Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Submission Mistakes

I know we have talked about this before but in the last two weeks I have received submissions that fall into this category. Now maybe these people just like receiving rejection letters and are simply interested in cheap wall paper, but darn it, I am tired of writing rejections for things like this.

First of all, we all know that many of you use form letters for all of your agents and editors. O.K. I promise not to go off on the idea of how your letter needs to be personalized. I'll save that for later. The problem is to make sure that A) you change the address and letterhead; B) you still address the letter to the specific editor or agent and not simply "To Whom It May Concern"; and C) Don't just write one letter and cc it to us.

Now, I will give you one mistake if you typed the wrong name in. That happens, but when the whole package isn't addressed to me, uses the wrong address and the letter is addressed to someone else, that is a certainty for a rejection letter.

As for the cc'd message. That one I think was taken care of by another agent. When we all received this message, this person simply did a reply all and hinted that maybe they should try a bcc function. Yes, we get the hint that you are mass emailing it, but we don't end up finding out who we are also being considered with.

Now, here is the last problem. Same thing I have said before. DO YOUR RESEARCH! Greyhaus Literary Agency focuses only on romance and women's fiction. I don't do cookbooks, I don't do biographies and memoires (although Laura Bush, I know you are looking for an agent so swing on by!) and I don't do children's books. I also know other agents are also clear with what they look for.

Writing a response to you takes time! Save your self the postage. Save yourself the headache, and together, let's save a tree or two with all of the submission material. Be smart when submitting.


1 comment:

  1. Hi Scott,

    I had to laugh as I was reading this post. Not because of the general frustration agents must find in this type of mistakes, but because over the last two weeks I've developed a new respect for agents and what they do.

    We held our first pitch session on my blog, and I stopped taking pitches when I'd doubled the amount that I needed for the Agent visiting days.

    I honestly thought, double the pitches, no problem, I'm sure MOST writers followed the guidelines, so I'll have no problem with meeting my qouta. Yeah, right.

    Simple things, like wordcount, contact info, even the title, were forgotten.

    Kudos to agents and editors alike who deal with this all the time. It's too bad more aspiring writers don't take the time to see this as the business it is.

    (Although we did get some great pitches in, so some out there are playing by the rules!)

    Candi Wall