Pass the canapes, and would you like to read my novel?

In your esteemed opinion, what does a writer do when they have met an agent at a book function and the agent agrees to see work (which we already have learned is a simple courtesy and not a promise) and the writer sends a sample but does not hear back (four months have gone by)? Is it proper to send a short note reminded the agent of the who, what, where, and why? Or should the writer just cross the agent's name off the list.

Please forgive me if this has been discussed already on your blog.

It's never incorrect to send a nice note (with an SASE!!!) inquiring about status. Something akin to "It was great to meet you at the launch party for Paris Hilton's new book. We talked about my manuscript "We'll Always Have Paris: a discussion of dogs as fashion accessories". I messengered the proposal to you on March 1. I'm writing to touch base about the status, and to thank you again for your time and consideration. Most sincerely yours, Helen of Troy"

Meeting an agent at a book function is a very unreliable indication of interest. It's very hard to say no to someone's face, although of course Miss Snark does it often and quite well.


Ira Rosofsky said...

I'm curious about what percent of your time you spend looking for new clients--reading queries, proposals, and manuscripts.

I'm thinking that despite the narcissism of the unagented, of which believe me I had plenty, client acquisition is a minor part of the job.

After all, from the snarkian perspective, you say that most of the slush is crap. How enjoyable or productive could that be?

Miss Snark said...

I do all my query letters at the end of the day. Takes about an hour. I read proposals and manuscripts at night and on weekends -- 12 to 15 hours a week.
I'm always more behind on that than I'd like.

Client acquisition is less than 5% of my business plan.

Query letters are like flossing your teeth. It's gotta be done, it's gotta be done daily, and it's got to be done effectively. Enjoyable doesn’t register. I'm old enough to realize that doing something well can be separate from liking it.

Dealing with queries IS productive for me. 75% of my current client list came over the transom.

Elektra said...

I posted this earlier, but am not sure if you saw it. If you did and were just ignoring it, feel free to repeat the oversight.
A PC question:
I, too, am a 'Miss', and am very annoyed when it's not an option on 'title' drop-down menus. But wouldn't most agents get rather annoyed if you called simply to ask if she prefered Miss or Ms.? Is there some other way to get around this problem short of shelling out $9.95 for a background check?
P.S.-Somebody, please give me a comment on my blog (shameless promotion, I know)

Miss Snark said...

I'm not as snarky about Miss/Ms in my other incarnation. Here on the blog however, when the title is MISS Snark, it does seem obvious.

At the office, I do object to Mr.

If someone reads my website and thinks I'm a man they need a cranial lube and oil job.

Mostly you can tell if you do a modicum of research even on the net.

Ira Rosofsky said...

Anyone else notice agent007's latest shot across Miss Snark's bow?

I think 007 has relationship issues. She once blogged about a broken heart after a client who she believed was a friend went elsewhere.

Miss Snark would never let friendship get in the way of whatever business sense she may or may not.

Shadow said...

My point precisely, e.dashwood!