Saturday, August 2, 2014


A year ago, I had an MS ready to start pushing to agents/editors when the wonderful Carol Lynch Williams offered to look it over. She found issues. Since then, my writer’s group has gone over the thing again, cleaning and tightening. This week I finished it, wrote a query and submitted to an editor. Then appears an article on submitting.

Okay, maybe it came out with it before. It’s been a busy month. The editor at WIFYR gave us until the end of July to get anything sent off to her. I’ve been cramming to get the story in a shape to send off, so emails have not been looked at.

The article, “Submission Tip Checklist: Double-Check These 16 Things Before Sending Your Book Out” was written by Chuck Sambuchino who is somehow associated with Writer’s Digest. I subscribe to his mailings and a link to the article was embedded in another piece.

Fortunately, I’ve managed to follow most of the suggestions Sambuchino offers. I failed with the that says to make a final check on Twitter or their site to make sure they are still open for submissions. Another embedded article caught my attention, “Query Letter Pet Peeves - Agents Speak,” also by Sambuchino.

He says its not just a matter of what to write in the query letter, but what not to write. Among the irritants of agents:
-Bridget Smith of Dunham Literary, Inc., does not like vagueness. If you can’t tell her enough about the novel in the query then she will reject it.
-Shira Hoffman of McIntosh & Otis, Inc., mirrors the same. Some authors spend too much time on their bios without presenting essential story details.
-Linda Epstein of Jennifer De Chiara Literary reminds us that agenting and publishing are businesses and the query should be a business letter that should be professional and taken seriously.
-Nicole Resciniti of Seymour Agency agrees. We should treat the query as a job interview. It should be professional and concise and the writer should know their craft and understand the market.
-Bree Ogden of D4EO Literary wants to easily know what the manuscript is about. “It shouldn’t be an Easter egg hunt for the pot line,” she says.

Not included in the above are things such as glaring grammatical or spelling errors, mass emailings sent to a dozen or so other agents, and misspelling of the agent’s name or agency. Those seem rather obvious. Most of the agents in the article mentioned statements that tell the agent the story is “the greatest,” or a blockbuster or masterpiece. 

At WIFYR, agent Amy Jameson of A + B Works shared some of the treasured queries she's received. They included the above mistake extolling the brilliance of their own writing. One simply included a picture of the writer. While stunningly handsome, there was no mention of his story specifics. Amy rejected it.

Dang it. And to think I just blew a bunch of cash on a studio photographer.

(This article also posted at


Karin Brown said...

Good advice, Bruce. Good luck with your submission.

Bruce Luck said...

Thanks, Karin.

Tabitha Thompson said...

We expect to be notified about how your submission goes! Best of luck! And thanks for the tips and reminders. Sambuchino IS an excellent resource.