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View Full Version : I need help! (But only if you are from the UK and have an agent)



scarletpeaches
10-26-2009, 06:20 PM
I'm posting this here because let's face it, I am an Office Party regular and I figure OP gets more traffic than other fora.

But, if the mods deem it appropriate, feel free to move. It might be Ask the Agent or Roundtable material, so we'll see.

Anyhoo.

Edits done, synopsis too. Still struggling with my query letter but I plan to start subbing this mofo on Wednesday. So, I need help.

I'm looking for anyone within the UK who has an agent so I can pick their brains by PM or email. Preferably a writar of fiction novels (snerk), but any media would do really. Or someone from overseas who has a UK agent.

The reason I'm putting the call out is I have a million and one obsessive little questions about pages, numbering, headers, binding, font, etc, none of which deserve their own thread and may have been answered on AW before but often when such enquiries are answered it's with a view to standard American practise and I'm looking for UK-specific submission details from someone who's bagged an agent.

Yep, I've looked up agency guidelines but here's the thing: many agents just say "Send a synopsis and three chapters." Fine. I have those ready. But how long is a synopsis? One page? Two? What did you send? Did you get 'the call' or an email? How long were you waiting?

So. As I say, I have a million and one petty questions and so I don't drive people mad publicly I'd be very grateful if UK writers with agents could PM me and allow me to pick their brains. Plus, I just don't want to look stupid in front of everyone hyuh. :D

Thanks in advance. :)

Ellefire
10-26-2009, 06:32 PM
And then put all the information here so that us other UK bods can benefit?

scarletpeaches
10-26-2009, 06:33 PM
But my questions is stupidz. :(

And obsessive.

And I has a shy.

(But yeah, once I have answers I won't feel like such a twunt for seeking them out).

Medievalist
10-26-2009, 09:42 PM
Scarlet two thirds of the UK authors I know have U.S. agents.

But I'll ask and get back here. I gotta email folk so gimme a day or two.

I reckon youse will have to use that funny frenchified spelling y'all cling to.

scarletpeaches
10-26-2009, 10:01 PM
I've had people holding my hand by PM. :D

I'll be subbing on Wednesday, God willing, so try not to post anything that'll make me tear my hair out and go, "ARGH! I KNEW I SHOULD HAVE..." used another font/italicised instead of underlined/used fewer ellipses...

Whoops.

Maryn
10-26-2009, 10:08 PM
I don't know a thing about UK agents specifically, except that like agents everywhere, what they want to see is a good query, really good sample pages, and a short-ish synopsis which is both well-written and shows that you know how a story should be told.

Piece of cake--for you, anyway. For me, not so much.

Maryn, who hates synopses

Satori1977
10-27-2009, 04:52 AM
I am not in the UK and have no advice for you....but I wanted to wish you Good Luck!

jvc
10-27-2009, 04:59 AM
Good luck with the book :)

backslashbaby
10-27-2009, 04:59 AM
Good luck!!! :D

And a shout out for all of the extra special plurals. Fora, synopses. It makes me all warm and fuzzy ;)

Medievalist
10-27-2009, 05:16 AM
I'll be subbing on Wednesday, God willing, so try not to post anything that'll make me tear my hair out and go, "ARGH! I KNEW I SHOULD HAVE..." used another font/italicised instead of underlined/used fewer ellipses...

Having a professional looking and sounding coverletter/query letter that's like, actually written in English (even if you do insist on colour) with initial caps on sentences, and periods is in and of itself enough to get you past 50% of the letters the person reading slush sees.

What I've heard back so far is IF the agent /editor has not specified otherwise, standard British spelling and punctuation and Courier ten, with underlines not italics, etc. etc. which is pretty much standard U.S. ms. format two, except of course, we spell as the good lord intended English words to be spelled . . .

I'm crossing my fingers for luck for you.

scarletpeaches
10-27-2009, 05:17 AM
Someone tell Lisa I refuse to rise to the bait and react to her blatant American bias.

