Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday at the Question Emporioum

Dear Janet --

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. On to the question.

I know the general advice is to not "bother" agents with a phone call. But...

In early July, I sent a query (which included one sample chapter) to an agent. Their website explicitly says, if you don't hear back in two months please DO write back. So, after not hearing anything for two months I re-sent the email. She got back to me later that day, apologized, and said she would look at the sample chapter that night. A few days later she wrote back and asked for the first 50 pages. (Woo-
hoo!) I sent it that afternoon.

Two months passed, with no word. So I wrote once again to ask whether the 50 pages had arrived. She wrote back a few days later to say it had not. Naturally, I re-sent it.

Part of me wanted to call as soon as I hit "send" to let her know it had been sent. But I did not. So my question is, should I have called? I fully get that under normal circumstances it would be annoying to call right away to say, "You should have it." But given the problems I'd been having it seems reasonable.

As a related question, it was one week ago that I re-sent the 50 pages. The next business day to call would be Monday, more than 10 days after the fact. Would it be pointless to call at this time?

For starters, you've got some revealing punctuation in your question: "bother"

This is what it should be: bother

Do not call an agent or agency unless asked to do so.

There are no exceptions to this rule.

Not even yours.

In this case it's entirely appropriate to send an email with the re-sent pages asking her to let you know they've been received. When this kind of snafu happens here at the Reef (and it does) I'm glad to set a writer's mind at ease.

And you can email her on Monday to do that too: Dear Agent, I just want to make sure my breathtaking 50 pages arrived last week. Normally of course I would not inquire, but the first salvo missed the mark.

Do not telephone. Not with an offer. Not with a question. Not with news that whisky is flowing in the streets of Manhattan.


Janet said...

Whiskey's flowing in the streets of Manhatten? Would that be single malt or blend?

As always, Janet, love your Question Emporioum and your candid advice. Hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving... for that glass of whiskey!

Anonymous said...

The inverse of course doesn't apply, and writers should be informed of any hard liquor flowing down the streets, immediately.

Laura Hughes, MittensMorgul said...

What if the whiskey is flowing in the streets of a town outside the range of your superior selachian senses? Should we at least post that to Twitter or something? Yeah, I'm thinking that sort of "disaster" would make the national news anyway.

Mark Koopmans said...

It's too early for whiskey... for some reason my head still hurts from last night.

Janet said...

Hair of the dog, Mark, hair of the dog!

Jon Hanna said...

She said whisky. It would be much more serious if it was whiskey.