Mark Terry

Friday, June 25, 2010


June 25, 2010
Nathan Bransford, literary agent with Curtis Brown in San Francisco, has an interesting post where he analyzed a bunch of his query letters to see how they were addressed. A disturbing number, 23%, either did not use any kind of name, got his name wrong, misspelled, sent to the wrong agent, called him an editor, or just, you know, screwed up.

23% is a lot. (It actually makes me feel better because then there's less competition).

Granted, I've been the editor of a technical journal for 10 years or so and I still have long-term column editors that can't seem to keep it straight that my first name is Mark and my last name is Terry, but still...

One wonders if the people in that 23% also wrote their manuscripts in crayon, they were lazy, or what?

I'm not sure this is worth repeating, but I'll repeat it anyway. When you're querying an agent, you are trying to begin a professional business relationship in which the person you're querying will most likely handle all your money, take their 15%, and send you the rest in a timely fashion. They will keep professional records for tax purposes, including delivering your 1099 tax forms accurately and in a timely fashion. They will represent your interests to editors, negotiate contracts on your behalf, be your advocate. Furthermore, in most cases they will represent your interests to foreign agents, editors, and publishers, to film agents, film and TV producers, as well as potentially to other business entities such as audiobook producers, etc.

So really... it's a pretty good idea if you at least know how to spell their name.


Blogger sex scenes at starbucks, said...

But writing is ART, man.

Heh. 23% That cuts the competition, hopefully.

6:46 AM  

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