Wayne K
10-27-2009, 05:21 AM
:Hug2:

thethinker42
10-27-2009, 05:22 AM
Someone tell Lisa I refuse to rise to the bait and react to her blatant American bias.

Every once in a while, you speak a little Americanese when we chat. It's only a matter of time, my friend...

scarletpeaches
10-27-2009, 05:23 AM
Pfft.

Why don't you tell everyone how many of YOUR books I've doctored.

(But not how many hours I've spent angsting over my own).

thethinker42
10-27-2009, 05:24 AM
Pfft.

Why don't you tell everyone how many of YOUR books I've doctored.

(But not how many hours I've spent angsting over my own).

That would be "most of them".

Jesus, woman, for as much as you wangst about queries and synopses, you know damn good and well you can write a selling query/synopsis. You wrote both for 2 of my 3 contracted books and the one that just got me a full request.

Quitcherwangstin.

:D

Wayne K
10-27-2009, 05:25 AM
:popcorn:

scarletpeaches
10-27-2009, 05:29 AM
Query letter almost done.

Synopsis done.

First three chapters - teetering between 'polishing' and 'fiddling overmuch'.

So. I think it's nearly sub o'clock.

thethinker42
10-27-2009, 05:30 AM
Query letter almost done.

Synopsis done.

First three chapters - teetering between 'polishing' and 'fiddling overmuch'.

So. I think it's nearly sub o'clock.

I think it's about sub thirty. GERRONWI GERRINIT SUBBED. NAO!

scarletpeaches
10-27-2009, 05:31 AM
Um...no.

It's half one in the morning and surprisingly enough, the post office is closed.

thethinker42
10-27-2009, 05:32 AM
Um...no.

It's half one in the morning and surprisingly enough, the post office is closed.

Excuses.

scarletpeaches
10-27-2009, 05:37 AM
Allow me to rearrange the entire schedule of the Royal Mail to suit THEE.

thethinker42
10-27-2009, 05:38 AM
Allow me to rearrange the entire schedule of the Royal Mail to suit THEE.

This pleases me. Proceed.

scarletpeaches
10-27-2009, 05:39 AM
Folks: you do realise she's only 'encouraging' me because she wants a hardback copy of this book printed on TLJPA paper to show off. "OH LOOK AT ME I KNOWS TEH OTHUR!!!!!11111one!!!!!11eleven!"

thethinker42
10-27-2009, 05:40 AM
Folks: you do realise she's only 'encouraging' me because she wants a hardback copy of this book printed on TLJPA paper to show off. "OH LOOK AT ME I KNOWS TEH OTHUR!!!!!11111one!!!!!11eleven!"

Do you want that signed paperback version of Between Brothers or not?

KTC
10-27-2009, 05:41 AM
but teh wed nessdai is teh world's end. send on teh toos dai.

scarletpeaches
10-27-2009, 05:41 AM
*meep*

:(

Ken
10-27-2009, 05:43 AM
... you've already got a good and experienced adviser in tt42, methinks.
So start by picking her brain, first, before moving on to additional pundits.

scarletpeaches
10-27-2009, 05:44 AM
I would pick tt42's brain but I don't think she has any to spare. ;)

KTC
10-27-2009, 05:44 AM
... you've already got a good and experienced adviser in tt42, methinks.
So start by picking her brain, first, before moving on to additional pundits.

but she lives in teh japanistan

scarletpeaches
10-27-2009, 05:45 AM
Kevin, if the world ends on Wednesday, whyforshouldI query on Chooseday?

thethinker42
10-27-2009, 05:46 AM
... you've already got a good and experienced adviser in tt42, methinks.
So start by picking her brain, first, before moving on to additional pundits.

Exactly. I are teh advisor of teh wizdomz.


