Monday, November 02, 2009

Random Questions

I can’t even begin to tell you how thankful I am for all of you who continue to send questions for the blog. It certainly makes my life easier when I don’t always have to come up with a topic on my own. That being said, frequently there are questions that have merit but are not lengthy enough for a full post. And that’s what we have here. A grouping of random questions sent in by readers.

After reading your blog, I was wondering is copyrighting one's material before sending it out for proposals something I should consider? Is that even done?

It is done all the time, but I don’t think it’s necessary. For one thing, the material will likely change drastically from the time you copyright it to the time it’s published, and for another, a copyright date will show an agent exactly how long the book has been shopped for, and if I were you, I’d like to keep something like that a secret.

I'm currently writing a humorous narrative based on my blog. When I submit my work to you, do I submit a Query letter and a Proposal for non fiction? I think I understand both processes, but the proposal seems very scientific for a collection of humorous short stories.

The “scientific” proposal, as you put it, is for non-narrative nonfiction. Narrative nonfiction, whether a collection of short stories, a memoir, or a collection of essays, should typically be submitted as if it were a fiction proposal. That means you will likely submit the first 50 pages or so and a synopsis. Keep in mind, the only time you send a proposal to BookEnds is if it’s requested. We ask for simply a query first.

If you don’t mind, I am wondering if it is appropriate to send a query letter with proof of delivery? Or would that be considered rude?

I don’t think it’s rude, just a matter of peace of mind. Just make sure no one has to sign for anything, ever. It makes an agent’s life easier. All that being said, it might just be cheaper to send out your queries and requery in the specified amount of time if no answer is received (and you know you’re following guidelines).

I am currently unpublished, but I have a background in business and marketing. For work I write one of the blogs for our younger customers, as well as the product descriptions for the newsletter and promo blurbs for when we launch new products and for when we send out press kits. I never thought of actually mentioning this in my author bio. Do you think I should?

I think it’s up to you. Certainly you can mention them because they are writing credits, but if you’re currently writing fiction I don’t think it’s going to give you an edge either way. Let’s put it this way, it can’t hurt, but it’s not necessarily going to help either.



magolla said...

". . . requery in the specified amount of time if no answer is received"

INSERT: *maniacal laughter*

This will certainly teach those agents who don't bother to respond to queries!

HA! Back atcha, agents. Sure, no response is a no! It'll just get you deluged with repeat queries!

AM said...

Thanks for posting random questions.

My future questions are already being asked and answered before they've even been thunk! Nice.

Anonymous said...

". . . requery in the specified amount of time if no answer is received"

....How much time? Two months? Less? More?

Nicole said...

Yes, repeat query instead of (politely) asking about the original query's status. I did that once and got a rather rude reply. I like to think that maybe I just caught that agent on a bad day.

Still, I don't plan on querying them again for anything.

Anna Claire said...

FWIW, from what I've read on agent blogs, the "proof of delivery" thing is kind of a gauche beginner mistake. Unnecessary and makes you look kind of clueless. Plus if it requires agents to sign something to receive your letter, you're looking at automatic rejection from a lot of them because they hate that and don't have time to do it - like Jessica says, it makes their already-busy lives more complicated. Imagine if every one of the hundreds of queries they receive a week did that.

Mira said...

Interesting information - thanks

Haste yee back ;-) said...

Jessica... re: how long a scripts been been out!

Are ya tellin' me agents don't talk amongst themselves, like "Oh I turned that one down a year ago." Or, "I hung onto to it for six months, but it wasn't a definite yes or a definite no. Then I got busy and dada dada. Geeze, ya know, I don't think I ever gave that guy an answer."

I just can't imagine that y'all in N.Y. City don't have a ripe grapevine, or favorite waterin' hole where all this *stuff* is tongue-wagged thoroughly...

Haste yee back ;-)