Tuesday, June 1, 2010
No Response Unless Interested by Terry Burns
I get it. There are thousands upon thousands of authors submitting books right and left. I understand of necessity publishing houses adopting a “no response unless interested” policy to cut down on the work needed, particularly with staff cutbacks in recent times.
However, it seems to me the policy should be different for agents sending submissions. We are culling through hundreds of submissions picking out the projects we choose to send, and we do our best to determine what might be the best fit for the editor that we are submitting to. I would think it would be professional courtesy to answer agents even if such a policy exists regarding the general public.
I work for my clients by definition, however, initially it is more like I work for the editors that I interface with. I’m trying to find something that they might be looking for, something that fits that catalog spot that they are trying to fill. Once a potential fit is determined, then I am all about representing my client from that point forward.
If I get no response, or just a “not for us” that doesn’t give me any information that will allow me to do a better job of finding what that editor might or might not like. Fortunately most of the editors that I work with are great about this and they give me input that will help me help them. That’s why I work as many conferences as I do, to try and establish relationships with them and I count a lot of them as good friends by this point.
As I said, I really do get it, I just think instead of saving themselves work, those who adopt this policy are creating work for themselves by including the professionals as we continue to try and find out what works instead of better targeting our efforts.