Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Blog Flog! And NOT A Letter of Rejection

Ahhh, it has been a while since I posted one of these, but, once again, I had Grade A Material to work with here. Along the same lines, I can kill two birds with one stone here. First, this is a  chance for you to see what agents adn editors do get on a pretty regular basis; Secondly, to give you some insight into the rationale for many of our rejections; and finally, to provide an open letter that IS NOT a rejection (You will understand further in this post).

Dear Sir or Madam,

Pleae be advised this letter is being sent to multiple literary agencies as well as editors who work for publishers, I am ware this is not your usual method of recieving what you think is a submission. This is not a submission. It is, in point of fact a search for an agent, pr publisher's in-house editor, who has what it takes to see and understand my vision and help me maximize opportunities associated with that vision so that both of us can earn a lot of money.

O.K. at least she told me this was a simultaneous submssion, but at least take the time to personalize it. Not a major hang up though. Where we run into the problem is the massive amount of verbage at the end of this first paragraph. She is supposedly not submitting anything to us, just looking for an agent (FOR WHAT???) And don't get me started on "editors who work for publishers."

Now at this point, I am not going to bore you with the next two paragraphs that outline all of the amazing things this person has done with writing Let me just say that we have a huge list of writing things that should tell me the person knows how to write, but by the end of the first page of this submission we have seen nothing. Here is the funny part. Several of her published books were focused on successful resume writing skills.

Now we get to the end of the first page and she tells me of the books that she has available. One novella; One Memoir, which she believes is perfect for an HBO or Showtime Movie, (wow I wish I was that popular); and one crime novel; another resume book... Oh, and this is the good one Another book whose title and scope are bing kept under wraps until it is complete, but the contests for it are now being researched and compiled... and the list goes on and on.

This is for the author now and coming from the "not a rejection" portion of this post. I am glad you are writing in all of these areas but as you know from the information clearly posted on my website, Greyhaus only represents romance and women's fiction, but since the stories you have (but are not submitting) are not in either of these areas, I just don't think I can help you (but please note this is not a rejection or acceptance since you are not writing a submission letter).

But wait, there is more. I'm only going to tap into the highlights here...

She does have a full parargraph of how she is a businessperson and how she is only interested in agents who are willing to see her career goals and work with her. She also goes on to say that using the old model of selling books is not going to work any more and has proven to be a complete failure. Of course, she is going through an agent to sell her books (woops, forgot she isn't submitting anything).

If, after discussion by phone (because she refused to send a SASE but that is OK, because this isn't a submission), it is mutually beneficial to meet in person and you will not be in [insert city name] in the foreseeable future, I am willing to travel. I am not foolish with my money. I will not signe on a deal that is bad for me and I will nto allow an agent to do so in my name....

So, apparently I am supposed to be totally amazed at what she is not pitching to me that I am to hop on an airplane and fly immediately to her to beg her to sign on with me. But, even then, it sounds as if I have to go through several trials and tests to evaluate my willingness and worthiness.

And her comes the P.S....

I am not looking for anyone whose first inclination in reply is "Please see our submission guidelines" (this isn't a submission), "You really need to check out... (a publication or website), or "You need to educate yourself on the marketplace" (that's why I want an agent, they are supposed to know the market).
Nor am I looking for anyone who will tell me something is impossible  that I cannot do that, or I am not allowed to do that.
But if you are one of the best agents, that wouldn't have been what you would have said anyway.

Well, I honestly don't know how to answer this. It's not a submission. You don't want to hear this is something I don't represent. You don't want me to remind you the information is posted on the website. And, you don't want me to recommend learning what goes into a submission letter because I, as an agent, already know what goes into a submission letter. Hmm, what do I say?

You don't want me to tell you something is impossible, even if it might be. O.K. I won't tell you then. You don't want me to tell you this is something I cannot do or not allowed to do it, so I won't tell you that either.

I guess the only thing I can say is for someone who, is "not foolish with my money"  the first class postage you put on this letter and those that went out to who knows how many other people, the money for the paper and the color printing you did with the letter, the business cards with your photo on it, and the time it took to do all of this, will get you a lot of one thing. No letters and no responses from editors or agents. Heck, we have nothing to respond to.

Best of luck with your writing.

Scott Eagan


  1. Yikes! How do you make it through the day without ripping out every hair on your head?

  2. Why does this person think this letter would merit any kind of success? If some salesman came to my door and tried to sell me something they couldn't show me, but expected me to buy it because they have "great vision/skills", nobody would fault me for sending the guy on his way.

  3. Yes, the process of trying to find an agent can be a pain ... however ... this this post reminds me how lucky I am to be on my side of the equation.

    You have a special place in heaven waiting for you where you will find all the socks that mysteriously disappeared from the dryer and where you will not have to read anymore letters like this one :)

  4. Did the paper smell faintly of alcohol? Because, really--how can a sober person write that?

  5. Amazing letter! Just imagine what the books must be like. I'm not saying they would be contradictory and inflated. Nothing like that . . . :-)

  6. Wow, reading that makes me cringe! Did she have any clue whatsoever as to how to write a decent letter, let alone a non-submission letter? Argh. Sorry you had to endure that torture.

  7. oh, ummm, wow. i'm speechless. someone actually wrote that? the tone and approach in that letter is jaw-dropping in any industry, not just publishing. once i get over my shock, i'll probably break out in uncontrollable laughter. you're such a good sport to put up with those. that's where the delete button is a beautiful addition to your day. thanks for the laugh...which i know will come any moment now.

  8. Holy Freaking Moley!

  9. I have no words. If I were an agent, I'd keep the queries of those that became my clients and read all of them to sustain the horror.

    I'm seriously thinking that I should open up an agent hotline for instances like this. I have a feeling queries are only going to get worse.

    I can hear myself saying, "Put the non-query down..."

  10. Scott,
    I absolutely love this. I have so much fun reading Blog Flogs. Thank you for entertaining us. Amazing stuff people send you...and tra, la, la.

  11. Wow. She could totally get published.

    If you put together an anthology of your worst submissions-that-are-not-submissions, because this is fantastic entertainment.

    I'd buy it.

  12. This is hilarious. I'm with Christine. I'd totally buy a book of these things.

    There's something in the syntax that suggests this person may have been previously employed as a Nigerian spammer. Perhaps that's where he/she got this "valuable" writing experience?