Monday, September 13, 2021

The agent told me something different than what's on her website! Help!

What do you mean follow the directions? Which ones?

(1) What if an agent asks for a partial and is then closed to queries when the manuscript is ready?
(2) Or what if the instructions to submit a referral go against the agency submission instructions?
(3) In a word, what happens when you get varied instructions for the same task, and aren't sure which path to follow?


(1) Send the partial. You're not cold querying when you're responding to a request for more material. 

(2) Do what the agent told you. The published guidelines on the website are more general than the specific instructions an agent gives you directly. 

(3) Always do what the agent tells you. In the absence of specific, individual (or in-person like a class) instructions, follow what the website says. 



Any questions?


E.M. Goldsmith said...

I really hate I missed yesterday but Liverpool was playing and I was at our little underground pub watching. It's a thing. But really missed seeing Reef dwellers.

On this, I am not sure if it is helpful, but I noticed with the agent I am working with, once she requested stuff, she used a different email address from the one she uses for receiving queries to ask me for additional material. Also, I sent my original materials from the email I used to sign up for the workshop (my regular email). This was not a querying situation.

On the cover sheet of the materials themselves, I included my official writer's email, website etc.. Anyhow, she loved my stuff and responded to my official writer's email address to request more material. And now none of our correspondence is ever mixed in with the people that query her.

I don't know if other agents do that, but I have noticed I get responses within hours every time I email her so it is really different than it would be for a cold query. She is also closed to queries right now, but my last email got a prompt response so it does not mean you, OP, if materials are requested and wanted. I suspect that is usual for agents. They are not willy-nilly requesting materials. They don't have that kind of time. So send, send, send according to instructions. And feel free to ask for clarification on requested materials if you are uncertain whether to send as attachment, what kind of synopsis, etc. The agent is interested and will not mind.

Craig F said...

Hopefully it is non-fiction. If not, you should be ready when you query. The only good response to a request like that is "I'll send it tomorrow."

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

I'm not sure I understand question #1 - if you're querying, ms should be ready to go, right? So, yes to what Craig said.

I'd like to add: after months and months of querying, months of being terrified to hit "send" but doing it anyway, months of fretting and beating myself up for wording something not quite right - the entire process became much less stressful when I made myself relax, and reminded myself that agents and publishers are not a higher order of humans. They are no more, no less human than those of us seeking someone to believe in our writing.

If you can find a way to ease the pressure on yourself, I believe you will be more authentic.

Janet Reid said...

There are times (conferences and the like) when a ms may not be ready when the agent asks for it.

OR the agent liked the partial and wanted the full, and the author wanted to revise in light of agent's comments (this happens a LOT).

Karen McCoy said...

Sorry I missed this post and am so late to the party! Very hectic start to the week. And Janet is right--this scenario has happened to me. A lot of agents say if they request at a conference, they don't care how long it takes. So take your time.

Also love Melanie's advice. Relax, and go with the flow!