1.31.2006

Writing Conference nibbles

Dear Miss Snark,

An executive editor at a major house asked to see my ms after an advance reading at a conference. What is the best way to convey this opportunity in the query to my target agents?Thanks for taking the time to answer all of us. - A Snarkling with high hopes.


Dear Miss Snark:

(opening paragraph about your novel)

(second paragraph about your fabulosity)

Brunhilda Gobsmack, executive editor at GotRox, asked to see (title) when I met her at Reading Writhing and Rum in September.

Love and kisses to Killer Yapp,
signed,
you

26 comments:

The Beautiful Schoolmarm said...

All hail the great goddess of Snark!

When an agent says "Query letter only" (on their website or some such place), does it mean they want only that one sheet of paper (plus SASE), or do they expect a short synopsis and sample pages too? Is this some sort of unspoken rule designed to further deteriorate my nerves?

I am trying to follow all the guidelines and not irritate any prospective agents (I know how annoyed I am when people don't follow directions.)

Jennette said...

OMG Becca! I just emailed Miss Snark this very question last night!

The Beautiful Schoolmarm said...

I woldn't be so nervous, but I posted a blog about rejection letters coming and a fellow blogger said that "Query letter only" assumes you know to include a synopsis and 5-10 pages.

On top of trying to cut several thousand words out of my manuscript, this just wasn't soothing. I'm glad I'm not the only one who is concerned.

Jen said...

Oh I hope to be in this position in May! I'm going to a conference in Oklahoma City and plan to pitch.

kitty said...

"Reading Writhing and Rum"

HA HA HA !!! I'm going broke buying monitors!

Anonymous said...

I don't know about pitching. I'm an agent and won't let anyone pitch me. It's all in the writing...

Yasmine Galenorn said...

In my writing experience, query letter means a query letter. Synopsis and sample pages are just what they sound like. A query letter usually contains a paragraph about the book and your writing credits.

dmarie said...

A few agents that I met at a writers conference this weekend requested that I mail them sample chapters of my ms. I'd like to polish the work a little more before mailing it off. Am I going to do some irreparable harm if I don't get the requested material off within a week?

Nobody said...

Becca - in my experience query letter only means just the letter and the SASE. If they want a synopsis/sample/partial they'll let you know from there. The good news is that in my experience these agents sometimes go straight for a partial and never ask for a synopsis at all, saving you that agony.

Anonymous said...

dmarie,

Miss Snark discusses this in a couple of posts further down the page. One is called "More on expiration dates in queries."

Heather said...

Miss Snark answered this question on 11-02-05 titled: “What? No Guidelines? But… but…I want you to be my agent. Query / 5 to 10 pages / synopsis

The Beautiful Schoolmarm said...

That was if a person can't find an agent's submission guidelines. Query, synopsis and 5-10 pages were industry standard to fall back on.

When an agent specifies "Query letter only" on their website or in Writer's Market Place or Publisher's Marketplace, do I take them at their word, or assume they want "industry standard"?

Anonymous said...

stupid question--to post a question to miss snark, do you do it in one of these threads--or is there a link to post? I can't seem to find it.

Anonymous said...

Miss Snark -- Kassie Evashevski has answered some of the questions you raised in a previous post at http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6303378.html

BuffySquirrel said...

anon--you can post your question in the comments but it may get overlooked. If you click on View My Complete Profile, you will find Miss Snark's email address. Only one question per email, and it must make sense!

Mark said...

Frey dumped by agent. It's a start.

Elektra said...

Yes, but the real question: is she giving up her 15%?

Elektra said...

Though now that I mention that, I don't think she should. She was hired to sell the novel, and that's what she did--she wasn't paid to be a fact-checker. Just because he's a sleazeball doesn't mean she should lose money from a job well done. Unless she actually WAS the one to change it from fiction to memior...

Anonymous said...

Oh, I believe with all my heart that the agent had something to do with it, and she's out now because of pending lawsuits. Sue Oprah! She's got more money and she's the one who promoted it relentlessly. I never even heard of it until Oprah fell in love with it. Fickle women piss me off.

Anonymous said...

I'm waiting for Frey's "non"-fiction account of his whole MLP debacle.

Then he can go on Jerry Springer.

Anonymous said...

"Fickle women piss me off."

Yeah, and lying men piss me off.

Wait, were we talking about query letters? Oh. Anyway. I second what Yasmine said (who happens to be a multi-published author). I know Miss Snark said otherwise, but unless an agent specifies "send me 5 pages" or "send me the first chapter and a synopsis," I'm sticking to the letter only. FWIW, I'm getting about a 60% "send me more material" response rate. I'd hate to mess around with that number!

Elektra said...

Anon--you must be able to write a really good query letter.
Mine, on the other hand, I know is only so-so (I've gotten help on it galore, but I'm still not that happy with it). I include five pages with the hope that my writing (which is, I hope, much better than in the query) will pique their interest.
Even if 60% like your query, if they don't like the first five pages, you're only finding out later rather than sooner, when you're already out the money for sending the partial.

Mark said...

Springer's already in one of Frey's movies.

Mark said...

She was hired to sell a memoir and did, even though it really wasn't.

anonymagent said...

Kassie didn't know. Nor did she 'send some submissions as fiction and some as non-fiction'. Nor did Nan Talese suggest that the 'novel' might be better as 'real life'. This is all coming from Frey himself, who has already been proved to be a liar. It's rough on everyone involved. But Oprah read the same book everyone else did. If those red flags were so obvious why didn't she notice them?

Miss Snark said...

She did. Her producers did. They asked Anchor who said "it's all good". I know this only through the reporting on Galleycat, Media Bistro and the Times, but I also read the book long before any of this hit, AND had more than one conversation with editors and other folks at Anchor about the fact it was...um..."oversold" as a memoir.

Agents are adults. She's as responsible for her choices here as James Frey is.