Query. Sign. Submit. with Linda Epstein

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Linda represents . . .

Adult Fiction, Children’s Fiction, and select Non-fiction
See guidelines here.

She responds to all queries. Check “Query Status” tab on her blog for updates.

To connect with and learn more about Linda, visit . . .

The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency 
The Blabbermouth Blog 
Twitter

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Now for Linda’s insight on querying, signing with an agent, and going on submission!

QUERY

What advice would you give to querying writers?

Do your research and query agents who represent what you write. Be professional in your letter. There are so many books and places online that give great instruction as to how to write a query letter. Follow those instructions and follow the agent’s submission guidelines. Expect that you’re going to get rejected, because you most certainly will. Mostly though, don’t take anything personally.

Do you always read a query all the way through? If not, what would make you stop reading?

I don’t. I stop reading when it’s a query for something I don’t represent; when it’s just plain not interesting to me; when it’s on a topic I’m bored of, or I’ve seen five million times; when the writing in the query is full of grammatical and spelling errors. If I were to read each and every query that I received all the way through I wouldn’t actually have time to do the rest of my work.

What does it take for you to offer representation?

First of all, it takes a great story. Then, the author and I have to click and we have to have the same vision for their work and their career.

SIGN

Do you sign a client as a career agent or on a book-by-book basis?

I have to fall in love with their manuscript, for sure, but I don’t just represent one book. I represent an author in building their entire career.

Once a writer has signed with you, what’s the next step?

Basically, we just work on their manuscript until it’s ready to be sent out to editors. That can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months or more. I also ask my clients to write up a bio, let me know of any awards or honors they’ve received for their writing, and sometimes I ask for input on a short, sweet paragraph about their manuscript, which I help to craft my pitch and write my submission letter. If they or their manuscript has had previous contact with editors, I make sure I know where it’s been sent or who they know. And all the while, I’m thinking about where I’d like to send their work.

How do you get to know editors and what they’re looking for?

First of all, I do my research. I use Publisher’s Marketplace to follow who’s buying what. I follow editors’ blogs and interact with editors on Twitter. When I read or hear about books I make sure I know who edited them. I go to conferences and meet editors and make a point of getting to know them a little, or at least introducing myself. That way I can call them up when we’re back in NY and have coffee or lunch or just a quick meeting. I’ve also just gone ahead and emailed someone I wanted to meet to set up an appointment. Getting to know editors and finding out what they’re looking for is one of the most important parts of being a good agent. It can be time consuming, but ultimately it pays to know who is right for my client’s work.

SUBMIT

Can a client make suggestions or share a wish list when it comes to editors/imprints to submit to?

Of course! But clients also need to understand that ultimately I’m the one who’s going to do the submitting. Sometimes an author can have an editor or imprint on their wish list that just isn’t appropriate for their work, and my clients just have to trust me on that. Personally I don’t mind input but my clients also know that in order to do my job sometimes they have to leave it to me and just let me do my job!

Do you forward editor feedback to writers?

I don’t forward editor feedback to writers unless we’ve gotten passes from all the editors on a submission list. I don’t see the point in sharing that information initially, and I think it can make a stressful situation (waiting to hear back) even more stressful. For example, if there are 10 editors on a submission list and the first 7 say “no thanks,” and tell me why, but #8 says “I want it!” and #s 9 and 10 never respond, what would have been the point of sharing the first 7 editors’ feedback? On the other hand, if I get 8 passes, with 6 of them telling me something useful regarding why, and 2 no responses, then before I send the manuscript out for another submission round I’ll go over the responses with my client. That way we can decide whether the manuscript needs to be revisited (i.e. revised, tweaked, massaged, etc...) or if a different strategy for submission is called for (i.e. different types of houses or imprints; pitching the story differently, etc...)

Is it okay for a client to check in if there hasn’t been any news in a while?

For me, always. I like hearing from my clients. Not to the point that they’re emailing every day or I’m holding their hand whilst they worry and whine, but a friendly, “Hey, what’s up?” is always fine with me.

Thank you for sharing, Linda!

Want more?

See other Query. Sign. Submit. interviews
Read inspiring stories of writers getting agents
Find out about agent-judged contests

Posted June, 2013 – Always check for current info and guidelines.

5 comments:

  1. I love hearing how different agents work with their clients. What a great series! Can't wait to see what's next. :)

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  2. I love this new series! Linda sounds like an awesome agent. :)

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  3. I went to a conference where Linda was part of a workshop, and she had some great advice and input! If you've got something she's looking for, definitely query her!

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  4. Great insight. Looking forward in getting to know Linda more.

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  5. I liked the interview. As a writer new to the querying process, this helped me know what to expect when I finally find my agent. And I am surely going to go research Linda like she urges us to do. Then maybe I will query her! Thanks for this post!

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