A quick post this week to let the world know that I am anxious because I am meeting with an agent about my YA romance, I hope this week, and I don’t know if I’m more scared of it being rejected, or of what happens if he likes it. Rejection doesn’t bother me. I used to sell insurance. I used to sell real estate. Most of your interactions result in rejections. I’ve even sent thank-you notes to agents when they sent me a rejection, because that is so much better than the “dropped it down a deep, deep well” response. (That’s no response, if you don’t’ get it.)
But I’ve had very little experience, writing-wise, with acceptance. A few little things, yes, but nothing serious enough to really care about. What if he decides to rep it and nobody wants to buy it? What if I hate what my eventual editor wants to do to it? What if I’m not ready to promote a book the way it needs to be promoted? What if? Huh?
This pitch is different because I already know the agent in other contexts. He’s a good speaker, for instance. It all seems more intense when it involves someone I interact with already. It shouldn’t be. As I said, rejection is no big deal. Which leaves me to worry about acceptance.
So, anyway, I will of course report on the results. Gotta worry about something, huh?
Besides my sense of humor, what’s off is a manuscript. It was requested that I send it, “when it’s done.” Hell, when is a manuscript done? Beats me! But this does open up my topic for today, which is, simply, following the directions, and looking professional. Now, many people these days self-publish. Heck, I’ve done it, so I’m not one to criticize, but then again, there’s something to be said for letting someone else handle the final editing stages, cover selection, final title, release date, all of that. In fact, if you publish your own work, you still need to pay for all that, so you assume the risk. That’s why publishers can seem so shy; because they’re assuming a risk every time they pay out an advance. If the book doesn’t sell well, they never get their money back. And it’s why agents can seem so picky; they need to sell to those publishers. So, my points are as follows.
Follow the Directions. Every publisher, every agent, has a website with submission guidelines on it. If, as in this case, you get asked to submit from a pitch, congratulations! But you still need to see what they need for submissions. You probably don’t even have to ask, just read their guidelines online. Those are your directions, now follow them!
Look Professional. Your cover letter, your query, your synopsis, even your manuscript, must be free of typos, inconsistent formatting, bad grammar, spelling errors, and irrelevant information. It’s a business letter, so stick to business. Like, you asked for a submission, here it is, the synopsis is attached, and the first fifteen pages as you asked. Thank you for considering it. Sincerely, etc. Don’t beg, don’t tell them anything they don’t need to know at this time, and be polite. Simple enough, isn’t it?
I sure hope I did those things when I submitted that manuscript the other day!