Thursday, October 13, 2011

#AskAgent 7

I'm late to #AskAgent because I was writing an ed letter. :) Sorry!

Questions will be open 6pm to 9pm EST this week. I'll answer manana!


  1. As always, Meredith, thanks for taking the time to do this.

    Here's my question: How does your agency handle the slush pile? Do you and Ms. Lowenstein take turns sifting through it? Do you have a team of interns who deal with all the queries? Some combination of the two (or something else entirely)?

  2. Hi Meredith,

    When you receive a requested full manuscript, do you always send a confirmation email? If a writer sends an MS and doesn't receive a confirmation email, what course of action would you recommend?

    Thank you!

  3. Hope I'm not too late for this!

    I have a partial submitted to an agent and she's had it for the past three months. Since I submitted it, I received very helpful feedback from another agent which helped me realize some fundamental flaws in my ms. I have now revised the story considerably to removed a tired subplot and useless character, as well as add in a fully developed character. Since my ms. has changed so much, how do I go about telling the agent who has the five chapter partial? Or should I just wait to see what she has to say about the partial and then discuss possible changes?

  4. To what extent does ageism exist in selecting authors to represent? I am 60-years-old,a former news reporter and magazine editor . . . and I am about to complete a well-crafted novel. Given that my work meets an agent's/editor's standards, will my age work against me? Thanks

  5. @Krista

    Barbara puts the exclusive in exclusivity these days in terms of clients she takes on. She'll review queries that I forward to her, but she doesn't handle the slush at all.

    I work with a team of interns to handle the queries.

  6. @Letters And Numbers

    I have an automated received message that gets sent to senders of requested materials.

    If you don't get a received-your-materials response, from me or from another agent, wait until the response time expires before you email them again (for me that's six weeks).

    The reason is that your "Hey did you get my materials?" email is just going to clutter an already full inbox, and quite frankly it'll probably not be read for a few days (because of query backlog). Unless you get a bounceback notification, just trust technology.

  7. @Ms Snip

    I wouldn't recommend putting forth the new partial until the agent gets back to you or his or her reading period expires (typically four-to-six weeks), whichever comes first. You said she's had the partial for three months, so it would probably be OK to nudge her, unless her reading period is longer than that.

    But I personally wouldn't really know what to do with just a revised partial. That says to me that the rest of the book is unrevised and probably disjointed now that such huge changes have been made in the early parts.

    I probably wouldn't take another look until the whole book had been shifted in light of your major partial revisions.

    Unless I was in love with the project, naturally. :)

  8. Thanks for the advice! I have actually revised the whole novel, not just the partial. On an odd note, the agent got back to me on Friday and requested the full ms.
    So what do I do? Do I send her the original ms. the way it was when I first submitted it to her? Or is it okay to send her the revised ms. and let her know that I made some revisions? As an agent, would that put you off wanting a project?

  9. Good to know, Meredith! Guess we can add "slush wrangler" to your long list of accomplishments:)

  10. Which is more competitive - in terms of number of manuscripts flying around, or whatever measure you think appropriate: Middle grade fiction or adult fiction (mainstream/literary)?

    I have a project in each, and though they will not be querying at the same time, I'm curious as to which category is harder to break into as a first time author.

  11. Ms snip-- send the revised, but just send it.