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Thread: The Steinberg Agency (Peter Steinberg)

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    The Steinberg Agency (Peter Steinberg)

    Wanted to share my experience with Peter Steinberg of The Steinberg Agency. A client of Peter's recommended a novel of mine to him. I got in touch with Peter and he asked me to send the manuscript to him through the mail.

    On May 12 Peter emailed me to confirm he'd received the manuscript and had read some of it but not enough to reach a decision. He wrote that he'd get back in touch with me "in two weeks or so."

    I heard nothing from him and so on June 20 I emailed him just to check in, letting him know I'd just been to a reading by one of his clients and hoping that he'd have the chance to read more of my ms sometime in the not-too-distant future.

    I received no reply to this.

    On July 1, I emailed another brief message about having dinner with one of his clients, the one who'd recommended my work, and again expressing the hope he'd have a chance to look at my ms.

    No reply.

    On July 16, I emailed him once more, another brief polite query reminding him of his email from May 12 and hoping that I'd hear something from him--at least to know if the ms was still "in play."

    Again, no reply.

    Since then, I've called his office twice, telling the receptionist the situation and that I simply wanted to know if the ms was still under consideration or if I could have it returned to me (it is 500 pp and not inexpensive to print out or mail). She said he'd call me back. He has not.

    I just called again, asking to have my manuscript returned as, after Peter's initial pleasant email exchanges with me, he has not acted in a way that inspires any professional confidence. I've heard of--and in one case experienced--enough flakey agents who can not even reply with a few words to their clients' emails.

    Once again, the receptionist said he'd call me!

    I just want my ms back at this point!

    So this has been my experience with Peter Steinberg and his eponymous agency. I hope others have had better experiences, but based on mine I send this out as a warning to others.

    Sometimes I wonder if it is too much to expect agents to be capable of basic standards of professionalism common to most other businesses in which I've had experience.

    I have no desire to be a "diva" writer, no desire to be coddled or flattered, no desire to get into the sick master/servant or top/bottom dynamic that often seems typical of writer/agent pairings. (I've seen successful authors turn their agents into boot lickers, just as agents can push less-successful writers into that position. Or do we writers choose to assume that flunky position all-too-willingly?) But is it too much to hope for a relationship with an agent that is just basically decent? One of mutual respect? I wasn't looking for a pat on the head from Peter Steinberg, I'd just like to know if the ms was still being considered or if I could have it back. A five word reply would have sufficed for either. That doesn't seem like much to ask.

  2. #2
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I sent him a query via snail-mail on 1 January. I received a form rejection yesterday. To say that he's slow to respond would be a bit of an understatement.

  3. #3
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Adding link: http://steinbergagency.com/

    Looks like some solid sales.

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  4. #4
    ... Sakamonda's Avatar
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    Successful literary agents are extremely busy people. And their first duty is to their existing clients. If he isn't responding to your queries, that's usually an indication he isn't interested in your work. Get over it and move on to querying the next agent. You should never query one agent at a time, anyway----it'll take you decades to find an agent that way.

    Then again, I once had an agent get back to me on a query FIVE YEARS after I sent it, and ask for a manuscript that has since been published. I was on my second literary agent and third book deal by the time this agency I queried FIVE YEARS AGO finally got back to me. So who knows? Maybe you'll hear something in five years. (And that was a very reputable agency that took five years.)

    I of course told them the book they wanted to see was no longer available and I had long since found representation----twice---and that was the end of that.

    Grow a thicker skin and move on. Rejection (and being ignored) is part and parcel of the writer's life.
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  5. #5
    Call me Pookie mikeland's Avatar
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    Fuwanna, if one of his client's recommended you, why haven't you asked that client to give him a gentle nudge on your behalf?

    Also, unless you gave them a SASE (or in this case SASBox) that would pay for the return of the manuscript, I'd be surprised if they send you the book back.
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  6. #6
    Just a guy with a pen & a delusion Mr. Anonymous's Avatar
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    I got a very quick response to my query (within a day or two) requesting the full. It also says that they've changed their submissions policy around, and are now accepting requested manuscripts via email. The response time I was given was 6-8 weeks.

  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW Rebecca_Rogers's Avatar
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    I queried Mr. Steinberg about a week and a half ago and heard back from him yesterday, requesting my full manuscript. I got the same time response as Mr. Anonymous.

    I agree with Sakamonda... you can't pester an agent if you don't hear a response. You have to be patient. And if you don't hear anything from them, move on to another one. I wouldn't send to one agent only, though.

  8. #8
    ._. karo.ambrose's Avatar
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    I got a request for my manu via email, saying they'll get back to me with a decision w/in 6-8 weeks.

