Saturday, 12 June 2010
I'd prefer to blame Royal Mail, on the whole...
This round of submissions I've taken to enclosing a stamped self-addressed postcard for the agent to post to let me know my chapters have arrived. The messages I put on them are getting increasingly frivolous:
Your chapters are now with our team of readers, being passed eagerly from hand to hand was the latest.
And the worrying thing is, three out of five haven't come back.
Is this because Royal Mail has lost my submissions, or my postcards? London deliveries are now so unreliable, this could easily be the case. Or have my envelopes joined a tottering stack of similar unopened submissions, waiting till the lowliest intern has time to send the lot form rejections? I can imagine that, too.
Unpublished writers are told to do our research; personalize our query, check out the writers the agent represents, submit in the exact format the agent requires. It's a downer to feel that this doesn't mean our submissions will necessarily even be read. My feeling is that the slush pile has now become such a burden to agents that they prefer to find their authors elsewhere. I've been approached by one agent via Authonomy, and by another after submitting a short story for a contest.
No wonder people pay Cornerstones or The Literary Consultancy hundreds of pounds in the hope of being thought good enough for referral to an agent, or throng to literary festivals to pitch their novels in person, or spend £99 on a day's writing workshop at Harper Collins' headquarters. These days, unless a new writer is very lucky, he needs to find some shortcut that avoids the slush. Any ideas?
Posted by Lexi at Saturday, June 12, 2010