Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Keep Track Of Your Submissions

I recently received a submission from an author who I have rejected in the past. Please understand authors can certainly submit new projects to editors and agents even if they have received a rejection for an earlier projects. There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, it is pretty much encouraged, especially if you have learned from what you did in the prior project. In the case of this particular author, however, it was the 4th project he had sent to me, all of which were not either romance or
women's fiction. In the case of the last one, it was a collection of poetry.

In each of the prior rejections, I did note the submission didn't meet the submission guidelines and included the link to the website as well. But, with this last rejection, he replied with a statement that he was working with a "huge database of names" and "had over 1000 contacts" and to "excuse any later submissions to me that might just occur."

Now, while this might sound like a justifiable argument on his end, he still needs to keep track of who he sends projects to. He also needs to be aware that the projects he sends out are indeed what people are looking for.

I am betting this author is doing what a lot of authors are doing out there. There are a lot of resources out there that have databases and lists of names of those editors and agents you want to send your story to. I have no problem with authors using these sites. It is, in fact, a great tool to use when narrowing down your searches. But here is the thing. Even if those sites have email addresses or postal addresses to send submissions to, it is still your responsibility to do your research and to make sure you aren't A) sending something we have already seen; or B) sending something the person doesn't represent.

Here at Greyhaus, I keep a database of every submission that comes through the agency. I record the name of the author, the title, the genre, the date submitted, the date I replied as well as a comment on what I was thinking at that time. When I type a name into the database, if the person has submitted in the past, I can see what they submitted and what happened to the prior project. As I tell my kids, "this isn't rocket science." When I see someone who seems to have a track record of submitting projects over and over again that don't fit, the odds are I will start to not take this person seriously, even if there is a project in the future that is a perfect match. Why? Because it is clear this person is doing nothing but throwing darts and hoping something sticks.

I have mentioned this in the past, but you really shouldn't be sending your story out to 50 or 100 different editors and agents. Your story is not that flexible of a project. In the case of publishers, the odds are your story fits with 20 different publishers at the most, and even that number is pretty generous. The same idea applies to agents. Not every agent is right for you, your style, your writing and your personality.

Look, go ahead and start with those databases out there for your searches, but take the time to do your research.  I know I have made every effort possible to guide those databases into putting a link in following the Greyhaus Literary Agency name to say you need to review the submission guidelines found on the website, WITH the link attached. Please also keep a list of who you send things to. You don't want to burn any bridges should you end up with a great project we want to see in the future!

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