Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Following up with editors and agents

So, I had a question that came up a couple of days ago about contacting editors and/or agents after receiving a rejection. What is the right thing to do?

For the most part, this is sort of a no no. In other words, the editor or agent has already taken time to read through your proposal, taken time to respond in a letter and that is it. Deal with the answer. This is mostly true for the editors out there. Remember they are reading these submissions on their own free time.

Now, agents have the right and will frequently follow up with further thoughts from the editor if a project is rejected. Sometimes this conversation will lead to a chance for resubmission after revisions. Writers simply do not have this chance.

If you get a rejection from an agent and the letter seemed pretty friendly, I think a quick note to "clarify" a comment would be fine. Please note I am saying to clarify the comments that the writer made. This is not a chance for you to attempt to get them to re-read the manuscript or to re-submit. This is also not the time to somehow get the point across to the agent that he or she misread your project or "missed the point."

So, how do you do this? A short note via email. Something that the person can respond to quickly. A letter will simply get thrown away because we don't want to take the additional time to type the letter, print it out and then get it to the mail. As for phone calls? NEVER!! This is a sure way of getting on their bad list.

I have to bring this last point up because I have had writers call. They, didn't call to clarify but to get me to justify my reason for rejecting their manuscript. Big time no no there. To add to the situation, when I attempted to expain to this person in better details why their story was rejected, the writer hung up on me.

I will say that one part of me wanted to call back (remember Caller ID?) and deal with the writer, but hey, that would have been mean. But you know something, I have said this before but we all keep databases. We all know who submitted, when they did and what they submitted. And more importantly, agents talk to other agents.

Hmmmm? You make the call on this one. Right or wrong approach?

Back to re-reading Outlander. Getting ready for the Sept. '09 release of the next installment of Jaime and Claire.



  1. That is just amazing to me. It would never occur to me to call, or write, or complain about an agent's response, or lack thereof.
    When I said it was getting ugly out
    And you are one of the good guys. I wouldn't worry about being "mean." I wouldn't waste one second getting back to Mr. Really Rude either. He (or she) will make his own problems as he trudges through this life.
    I've heard it all now.

  2. I probably would have called him or her back just to hang up on THEM!
    People are so thoughtless.

  3. You and me both! (On waiting for the next book from writing Goddess Diana Gabaldon!) She is going to be at a writing conference that I'm going to in June and I'll consider every penny spent to get there well worth it just be in the same room with her for a while.
    And thanks for the good career advice and your thoughts on the industry.