Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Joys of Hell, II

So. I've spent the last few days expanding my list of agent and publisher queries, which has grown to ten. They include the following: Joy Harris Agency, Ann Rittenberg Agency, Scott Waxman Agency, Dystel & Goderich Agency, Ooligan Press, Trident Media Group (2 different agents), The Bent Agency, and Hawthorne Books.

You may notice that I've approached two different agents in the same agency, Trident. What are the ethics of this, or do ethics even apply? And no, I didn't notify either agent of my "multiple" query. I will admit to some ignorance in the matter of "acceptable practice" for submissions and queries.

Years ago, the standard practice included explicitly stating, if you did the multiple thing, that you were doing so. Now, however, that doesn't seem necessary. In the case of Hawthorne Books, their website said they were backlogged with submissions until December of 2010, and that they wouldn't be reading any new submissions, but I queried them anyway, saying my novel is ready now. Is this "risky"?

I consider my queries and submissions, whether or not they follow the exact letter of submission/query requirement, as "shots in the dark." (I actually use this phrase in some queries.) So far I've taken ten "shots," and as far as I can tell most of them are still speeding through the immense and very dark world of publication and hitting nothing.

I've gotten one reply, from the Scott Waxman Agency, saying they "won't be pursuing representation at this time." I immediately fired back an email asking, "Why?" So far, no response.

Update: I've been chastised by a dear writing friend, Jessica, about the ethically-challenged practice of multiple queries to the same agency, and I promise I won't do that anymore. Honest.

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