Idiot agents

Dear Miss Snark:

As a faithful and (hopefully!) not-nitwitty reader of your blog, I abide by, nay, cherish your advice. First and foremost: Follow the Damn Directions.

So: today I received from Agent, in my own SASE no less, the following directions (and I quote verbatim): "Please feel free to pass along a larger chunk of your manuscript, [name]."

I initially sent (as per directions!) a query and 3 chapters.

How much more is "a larger chunk"? Not the rest, or Agent would have said so, right? So, 4 more chapters? 6 more? I was tempted to send the rest but knew I should consult you first. I only seek clarity.

After all my yapping about following the directions this just takes the cake for unclear directions.

Send half the novel. That's just a random number but since she didn't ask for a full, or "all", your guess is as good as mine.



Anonymous said...

This one might be worth a polite email to the agent.

Thank you for your interest in my [genre] manuscript, [title]. I recently received a response in my SASE stating "Please feel free to pass along a larger chunk of your manuscript," but before I sent something, I thought I would check with you to see how much of a "larger chunk" you would like to see. Would the first half of the manuscript (xx,xxx words) be sufficient?

Anonymous said...

I think Anon#1 has a good idea. I also think we can come to the following conclusion with a good amount of certainty: the agent mentioned in this e-mail is not Miss Snark.

Daisy said...

Actually, this is agent code for "seven more chapters and a pint of Ben & Jerry's mint chocolate chunk, and pronto". You may need to invest in some dry ice.

Paul said...

Put the entire manuscript on a chopping block. Chop it approximately in half, and send the chunk containing the bottom half of every page.

Or, you know...maybe not.

Kit Whitfield said...

Personally I'd go with sending half, making sure you end it on the cliffhanger of your choice: if they haven't specified how much they want, it might be because they don't feel like thinking about it, and asking them how much they want increases the risk of your enquiries getting gummed up in the works.

You could view this as an opportunity to choose for yourself the absolute most nail-biting, got-to-read-more place to leave it off, so they have to ask for a full just to find out what happens next.

Congratulations, though: this is an encouraging sign.

Maria said...

Email her to ask, mail her all of it or mail her half--but if you mail part of it, make it clear that the novel IS finished!

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't email to ask... if the agent had wanted to specify, s/he would've. Why waste time asking? You want the agent to be reading your stuff while still enthusiastic.

Chumplet said...

I received an emailed request in response to my query "snail mail it my way"

After running up and down the hall a few times, I emailed back, "do you want a partial or the whole shootin' match?"

It wasn't until after I hit Send that I double checked the website and the instructions - to send 2 chapters when asked for more.

So I emailed, "Sorry, I'm an idiot - I'll pop two chapters in the mail."

And I did.

Anonymous said...

Something similar just happened to me. An agent liked my pitch letter, which was accompanied by the synopsis and first 50 pp. She asked me to send the next 50 pp. So, does this mean if she likes it she'll ask for the next consecutive 50 pp? Which would put us less than halfway through the book. Is this a new trend? Guess it doesn't matter, we'll get to the end eventually!

Anonymous said...

My SO is querying agents and ran across one who asks that authors include a SASE with email queries.

pinhead said...

Why not format it so that only one word fits on the final page, then send all but that final page? Qualifies as a "larger chunk" without being a "full."

Janet Black said...

Yan'no what? I'd enclose a second cover letter saying, "Thanks for the invitation to send more - you didn't say how much more, so here's the whole thing."

Good luck!