This article is written in jest, but with decades of truth behind it.
No, we agents are not infallible and aren’t always right. We try not to sound arrogant or snooty. We genuinely would like to see you succeed, whether we are your agent or not! Our hope is you learn from what others have done or done incorrectly.
Drum roll please:
1. Call a week after sending your proposal to ask what we think of it.
2. Include glitter in your envelope if you’ve sent a printed copy of your proposal to my office.
3. Send a bribe (I mean “gift”) as part of the proposal. (I’ve received cash, signed memorabilia of famous people, framed artwork, and more.)
4. Respond to my rejection letter with vile and offensive language in return. (And I’m talking about the worst of the worst.)
5. Address the communication with my name misspelled. And then continue the error throughout your correspondence.
6. Address the communication to someone who doesn’t work here. (Happened last week.)
7. Start your pitch with “I know you don’t do books like this, but you will want to make an exception with mine.”
8. At a writers conference, use the restroom as your place to pitch your idea.
9. Ask that I click on a link in your email to access your proposal file. (We know better than to click malware links.)
10. Fail to follow the agency guidelines; but, instead, send a generic pitch to every agent in the universe and include them all in the cc line of your email.
11. The body of your email says “Here it is.” No signature line, no information in the email at all. Or, even worse, the body of the email is blank. (This happens multiple times a month.)
12. Send your proposal to all four of us at the agency simultaneously, and don’t tell us. We do tend to talk to one another.
Fortunately, most writers do not do these things. They stand out for a reason. Instead, strive to be professional and respectful.