Thank You for Your Submissions!

Our office receives submissions every day, usually seven days a week, from authors hoping for representation. We know sometimes we take longer to respond than we’d like. For our delay, we apologize. We are well aware that writer time moves much more slowly than editor time or agent time. The rate of speed from manuscript submission to publication hasn’t improved much since writers mailed typewritten manuscripts through the U.S. Postal Service. Or, for those garnering inaccurate information from movies, writers driving to their agent’s home to submit a project printed on paper. And, yes, that happened to me once when an aspiring author showed up with a printed fantasy novel weighing in at 500,000 words. Since I wasn’t his agent, I didn’t have to accept the box. Yes, I wrote, “box.” Had I taken the box, I’m not sure I could have lifted it.

Since I wrote books for publication myself, I understand the courage an author needs to undertake the submissions process. I also appreciate the level of anticipation that each submission generates as it goes to parties the author hopes will be interested. I know all about what it’s like to ponder what terms a publishing house might offer. And, sadly, I know that rejections feel like a proverbial kick in the gut. The only aspect of my career that I do not like is that my office must deliver too many gut punches. I wish I could successfully place so many authors that I needed to hire twenty other literary agents to help me. But, alas, there is only so much room at the inn; and, as a result, I must decline many works that truly have worth.

Though we cannot represent every worthy author, we have no proposals to submit to editors without you. So if you are sending a proposal to my office this year, please know that we are grateful you thought of us.

25 Responses to Thank You for Your Submissions!

  1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser January 12, 2022 at 5:55 am #

    They daily do come unto you,
    these missives made of dreams
    that in sleep’s night-land oft come true,
    with premiere searchlight-beams.
    You wish, I know, that you might make
    all bright-eyed hope come real
    with perspiring hand to shake,
    birth of a writing deal,
    and I can think how much it may
    cost to give a ‘no’,
    to know that you must turn away
    that heart, and dim the glow
    that so briefly lit the screen
    in aspiration’s heady gleam.

  2. Lisa Phillips January 12, 2022 at 6:26 am #

    I have not given up on pursuing you as my agent. I have submitted to others but you were the chosen one, still are. You were the first agent I ever submitted to, and it was premature.My book is right up your alley, just a little long. I’ve edited out quite a bit to a more acceptable length. I’d give up any advance if it makes a difference. I’d buy a ton of my own book if that would make a difference. I just want your name in it. Hoping and praying you will give it a chance and run with it. I truly believe you’d really like it.

  3. Sam Sterk January 12, 2022 at 9:32 am #

    Hi Tamela
    I had written a pitch and an offer to send a complete Query and chapters, but have not heard back regarding this. Fortunately, we’re neighbors as I live in Scottsdale. Please let me know if you’re interested in reading more about HANNAH’S VISIONS: THE TEHRAN AFFAIR, a thriller, set in Israel.

    • Tamela Hancock Murray January 13, 2022 at 10:54 am #

      I checked with my assistant and there is no correspondence from you on file.

  4. Kristen Joy Wilks January 12, 2022 at 10:32 am #

    Thank you for all that you do, Tamela. May the Lord lead you to just the right projects and writers this year and spur you on as you serve Him with the written word!

  5. Jody Evans January 12, 2022 at 11:00 am #

    Thank you for this thoughtful article, Tamela. This has earned a place on my rejection board! A good reminder that there’s a person on both sides of those painful “no” answers.

    • Tamela Hancock Murray January 13, 2022 at 10:55 am #

      Yes, there is! Hoping your Acceptance Board fills up soon!

  6. Loretta Eidson January 12, 2022 at 11:41 am #

    Wow, a 500,000 submission! I’m in shock. That’s so crazy. Thank you for sharing insight into the submission process with your office.

    • Tamela Hancock Murray January 13, 2022 at 10:56 am #

      Aren’t you glad I haven’t asked you for a 500,000-word book! 🙂

  7. January 12, 2022 at 12:37 pm #

    A very sobering article. I can indeed imagine how difficult it is to choose between multiple manuscripts that are all so exceptional. I don’t know how you do it. God bless, Tamela!

  8. Claire O'Sullivan January 12, 2022 at 12:41 pm #

    Hi Tamela,

    I consider each rejection as that agent is not interested and/or the MS is not polished. While rejections can be deflating, it’s time for the writer to suck it up and deal with it. It’s not bad news. I’d rather get the rejection than a fly-by-night publisher. Self-publishing is an option for some but a deveopmental editor is always needed. Especially for manuscripts 500,000 words! Rhino hide! I merely critiqued a chapter of someone’s book – respectfully – and he went into an anxiety attack. Again rhino hide… And it’s impossible for agents to get back to the writer asap!

    Excellent post, thank you!

  9. Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D. January 12, 2022 at 3:11 pm #

    Tamela, I hope to make you grateful for my submission at some point in the future! 🙂

  10. A. Katie Wood January 12, 2022 at 4:51 pm #

    It’s always good to get the perspective from an agents chair. To those of us who love to write it’s encouraging to know that if we continue on and not lose heart, some day will be the right time. Thank you for what you do.

  11. Katie Gilbertson January 12, 2022 at 5:41 pm #

    I have not submitted my manuscript because your submission guidelines are so daunting. I do not have a big social media presence. I do not have any previously published works. I don’t have an established platform. I wonder if it’s even worth sending it in?

    • Tamela Hancock Murray January 13, 2022 at 10:59 am #

      Yes, it’s worth sending. Just be transparent and emphasize the strengths and talent you bring to publishers. An amazing idea and fresh writing, presented at the right time, can make things happen!

  12. Kelly Borjas January 13, 2022 at 7:29 am #

    Even as someone who was “rejected,” I am thankful for the thoughtful response, encouraging words, and motivation to keep writing until my work is ready to be represented/there’s a place to sell it.
    God Bless You and all you do!
    Kelly Borjas

  13. Sue Bingham Herring January 19, 2022 at 2:52 pm #

    Dear Tamela,
    Thank you for your heartfelt post. Beginning to query is a daunting task, and your encouragement is accepted with gratitude. I have moved you to the top of my list as I continue to polish and prepare to share my novel.
    Sue Herring

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