12.14.2005

Online submission forms

The Levine Greenberg agency has an extensive and intricate on-line submission setup (which I intend to use in January), which is for both fiction and nonfiction. At the end of the query/questionnaire, there is a place to upload files of up to 50 pages. In my opinion, it looks thorough and efficient, and since it's a web site, not an individual e-mail address, it gives the agency a buffer of sorts.

What does Miss Snark think of this set-up?

Jim Levine is a great agent, a darn fine author, and a nice man. I have nothing but respect for him so if LG had determined this is how to handle their slush pile, hunky dory.

What troubles me is they are on the "we only respond to what we want to see". I'm sure they get a lot more mail than I do; they've been established longer and they do big non fiction books that I don't touch. I may not have perspective on the size of their slush pile, but I just hate to see queries unanswered.

The reason I don't like this is cause it's rude. My colleagues and I go round and round on this. Those that practice the "affirmative only" say it's like not answering telephone calls from phone solicitors. I say it's not responding to people who have a legitimate reason for calling your business.

The form does seem to remove the bite back possibilities in two ways: it's not an email, and they don't write to say "no". They only write to say "yes".

All in all though, you'd be well represented by LG if they say yes. Go for it.

11 comments:

Stephen D. Rogers said...

Non-responses frost me. I've published a fair number of short stories/poems/articles and nearly 250 of my subs were finally written off as "no response" rejections. Whether submitting by email or including a SASE, I find the practice quite distressing since I'm losing time when the manuscript could be subbed elsewhere.

One editor, who has never responded to my subs, put me on her list and sends me updates on her family medical problems. Excuse me?

Anonymous said...

The only instance in which this is not rude (in my humble opinion) is when writers just blindly query agents with absolutley no knowledge of or appreciation for what that agent represents. If you query Agent X regarding your self-help book, when Agent X's site clearly states she does not take on self-help books, then why should that agent waste her time responding?

Anonymous said...

I agree that not responding to queries is rude. But that's the least of it. I've had at least two agents read the first three chapters, say they liked them, request the full manuscript--and then never be heard from again. They not only never got back to me, but when I finally sent a meekly worded follow-up asking what's what, they didn't even have the courtesy to respond! It's a big expense of time, money, and, most important, hopes and dreams to print out an entire manuscript and send it off to an agent who's asked to read it. To never hear from them again is hugely frustrating.

Feisty said...

You know, Miss Snark, I agree with you that the "don't call us, we'll call you" attitude about e-queries is rude. It treats the uninvited like imposters or less important children.

I understand that publishing is a business of busy people, but I've worked in several industries that are also busy. Advertising for one. I also worked on the copy desk at a large daily newspaper, another very busy place. Deadlines all day, always something to do. (Also underpaid.)

So, I don't really get what the "poor me, I'm so overworked and so underpaid" thing is about. I understand everyone is busy. But in publishing, people act like they are the only busy people on the planet.

What's with that?

mysterygirl said...

I queried LG and received an email rejection about 10 days later. I feel special.

I agree that "no response = no interest" is bad manners. But I'd rather know up front that this is how an agent operates than be left to wonder if my query is lying in a puddle of gin on West 57th Street.

Christine said...

Really. Non responses are just... nitwitterish. (ha!) How long does it take to stuff a form letter in an envelope? Or paste an address in a form e-mail and click send?

The problem with NR's is that you (the author) are never quite sure what happened - what if my sub got lost in the mail/browser ate it? The agent never saw it! At least with a form rejection you know the postman's dog didn't eat it.

Remodeling Repartee said...

Mystery Girl,

I've heard of several authors who queried LG and got nice e-mail rejections, so it seems that they do take the time to respond, even negatively often, regardless of the disclaimer on the site.

For some bizarre reason, in this one area of my life, I'm not so uptight about not hearing from someone (Mr. Remodeling Repartee gets mad for me). If I don't hear back in a reasonable amount of time, I think, thank God; I require prompt and professional business communication and this agent is not for me.

Perhaps I have too much trust in the US mail; but they don't lose much, and if they did, perhaps it was a plan of the Universe, as we say out here in CA.

Thanks for the words on LG, Miss Snark. With the ocean of agents out there, it's helpful for a beginner to have one's instincts validated.

Christine said...

Yeah, they don't lose much. My ass. Ask them where one of my child's birthday invitations went (it was two weeks late) and my last paycheck (still hasn't shown up). And they lost one of my ARC's (never showed up at all - I had to send another). All within the last two months.

They only lose important things, I guess.

Stay At Home Writer said...

I've subbed to LG and received an email rejection that basically said the project wasn't for them but to feel free to submit another piece. It was nice in a rejected sort of way.

Bernita said...

Is the form really that "extensive and intricate"?
Seems to me it only includes the basic query letter stuff.

Anonymous said...

a bit late for the response but better that than never, right? Levine-Greenberg DOES respond to all queries, provided they were sent through the agents' email addresses and not that scary online submission form. Got 2 negatives responses myself (hey, that's how I know!) from 2 of their principals, then 1 affirmative from the main guy himself...