View Full Version : Which editors would quickly respond to e-mail queries?

Robert Dougherty
07-07-2009, 02:12 AM
I assume this is the right forum to ask this question- if not, I'll move it somewhere else.

I need to start sending query letters to editors, and to find out which ones wouldn't rule me out if I didn't have an agent. Since a bunch of you guys have sent dozens of query letters to publishing agencies, you must know which ones are quick to answer them. Even if they respond by rejecting me, or saying I need a literary agent first, it's better to know relatively quickly than to draw it out. In your opinion, which legitimate, reputable agencies would be more likely to get back to me ASAP, and who might be willing to proceed even if I have no agent? Or are there just too few agencies - or too few reputable ones- who can do both?

07-07-2009, 03:59 AM
RD, I'm not sure what you mean by "publishing agencies".

Literary agents at literary agencies represent authors and act as the middleman between author and publisher. Nearly all literary agencies will accept unsolicited queries or submissions.

Editors at publishing houses acquire manuscripts from authors, either directly or through the authors' literary agents. Each publishing house will have its own rules as to whether or not they accept submissions from unagented authors. This information is invariabily on the publisher's website. If a publisher does not accept unagented submissions and they receive a submission directly from an author, they won't respond: they'll just biff it in the bin.

07-07-2009, 05:37 AM
RD, you don't want to start querying publishers at the same times as agents. Agents will not be happy that you have limited the publishers they can submit to. The best way to get a publisher is to get an agent first. If you go the publisher route first and don't get one, you'll pretty much have ruined your chances at getting an agent. If you go the agent route and don't get one, you can always try the few publishers that take unsolicited queries.

07-07-2009, 06:52 AM
If you are determined to go direct to publishers, invest in Writer's Market. It has all the details on every publishing house you can imagine and online access is included in the cost of the book. Definitely worth it in my, um, book.

07-07-2009, 10:00 AM
From personal experience, the fastest I ever heard back from an editor was three weeks for a picture book. But between this thread and the one in the Ask the Agent forum, I think you've got to re-examine your ideas about how publishing works. This is NOT a quick business in most cases. It takes time to write a book well, the least you can do is invest a decent amount of time on the backside of the process to get it the best home possible.

Agents are busy, it takes a while for them to evaluate what they're sent - but in most cases they're working at lightning speed compared to editors. Most editors will NOT even look at something sent by an unagented author (there are exceptions, but they're few). Getting an agent will only increase your chances of a legitimate publishing deal and help to ensure that you aren't scammed.

Your fast track attitude is exactly the kind of thing scam artists prey on. They can turn a quick buck on your impatience by telling you what you want to hear - which is that they'll get you published quickly.

07-08-2009, 08:48 PM
Hi Robert,

Just curious about the urgency. I mean, I understand, we all want to see our name in lights and have the check in hand. But, my limited experience in this industry has significantly lowered my expectations of anything happening quickly. Aim for excruciatingly slow and painful, and you'll have your expectations in order.

As others have suggested, it is best to go through an agent. Reputable publishers are not likely to look at an unsolicited manuscript, and sending it to them will limit the options that your eventual agent will have when they begin to pitch your stuff around. This industry is all about connections, and middlemen. The agents play an important role, and it's virtually impossible to get published without one.

Be wary of things that are "too good" and people who promise to get you published fast.

Otherwise, good luck!

07-10-2009, 03:11 AM
If your book is a timely, topical one (like one on the current housing market debacle or the Obama CARD Act) then I can see why you're in a hurry--my advice would be to hit the book store and find some similar titles that are published recently covering the same sorts of timely issues. Note the publishing houses, try getting in touch with those publishers since they have a track record of publishing titles that capitalize on recent hot topics.