    It was interesting, because the request appeared to be form in nature. I've seen my share of form rejections, but never a form request.

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW Rebecca_Rogers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by karo.ambrose View Post
    I got a request for my manu via email, saying they'll get back to me with a decision w/in 6-8 weeks.

    It was interesting, because the request appeared to be form in nature. I've seen my share of form rejections, but never a form request.

    I've had the opposite. LOL I just sent my book out (first time) to 15 agents. I've heard back from five--four rejections and this one from Mr. Steinberg. All four were personal (not form) rejections. But I agree with you about the form request.

    I'm waiting for the form rejections to come...

  10. #10
    In the Center of things Vandal's Avatar
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    I've gotten two different full requests from him...and two form rejections. He's pretty true to the 6-8 week timeframe, FWIW.
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  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW Rebecca_Rogers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vandal View Post
    I've gotten two different full requests from him...and two form rejections. He's pretty true to the 6-8 week timeframe, FWIW.

    I was wondering if he was or not. I've heard some aren't...

  12. #12
    figuring it all out
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    Just adding my stats:
    I queried him May 28th and he requsted a full (also looked like a form request which was weird but hey, i'm not complaining) on June 9th. I sent out the whole thing today, the 10th.

    They did request it via email with the original correspondence before the text because they read on kindle and it helps them to keep track of stuff. So I did that and sent the whole thing as an attachment which is what I hope he wanted. I couldn't imagine they would want the whole ms in the body of an email!

  13. #13
    practical experience, FTW Rebecca_Rogers's Avatar
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    I still haven't heard from him.

  14. #14
    figuring it all out
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebecca_Rogers View Post
    I still haven't heard from him.
    Rebecca - when did you send it? April 1st? Maybe send him a query nudge if you don't hear anything soon.

  15. #15
    practical experience, FTW Rebecca_Rogers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steampunk View Post
    Rebecca - when did you send it? April 1st? Maybe send him a query nudge if you don't hear anything soon.

    March 30th. I'm too scared to nudge. LOL

    nudges = rejection

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Rebecca_Rogers View Post
    March 30th. I'm too scared to nudge. LOL

    nudges = rejection

    I would still nudge. Not knowing is worse than the rejection, imo.

    Good luck!

  17. #17
    ._. karo.ambrose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebecca_Rogers View Post
    March 30th. I'm too scared to nudge. LOL

    nudges = rejection
    If it's any consolation, I still haven't heard from him either. I'm assuming he's probably busy, cos 'tis the season of book conventions.

    If you wanna nudge, that's cool. But I ain't. I'm too scared

  18. #18
    ideas are floating where they will Stlight's Avatar
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    Rebecca, what if he didn't get it? Things do get lost.

    A nudge would let you know if he got it. If he didn't you might be waiting for nothing.

    Just a thought.

  19. #19
    practical experience, FTW Rebecca_Rogers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stlight View Post
    Rebecca, what if he didn't get it? Things do get lost.

    A nudge would let you know if he got it. If he didn't you might be waiting for nothing.

    Just a thought.

    It was sent via email in reply to the email sent to me. I figured it takes a few months for fulls, not 6-8 weeks.

  20. #20
    practical experience, FTW Rebecca_Rogers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by karo.ambrose View Post
    If it's any consolation, I still haven't heard from him either. I'm assuming he's probably busy, cos 'tis the season of book conventions.

    If you wanna nudge, that's cool. But I ain't. I'm too scared

    Well, good. I'm not the only one.

    I'm not nudging. I know it sounds crazy, but I'll wait. If I haven't heard from him by mid July, then I'll nudge.

  21. #21
    practical experience, FTW Rebecca_Rogers's Avatar
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    Heard back from them today - the big R. Good luck to everyone else!!

  22. #22
    I can hear the ocean calling...
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    Question Query with sample?

    I just noticed on his guidelines, it now says

    Please mail a query letter and up to twenty-five consecutive pages of sample material, along with an SASE

    Has anyone else sent him the sample material with the query, or did you all just send the query first?

  23. #23
    ._. karo.ambrose's Avatar
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    I believe that's been there for a while now, emrys. You can always opt to send an equery.

    I'm still waiting to hear back from him on my full. Has anyone heard anything from Mr. Steinberg lately?

  24. #24
    figuring it all out
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebecca_Rogers View Post
    Heard back from them today - the big R. Good luck to everyone else!!
    sorry rebecca - better luck next time around.

  25. #25
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    steampunk, karo.ambrose (or anyone else) -- heard anything back from them recently? It's been over 3 mos now for me...

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