Wednesday, 26 November 2008

How not to #8

Continuing with our 'How not to' guest blogs, bestselling author and former literary agent Orna Ross explains what NOT to say to an Agent or Editor:

“Hi, me again! Did you not get my other five messages?”

It’s a tough road that we travel as writers, especially starting out. Putting words to paper every day and wondering if anybody will ever care. It’s also tough work at the front line of publishing. So… agents and publishing houses have a system. A submissions procedure and a follow-up procedure, usually clearly laid out on their website or in listings or directories.

It really does make it easier for everyone if writers understand why this is necessary and cooperate. Repeated “checking” communications can quickly feel like badgering and don’t help your manuscript along. They may even - human nature being what it is - cause it to be set aside. Like everyone else, agents and editors prefer to work with those who are easy going and understanding.

So check the guidelines before you submit. And then, try to be patient — even if it all takes what feels like an unfeasibly long time.