1.10.2006

Altruism is Not Miss Snark's Middle Name..but it might be her finger

Dear Ms. Snark,

An editorial company who line edited my novel has offered to send my query letter, chapters, and synopsis to lit agencies. They're not asking to be paid for it. They say they only do it a few times a year. They have been around for awhile, and I have no reason to doubt them--their manuscript suggestions were very good. My question is, will a literary agent really pay more attention to a submission if it comes from them, rather than an unknown author? The answer would seem to be obvious. But I've been fooled by obvious answers before.



Smart snarkling!

The correct answer is...maybe. Are they sending it to literary agents they know and work with? Fact of life: I read the work sent to me by colleagues and friends much faster, and am more likely to read the full novel. Why? Guess. This is a symbiotic business and that's my part of the flow.

Now, if they are just sending stuff out to "hot agents" they've read about, say hello to the scrap heap. I'm LESS likely to give them the time of day since I'm a suspicious beast and I'm not sure what they are up to.

And of course, I'm always deeply suspicious of companies wherein I've paid for a service and they now want to do something for free. If they're so allfired altruistic, cut the final invoice amount in half.

What they might be thinking however is that if you get the book published they can use you as an advert for their business; a reference. You might want to ask ahead of time and be cool with that idea before you accept the gift of referral.

Miss Snark's cynicism is showing; time to go read some Barbara Cartland where good things happen to the heroine just cause!

2 comments:

Kelsey said...

I think I know what editorial service company you're talking about... As far as I know, they are sending to folks they've sent to successfully before. I think this means they have confidence in your work, because if you do get a contract, they WILL be using you as a successful example.

Anonymous said...

The editor I work with often suggests agents or editors at publishing houses to contact. He says it's OK to mention that he suggested I contact them. This seems the more professional approach. So far I've not had any bites, but I do find the rejections more personalized. If it appears I am grasping at straws to stay positive, I am.