I would pick tt42's brain but I don't think she has any to spare. ;)

Sounds like SOMEONE doesn't want to read my next WIP.


but she lives in teh japanistan

All the cool kids live here. Fortunately, modern technology allows me to communicate with lesser mortals in places like "Scotland" and "Canada".

Ken
10-27-2009, 05:47 AM
... she's just hiding it from you.
Look to the leftside of her cerebral hemisphere, an inch or so above the ear, and you'll find plenty.
(I'll be expecting a share ;-)

Hmm, that is true about her living in Japan.
Perhaps if she goes to a UK consulate when corresponding with Scarlet that would suffice?

KTC
10-27-2009, 05:48 AM
Kevin, if the world ends on Wednesday, whyforshouldI query on Chooseday?

an acceptance on toos dai is worth nothin' on wed nessdai. But that would be a fuck of a toos dai, now wouldn't it.

thethinker42
10-27-2009, 05:48 AM
Kevin, if the world ends on Wednesday, whyforshouldI query on Chooseday?

Because this book should not go unqueried even if the world ends before someone has a chance to read it. DUH.

scarletpeaches
10-27-2009, 05:53 AM
Maybe my query would save the world.

thethinker42
10-27-2009, 05:55 AM
Maybe my query would save the world.

Then you should send it NAO!!!!

KTC
10-27-2009, 05:55 AM
Maybe my query would save the world.

there you go! reason one for sending it out on toos dai.


please let us live.

thethinker42
10-27-2009, 05:58 AM
please let us live.

Yeah. No pressure or anything...

KTC
10-27-2009, 06:05 AM
Yeah. No pressure or anything...

i just know she's going to kill us. now that she knows she has teh power.

thethinker42
10-27-2009, 06:09 AM
i just know she's going to kill us. now that she knows she has teh power.

Most likely. She'd be the kind of superhero who'd sit back and file her nails going, "Yeah, I could help. But I could also just sit back and let you all die. So fuck you."

scarletpeaches
10-27-2009, 06:11 AM
I would. :D

But you'll have to wait 'til Winsdai to see if you will live.

Medievalist
10-27-2009, 08:40 AM
All the cool kids live here. Fortunately, modern technology allows me to communicate with lesser mortals in places like "Scotland" and "Canada".

Scotland ? Isn't that the place the Welsh and Irish migrated to, to avoid falling off into the sea, and where the men wear funny skirts with purses where a cod-piece should go?

Priene
10-27-2009, 10:00 AM
Scotland ? Isn't that the place the Welsh and Irish migrated to, to avoid falling off into the sea, and where the men wear funny skirts with purses where a cod-piece should go?

You're thinking of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Priene
10-27-2009, 10:02 AM
If you're wondering about the postal costs, it's 1.04. 2.08 if you want your pages back. One the plus side, there's a good chance the agent will have a scan through your actual novel, rather than just the query and synopsis.

scarletpeaches
10-27-2009, 03:58 PM
Scotland ? Isn't that the place the Welsh and Irish migrated to, to avoid falling off into the sea, and where the men wear funny skirts with purses where a cod-piece should go?She only takes the piss because she loves me, folks.

Watch it, bitch, or I won't invite you to the wedding when I marry Colin.

Wayne K
10-27-2009, 04:08 PM
:nothing:

Mr Flibble
10-27-2009, 06:19 PM
Not to make you wangst any more - but is Wednesday the best day to sub considering the postie strike on Thursday?

Or are you doing all e-mail? ( I know plenty of UK agents still don't like that new-fangled electronic stuff, and you mentioned stapling soooo...)

scarletpeaches
10-27-2009, 08:36 PM
There's another strike?

Christ.

Okay. When should I sub?

(And I mentioned going to STAPLES you silly mare:ROFL:).

scarletpeaches
10-27-2009, 08:54 PM
Okay I've done some pootling on t'internets and apparently the CWU are meeting tomorrow to decide whether or not to go ahead with more strikes.

