Friday, October 12, 2007

No Phone Calls Please!

Do not call an agent to pitch your book! I can't stress this enough. If agents took calls of this nature they would never have any time to get work done. Think about it - I get more than thirty queries a day, and usually more - and if I had to have a three minute phone conversation with each author about their project that would mean I would spend an hour and a half of each day talking about a project without getting any sense of whether you can even write! I can evaluate a written query far faster than you can pitch it orally, and I'll actually get a sense of your writing style as well.

Every agent I know prefers queries by either email or mail, and you should check their websites or book listings to confirm their preference.

Here are the only valid exceptions that I can think of for this rule:

1) Time is of the essence. For example, you have already received an offer or are expecting an offer from a publisher.

2) The agent was referred to you by one of the agent's clients or associates (for example, an editor or film agent).

3) You have big-time credentials (for example, your work has been published recently by a major commercial house).

In addition, please do not call to follow up on queries sent by mail or email. If you haven't heard back from an agent in a long time about a query, you should follow up in the same format that you sent the original query in.

As for following up on the submission of a partial or full manuscript sent at an agent's request, I personally still prefer to receive a follow up email, and not a phone call, though other agents may feel differently.

So if you've called me or any other agent in the last few weeks and left a voice mail about a new book you have and were wondering why we never called back, and you don't qualify under any of the above-listed exceptions, hopefully this explains things.


Maya Reynolds said...

I've never understood this.

If I mailed a query and didn't hear back, I just assumed the agent wasn't interested. It never occurred to me to waste either my time or theirs by bugging them--by phone, email or carrier pigeon.

I always regarded any response at all as lagniappe.

bran fan said...

This is what I dislike about verbal pitches at conferences, too. Agents can't tell how well you write by how you pitch. Some just turn down everything. Some accept sample chapters of everything, figuring it will all come out in the slush. Nobody really benefits.

Church Lady said...

Damn! And just as I finished the letter 'K.'

*hangs up phone and rips up agent list*

sex scenes at starbucks said...

Meeting face to face can work well. I made an acquaintance of an agent at a conference recently. She read 10 pages in a workshop and asked me for a full. I really don't think she asked for a full based only on the 10 pages (why not just chapters?) except that we talked and hit it off. In short, we learned we could actually work together--which is important.

Brit Blaise said...

Hey, Church Lady! Don't rip it up...