see letters the editors sent about the work. No problem.

This makes so much sense to me. I'm going to be working with these houses and these editors for years. I want to know everything I can about them.

JoB

Anonymous said...

I notice you chose not to post my brilliantly witty comment about agents, editors, and voodoo dolls. Can't handle the competition, can you, Snarky-Poo.

Miss Snark said...

You keep track of comments you make on blogs and whether they get lost?
man, I thought I was OC.

Sal said...

Anonymous said...

I notice you chose not to post my brilliantly witty comment about agents, editors, and voodoo dolls. Can't handle the competition, can you, Snarky-Poo.

You mean this comment in the " Who be doobee do" blog comments thread?

Anonymous said...

I definitely want to know the names of editors my agent sends my work to. The voodoo dolls work much better if they more closely resemble the real person.

12/15/2005


Whoo boy. Not that I'm OCD, mind you.

Miss Snark said...

I thought I'd hit "reject" instead of "publish" AGAIN...

Turns out ol Anonnnypoo truly can't keep track of his/her comments!

Bernita said...

Um...a real "gent."