Why Miss Snark Leaves the Gin Pail at Home

I was in the happy position of being asked for a manuscript by both an agent and an editor I'd met in the bar at a conference. (All casual talk with one little, "Are you looking for material?" in the middle of it all. Answer: yes, looking for **** if that's what you have send me a partial.)

I sent to both -- noted this in the query letter -- and heard back from the agent that this was highly unprofessional and that by sending it to an editor at the same time I sent it to said agent, I had hemmed the agent in and so I would have to look elsewhere for representation. (I am.) No surprise, this agent also is a real fan of the exclusive submission.

There are nitwits in every profession. I'm sorry to say that agents are not excluded from that statement.

If an editor asks for a partial, even in a drunken stupor in a bar answering a casually dropped "are you looking for" you send it. As you would with an agent.

The idea that you send to the agent first and let them sit around for five months gazing at their slush pile hoping it will disappear is nuts.

This is YOUR career. If someone wants to see your work (even if they asked for it in a drunkent stupor) you show it to them.

No surprise here...Miss Snark thinks exclusive submissions stink.


Anonymous said...

I don't get it. Why would the agent think sending to the editor at the same time was unprofessional? In fact, wouldn't it be making his/her job easier if it was a good fit?
As for exclusive submissions, I get it when an agent asks for a length of time to read a ms exclusively. The time they spend is an investment. But if that time drags on ad nauseum, too bad. I have my own time frame which hopefully coincides with theirs.
And shouldn't a writer know who they'd prefer to have representing them before they buckshot submit to every agency on the planet? If you do your homework ahead of time, you won't have this problem, and you won't burn bridges.

Anonymous said...

"Hemmed them in?!?!" Only if the agent can't be tactful. I sent to an editor because of a conference thing, and then set about getting an agent. Editor came back with an offer, and I said that I was in the midst of getting an agent and thanks, we'll call you back. Agent and I considered offer, and went with someone else. The only thing that was out of the agent's control because of the conference request was who at that ONE house saw the manuscript. No one was hemmed in because no one forced us to take that first offer.

CozyMama said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Wow, I had no idea an agent might frown on that. I have 2 fulls out to an editor off a conference request, and I've been up front about that in all my queries. Glad to know that the only agents I'm offending are ones I wouldn't want anyway.

Anonymous said...

Yep - another anonymous chicken person. But this thread sort of ties in with my question about the use of the word "editor". I am in the process of finding someone to edit my novel - copy editing and content. I'm guessing that "querying editors" means querying publishing houses?

Miss Snark said...

Please desist equating "anon" postings with "chicken". The blog allow people to comment without leaving their names on purpose.

Argue all you want with that they actually say, or how well they express it.

Miss Snark said...

"querying editors" means submitting your work to editors. "looking for an editor to work on my manuscript" is what you mean. Querying versus hiring.

Dave Kuzminski said...

Here's one idea you might want to mention or expound upon in a later topic.

Believe it or not, some scams try to intimidate authors into remaining quiet when it begins to become clear that the scam business can't get the author published. Usually, this involves the threat of blacklisting the author within the publishing industry. In at least two instances, there were clauses in the contracts that stipulated a "fine" for any disparaging remarks about the scam business.