I am sending a requested full manuscript to a small press. I will be in the very city of this small press in two weeks. Is it okay to mention this fact in my cover letter, or will it make it seem like I'm putting pressure on the situation?
Since Miss Snark is neither a small press nor a writer, she fobbed this question off on Ben Leroy, publisher of Bleak House Books, a small press (in that it's not Random House--yet) who was kind enough to put Mr. Clooney's office on hold and take my call.
Herewith his answer:
Here you go Miss Snark-
Well, that's certainly a good question. Any answer I give you is a mish mash of personal opinion and projection. So, as long as we can agree on that, and you don't come after me if it doesn't work out, here's what I think:
It certainly doesn't hurt to let people know you're going to be in town. Is it eager sounding? Sure. And I guess the fear is that you may come off like that guy from the football team who is clearly angling for a cheerleader date to the big homecoming dance. And maybe that fear is grounded in some good common sense-it's possible that your cheerleader only knows that you
play on the football team, and that her experience with football players has been a mixed bag. Plus, she's got other commitments with a math tutor, grocery shopping for Old Lady McGregor down the block, and her mother has come down with a touch of the common cold, so there'll be increased choreload around the house.
Or, maybe she not only knows you're on the football team, but that you're good, and that you've got a bright future. Maybe her parents are off on vacation, Old Lady McGregor's son is visiting from Tulsa, and her B average in math class is good enough for her. That might be just enough for her to react positively to your advances and agree to meet you at the corner ice
cream parlor for a root beer float.
I don't know how much you know about this cheerleader or what this cheerleader knows about you. But I do know that sometimes in life we have to take chances based on the facts as we understand them. Offer the information, but don't be disheartened or offended if it's met with a stony indifference. Publishers, like everybody else in the world, are very busy people who are always fighting against deadlines and focusing priorities on what they already have in house. Sometimes it's easy to step out of the office. Sometimes it ain't. Play it cool and try not to have expectations and you should be just fine."