Monday, December 20, 2010

Three tiny kids and a guy

by Lauren

Looking up some contact information in our database, I was reminded of my very favorite thing about it: small notes, devoid of context, that give a strange glimpse into our conversations with editors.  The stand out stars of the “notes” section of our contacts are surely that one editor has “three tiny kids” and another (whose name is not one you’d come across often) “is a GUY!”  I like to imagine the shock and surprise of the assistant who’d picked up the phone to discover a deep, masculine voice attached to a name he or she had previously assumed belonged to a woman.  (I also am not entirely certain that one wasn’t me, back when I was Jane’s assistant an alarmingly high number of years ago.)  I also imagine the kindly editor who sat across from one of my colleagues at a lunch meeting and showed off pictures of her miniature children, perhaps posed next to objects of regular stature for comparison purposes.  That note has been in there long enough that the tiny kids are probably not so tiny any more.

Most of the notes, though, are actually quite usefulsuch and such a person is obsessed with dogs or used to be a ballet dancer or absolutely cannot stand misery memoirs. When we submit our projects, we’re working not only on the parameters of a publisher’s and editor's list and our personal interactions with them, but with the company’s collective knowledge of what makes them tick and gets them excited. Excitement is the huge intangible of the publishing process. And when we just happen to have a book about dogs or dance or misery, we know where to goor where not to.

For authors looking for agents, I suspect the best resources out there are the blogs and websites and Twitter feeds and what have you of the agents themselves.  We do suffer sometimes from too many queries quoting our own bios back to us, sending us things that are far off base because they might have a common keyword.  I think all the agents who’ve been here a while have at one point or another edited a reference out of our descriptions of ourselves or our lists, because we found it led too many people down the wrong path.  But more often than not, these little factoids about us and our interests point people the right way.  While we do share queries amongst ourselves and know each other’s taste well, it’s always nice to look at a batch of newly arrived queries and see that several of them are on a subject that we’re already really enthusiastic aboutit doesn’t guarantee success, of course, but a book on a subject that usually bores us has to be that much more amazing to even catch our eye.  Much as agents train themselves to see the difference between “I like this” and “this is good” (and “I don’t like this” and “this is bad”), we’re still human, and with all the reading at night or on the weekends, it’s a real pleasure to come across the projects that we’d happily buy off the shelves if they had nothing to do with us.

So when you’re querying us, if it’s because an off-hand reference in one of our blog entries made you realize we just might be the right advocate for your book, please do let us know!  It always helps us to know why you wanted us to read your work.


  1. I've done that phone thing but I actually said: "oh, I thought you would be a wo/man." :-j

  2. This reminds me of when I was a sales assistant at a newspaper and the outside rep would call me and say something like "Joe is a sports fan!" and I'd jot it down in the folder in case the info would come in handy one day. I also did phoenetic spellings for some names. The notes were always small and random, but they really helped us out.

  3. In my job, I had to call a customer who was named Chris. Most of my customers are male, but I wasn't certain and thought for sure I would know once I talked with him. It didn't help. The person could be a man with a high pitch voice or a woman who smoked cigarettes for years. I worked hard at keeping pronouns out of our conversations. Never found out.

    I keep notes on my customers like birthdays, number of children, etc. They appreciate it. I know I do too.

  4. Ha, lovely! I'm glad I'm not the only one. -Lauren

  5. Check this out guys i hope you will like it as well... Nokia Mobiles

  6. wow, great news. Thank you so much for your information.
    five nights at freddy's download | fnaf | five nights at freddy's

  7. Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

    Jual Obat Maag
    Obat Batuk Darah Alami Yang Aman
    Obat Hipertiroid Tradisional
    Obat Syaraf Kejepit
    Obat Ginjal Mengecil

  8. Through our exceptional Online Essay Editing Service, we have helped thousands who are stuck with their assignments. Our company offers the Pay for Essay Online to the clients.

  9. Hiring writers from the Top Research Papers is a very straightforward process. Just give your order requirements by filling out your form and confirm to them. You are assured to get Custom Assignment Writing and the Assignment Writing Service.

  10. Great story! As a consultant doctor, it's inspiring to see how one man can make such a big impact in the lives of three young children. It's heartwarming to know that there are people out there who truly care about the well-being of others, even if they're not related by blood. Kudos to the guy for stepping up and being a positive influence in their lives.

  11. Win Ex lover back in 48 hours......

    He cures herpes with herbal mixture

    100% result guaranteed..



  12. I’ve definitely picked up something new from right here.

  13. This is very nice one and gives indepth information.

  14. woooow, amazing blog to read, thanks for sharing, and move on.

  15. Thanks for sharing this piece of information. I really enjoyed it. keep up the good work.


  16. Fabulous! This is just amazing! Not just high quality, however additionally valuable info. And that is rare to come by nowadays!


  17. I wan’t going to comment as this posts a bit old now, but just wanted to say thanks.

  18. Pretty good post. I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Thanks for sharing us