Friday, June 09, 2006

Question of the Month, Part 3

What are your pet peeves?

All writers have heard it before. Publishing professionals get a lot of submissions. Agents and editors get about as much mail every day as Santa Claus does every December. As the esteemed agency representative who gets to open all of her own mail as well as all packages addressed to BookEnds, each swipe of the letter opener makes this peeve cut a little deeper. I get really annoyed when submitters don't do their homework. I'd say at least 40% of the submissions we receive are completely unrelated to the type of work we represent. It's simple enough to find out what we're looking for. Just go to our Web site ( There's even a list of what we handle and what we don't under "Submissions." Nevertheless, I still get picture books about Harvey the pig's day at the farm, haiku collections and detailed textbooks on mathematical formulas I'll never understand (I majored in English for a reason, people). Believe it or not, the reason BookEnds doesn't represent children's books, science fiction, academic material, poetry, short story collections, etc., is not to vex writers. These are areas of publishing we just don't know enough about. In many cases, it's a whole different set of publishers and editors with whom we've never had any contact. So ultimately sending these projects to BookEnds is a waste of the author's time (and postage). I think the next time I get one, I'm going to send back a lump of coal!