Agents Make Errors Too

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Nov 08 2018

With all the pressures of querying there is one thing authors should never beat themselves up over–simple human error. Because we are all humans and we all make errors. Sometimes I feel like the queen of them.

  1. You addressed your query to the wrong agent. Yep. I’ve totally addressed a pitch or an email to the wrong editor. Editors are no different. I can’t tell you the countless time I was cc’ed on an email to an author I don’t represent.
  2. You attached the wrong manuscript. I have about 4000 manuscripts on my computer and sometimes I’m submitting more than one at once. Yep, I’ve sent the wrong manuscript to the wrong editor.
  3. You forgot to attach the manuscript at all. I’m pretty sure I forget the attachment at least once a week. It could be a contract with my changes, a manuscript to the author with revisions, or material promised to an editor.
  4. You hit reply when you should have hit forward. Anyone who hasn’t done this doesn’t spend enough time on email.
  5. You had a typo, a poorly worded sentence or just a crummy grammar error. This is your first time to the blog if you think I’ve never done the same.

I’ll make a deal with you, I won’t judge you for normal human error if you don’t judge me for myne*.


7 responses to “Agents Make Errors Too”

  1. Avatar NICOLE PARTON says:

    Question: I know agents don’t have time to muck around. I also know writers sometimes mislabel their work, thinking a cut-y’r-heart-out, slash-n-dash horror thriller may qualify as Y/A if a teen wanders through the plot. Which maybe it does … Dunno.
    What usually happens when a writer submits a reasonably written blurb, query, and sample in an agent’s targeted genre, but of which that agent thinks: “Uh-uh! THAT’S not Y/A (fill in the genre blank).”
    Assuming the sample has merit, will an agent generally pass it along to another agent who drools over slash -n-dash (in which case, his/her boss may want to keep an eye on that agent)? For an agent to relabel and forward a genre takes time; I’m guessing the demands of the job may not permit that luxury.
    I’m strictly talking mislabeled genres … Not queries tossed into the wind regardless of MSWLs. It seems to me some manuscripts don’t neatly fit into one category: A dilemma!

  2. Avatar Krystina says:

    Deal! 🙂

  3. Avatar Sandy in St Louis says:

    If someone says there was no attachment, I reply it must have fallen off as it was speeding through cyberspace so I’ve attached another copy which should have a better grip. Don’t ever blame the computer. It will get revenge. I do have a deal with Louie the Cat. I can sometimes say he stepped on the keyboard and hit Send before I was ready. It’s a costly bribe to invoke his name but worth it when desperate measures are called for.

  4. Avatar Frank Prem says:

    Just a thank you, Jessica. It’s good for a newbie publishing/self-publishing poet to read your insights and gain from your experience.



  5. Avatar JOHN T. SHEA says:

    So, agents are NOT really lizards from outer space plotting against all writers? I never guessed!

  6. Avatar CCClark says:

    In a business where many people don’t respond and don’t always show humanity, it made me want to query you and sign up for your blog.
    Thanks so much!

  7. Avatar AJ Blythe says:

    I know agents make mistakes, but that wouldn’t stop be fretting over mine.