In my blog posts I rarely talk about the daily happenings of the agency, for a couple of reasons: one is that nothing is ever the same from day to day, and two is that I just don’t think it makes for exciting reading. I would rather focus on teaching you things you want to know. However, lately I’ve received a few questions that don’t necessarily warrant full blog posts, but do deserve answers, and I wanted to also share a few things that have made us laugh.
- Chuckle: The submission that is clearly forwarded each time an agent rejects it. I saw it with two forwards, Jacky saw it a day or two later with fourteen.
- Question: Submissions should always be single-sided and loose (not bound or stapled, although binder clips and rubber bands are fine) with page numbers. It never hurts to include the author name and/or title on each page. And of course make sure it’s double-spaced.
- Question: We do accept submissions from outside the U.S.
- Chuckle: The author who responds to an email rejection with a list of those agents she’s still planning to submit to.
- Question: Would a completed 225-page cozy at 56,000 words be too small for cozy publishers? Typically, yes. My advice is that you try to bring it up a lot, another 20,000 words, unless you have a hook that’s out of this world. Something nobody has thought of yet, but just hearing it we know it will sell twenties of thousands of copies. In that case you could probably send it in a little short. In the end, though, you’ll probably want it longer. 55,000 words makes a very slight book, one that readers might be hesitant to spend $7 on.
- Chuckle: In response to the pitch critiques on the blog I was emailed (and Jacky and Kim were cc’ed) to be told how “narcissistic, gratuitous and self-promotional” the blog was (which, after some thought, I realized that this is really what a blog is) and accused of copyright infringement for taking plot synopses from query letters and critiquing them for my own amusement. Clearly he hadn’t read the blog carefully. However, in case anyone else is confused, the material we critique on the blog, partials, whatever—is only posted because the authors have given permission for us to do so.
- Question: Fonts: use something that’s comfortable to read. A sans serif like Arial or Courier or a standard font like Times or Times New Roman is fine. Typically 12-point is fine. If you’re not sure, test it. Print out 50 pages and read them. If your eyes start to cross, so will mine.
- Question: What’s the difference between autobiographies and memoirs. Nothing really. I think memoir has become a trendy term for autobiography. That being said, I typically think of autobiographies as being written by famous people, while memoirs are from the common man. That’s just me, though.
- Question: If my work is most similar to authors like Jodi Picoult, Jacquelyn Mitchard, or newcomers Judy Merrill Larson or Kristy Kiernan, how would I classify it? I would say Women’s Fiction.