Don’t Send Me Everything You’ve Got
I’ve written previously about authors arguing with me when I send them a rejection. They write back trying to convince me that I’m wrong and I should take another look.
There’s another kind of “not taking no for an answer” I get sometimes that seems like a better approach because it’s not an argument, but I have to be honest, I don’t like this one any better.
It’s when people respond to my pass letter with a list of their four or six or ten other ideas. They say, “Okay, you didn’t like that one but I have plenty more! Do any of these interest you?” Then a list of pitches.
This rarely works out for either of us. I can’t tell in such a brief format whether your ideas are marketable or not. Also, you don’t know whether I passed because I didn’t like the idea, or because I felt your writing wasn’t quite good enough, or because you have no platform.
It’s GREAT to have a list of book ideas! Take it to your critique group, discuss it with friends, or consider hiring a freelance editor or consultant to help you identify your most viable book ideas. More importantly, try to determine if it’s the idea or the writing itself or your platform (or any combination thereof) that’s causing you problems. Go from there.
In any case, please respect the time of the agents and editors you approach. Don’t send them a laundry list unless you are invited to do so (which sometimes happens when a writer is extremely impressive).
Choose which idea you want to pitch. Make sure you have the required materials—a complete manuscript, or a proposal and sample chapters. Then craft a terrific query and send it out there.
Have you been tempted to send an agent a whole list of ideas? What did you decide to do instead?
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