First thing this morning I rejected three inquiries from people who wanted to be my clients. They made my choices easy.
While none of the projects were in genres I felt well-positioned to represent, that's not what made my decisions easy. None gave more than a hint of having read and followed the directions.
The Hartline Literary website details what we need to see from a potential client. It spells out the vital elements of a book proposal. There's a reason for such specificity. Without a complete picture, we can't correctly assess a project's potential—and neither can a publisher's acquisitions editor.
I just returned from the annual convention of a book collectors group. In my five years with them, I've gotten to know the people—and what to expect from them. Some I can count on to do the right thing. I enjoy being around them and try to help them if I can. Other think they deserve special privileges. I try to be polite, but ...
I was reflecting on that convention experience as I reviewed this morning's emails.
One person concluded her query by asking if I'd like to review the full manuscript. (Nope. If I were interested, I'd like to study her proposal.)
The next (a retired CIA agent working on a spy novel) sent his resume in the hope I'd take him on as a client. (I told him to wait until he'd finished his novel, then send a proposal for it.)
The third, who'd written a combination memoir/devotional, send three attachments: a table of contents, three chapters, and a sample devotion. All important elements, but lacking key ingredients—especially in a buyer's market.
Maybe they are fantastic potential clients—just too new to writing to know the expectations. So in my responses I tried to educate them. But I'd rather work with someone who comes across as a serious professional.