Friday, June 24, 2011

Agency Blacklist

Querying literary agents is a miserable business.

Back in the day, it was kind of exciting (when I was still naive enough to expect the first agent I queried would shout: "Hurrah! At last!" and offer me a 5-book deal and a seat next to Sophie Kinsella at the next authors brunch). But mostly, its just miserable. Lots of rejections and lots of simply not hearing anything--which somehow is even worse. I've met some agents and follow a few blogs. They all recognize they're "woefully behind" and appologize for taking so long to get back to us eager, hopeful, wretched writers. Below is just a taste of what we have to deal with. /sigh/ Are you feeling at least a little of my pain?

(PS: I doubly appreciate the cake advice. Must try soon.)

GK, do you have a blacklist? I hear this is something other agents have done. And am I on it? It's been a really long time since I've heard from you. I sent two check-ins [dates included--which I will not repeat here because they were a long time ago] and never heard back.

Wow! That's a thing? I had no idea! It makes sense, though. When you're in touch with so many people, and put in the position of saying no to such a personal aspect of life and work, there will inevitably be the few who threaten to set you on fire.So, though I wouldn't consider it a formal one--and it contains fewer that five people--yes. All for fire-like offenses. I like myself uncooked, thank you. And wear appalling amounts of sunscreen to stay that way.

Now, in terms of not getting back--I am horribly behind on my correspondence. In this particular case, I'm especially behind because it's a matter of knowing (over email) the writer, wanting to give a really good response of the "here are the things you have to do to make this work" variety--but, with expectations like those, very little actually gets done. And then I feel guilty for not writing for so long. And thus wait even longer.Yes. In a weird twist, I usually take longer to get back to the people I know and like.To give you an idea of how incredibly behind I am, I haven't responded to my real-mail penpal since February. And you know how much of an advocate I am for real letters. (Really. Send them everywhere! Even a well-placed line or two can make a huge difference. I'm sure most companies assume that, for every real letter, there are ten or twenty people who have the same opinion but are too lazy to write.)So, yes. I do have an informal blacklist of 3-5.But, if you haven't made any flammable threats, you are not on it

In reference to the "you're probably not on GK's blacklist" post:
Definitely the first thing you should ever acquire when querying is a stolid (and by stolid I mean Death Star impenetrable) sense that it's all business and nothing personal. That way you don't make up funny things like 'I must be on a blacklist!' or, 'They're reading Elvis' manuscript before mine! He must've gotten back from that alien ship!'

The second things you should acquire, of course, are a really good muffin pan and a bag of homemade frosting.

Good advice. And may I recommend Bake it in a Cake?

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