March 20th, 2008

books

a note from Agent Manners regarding submissions etiquette

Picture this: Agent Manners is sitting in her office reviewing the deals announced on Publishers Marketplace. One entry catches her eye and makes her pause. The pitch sounds very familiar. The bell ringing in her head resolves itself into the fact that this sounds like the very same proposal that is sitting in her own submissions waiting to be read. It only takes a moment to confirm it. The author name, the title, the concept. Indeed, it's the very one.

While there is a still, small voice that recognizes the happy situation of the author having sold the book, Agent Manners finds it perplexing that the sale occurred without the author contacting her about being offered representation elsewhere. The PM entry lists an agent as having negotiated the deal, but one wonders how many other agents remain uninformed of the author's change in circumstances.

When Agent Manners offers representation, she goes so far as to ask the author whether there are other agents they need to contact to satisfy etiquette. At the very least, a note after the fact to those agents who may still potentially read the proposal, all unawares of the sale having already occurred, would be considerate. In that case, said agent can then spend valuable reading time on those who are still awaiting review, instead of those who apparently no longer require their services.