Thursday, January 14, 2010

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

When you get a full manuscript request via email, I'm supposed to treat it like I were sending it snail mail and include a title page with all my information on the first page of my manuscript, correct? What if I got so overwhelmed with my excitement I forgot to do so? My gut says to send another email, admit to my fault/unprofessionalism and give an apology. Though, a small part of me is worried that because I didn't give the information, my manuscript - upon opening- was immediately placed in the electronic trash. I did, however, give all of my information in the email that my manuscript was attached to. I'll be honest, I'm kicking my own butt for this.

First of all, congratulations! A full request is incredibly exciting and obviously anxiety-inducing. My one bit of advice is relax, look at the bigger picture, and don’t worry about the little things. In fact, it’s my advice to all of you submitting, querying, and generally working toward publication. Relax. As far as I’m concerned you’ve done everything right, you just made a mistake. Not a big deal, we all make mistakes. The agent has your email, she has your contact information and she has the most important thing, the most updated, revised and best copy of your manuscript. Your manuscript is what the agent will focus on. It’s all she’ll focus on. No agent is going to request a full manuscript and then reject it because you forgot a cover letter. She might reject it if you’ve written the entire thing in 9-point script font, but that’s another story, and potential eye-surgery.

You asked if you should contact the agent and apologize for not including the cover letter. No. Simply let it go.

Those of you who regularly read this blog and read other agent blogs know what you need to do, and I would guess most of you are doing the right things. Your struggle toward publication at this point is not about the lack of a cover letter or an email address, your struggle is creating a compelling query, writing the perfect, marketable, saleable manuscript, and finding that right person at that right time. Those are the hard things, the rest is the stuff that simply adds shine. So worry about the hard things, because certainly that’s enough to keep you up at night; let the little things go. Mistakes happen. No big deal.