I love the suggestion we received from a reader to tell our story on how we got a client or clients. One of the stories I tell most often is an old one. It’s how Ellery Adams first became a BookEnds client.
Ellery Adams first queried me back in the day when everything was sent snail mail and we accepted unsolicited proposals. The agency was very new. I didn’t have many clients and spent most of my days hunting for someone new and wonderful. The hardest part of the job at that time was that we didn’t get a lot of super great submissions. We were brand new, barely anyone knew us, and there’s no way we were at the top of anyone’s submission list.
Luckily, Ellery took a chance. I read her proposal and loved it so used her SASE (that’s self-addressed stamped envelope for you young’uns) to request the full manuscript. It’s really hard to imagine that we rarely emailed back then. When the full arrived, probably a week or so later I immediately read it. It was rough and since Ellery was a new author I wasn’t sure if it was quite there yet so I used her newest SASE to send a revision letter. About a week later I got the full manuscript back from her, revisions and all. I was amazed at how fast she turned it around and, I’ll admit, a bit skeptical that she could have received my letter, done the revisions and snail mailed it back in such a short period of time. But she did, and she nailed it. This time I called to offer representation. That first book was published as A Killer Collection under the name J.B. Stanley.
I like to tell that story because I think it shows how far we’ve come in only 15 years. When I hear authors complain about how long it takes agents to respond or how much work submitting is for them I think back to the day when they had to print out each proposal (50+ pages), pack it in an envelope, stress over rubber bands v. folders v. binder clips, take it to the post office, mail it and then wait for the return of a SASE.
I was going to continue this post with tales of more recent clients, but I’m going to leave it as is. I sort of like the old school nature of it.