Given that I was going to send my submission tomorrow but I have no idea when these prospective strikes will happen, what say you? Sub or no-sub (yet)?

Priene
10-27-2009, 09:04 PM
Sub. The worst that can happen is they get stuck undelivered in a sorting office for a few days.

scarletpeaches
10-27-2009, 09:05 PM
Will do, skipper.

*salutes*

aruna
10-27-2009, 09:33 PM
I don't have an agent but have had one two, and have been dealing with them for years, subbing a couple of full mss and so on. You're welcome to PM me,or talk to me on the phone!

HOWEVER...
remember that there's a postal strike on this week, and London will be the most affected. A couple of my letters to and fro London were late by a week, and one is three weeks late and probably lost. Either use Special Delivery or Signed For (a bit cheaper, but still can take up to five days during a strike) or choose email agents or wait till next week.

Whatever -- GOOD LUCK!!! Your first submission EVA????


ETA.... I see that the postal strike has been dealt with on Page 2. Sorry.

scarletpeaches
10-27-2009, 09:39 PM
aruna, I'm leaning towards waiting until next week now or at least another day or two. I want to sub, but after looking around the net some more for information on these strikes, I have images in my brain of my submission package getting lost in a sorting office somewhere.

I think it would probably be wiser to wait until the backlog clears and wait to see what happens with the CWU meeting tomorrow. All being well, first thing Monday morning sounds good but it really depends on what the CWU decide.

Not my first sub EVA but the first one I truly believe stands a chance.

Before, I didn't angst when I sent chapters and a synopsis off because I had a little reserve left in the tank. With this, I've given it everything. It's the best book I can write at this point in my life, hence my never-before-experienced level of angst.

Of course, I'm always writing something, so I have another novel to move on to should the worst happen with this one - WHICH IT WILL NOT - but when you give something your all, you want to see a reward for your hard work.

Also, thanks for the PM offer. I'll get on it right away!

aruna
10-28-2009, 09:29 AM
By the way, SP, if you want to keep track of your submissions and all the replies to them why not sign up for LitMatch? (http://www.litmatch.net/Default.asp)It's a free site that lets you enter all your titles and whom you've subbed them to, how long they've been out, and what the response has been. I find it almost indispensible, as I tend to lose track of things very easily. It also helps you find suitable agents, and best of all, it lists both UK and US agents. Their "search" function is not very good, but the tracking function is fantastic.

aruna
10-28-2009, 01:32 PM
Postal strike update:
http://www.royalmail.com/portal/rm/content1?catId=99700760&mediaId=99700760&campaignid=serviceupdate_redirect

Ken
10-28-2009, 02:41 PM
... if I dwelt in teh UK I would take advantage of the postal strike and hand-deliver my manuscripts to agencies, since I'd have a perfect excuse to do so under the circumstances ;-)

aruna
10-28-2009, 02:50 PM
Well, it depends where you live and whom you're submitting to... most agents are in London and SP is in Scotland, a bit of a long and pricey trip!

SP, you can always send them Signed For... it only costs 75p, and at least you can track them and they won't get lost, even if it takes a day or two longer due to the strike.

A cheque sent to me got lost in the last strike. Bummer.

Ken
10-28-2009, 02:57 PM
... tis rather far: 414 miles between Glasgow and London, according to Wiki Answers.
So maybe she'd better send by poste, as planned ;-)

scarletpeaches
10-30-2009, 04:14 AM
Okay, so the agent I'm planning on subbing to wants a biographical note in the query letter. However, I haven't done anything worth mentioning in the letter, certainly not writing-related anyway. Should I just not say anything?

A couple of writers I know just throw in something about 'working on another novel in the same genre', reasoning that this shows you're not a one-book wonder, but to me it seems a bit redundant. Well of course I'm working on something else. What say you?

Also: binding. Yep, I know. NO DO THIS. But with 50-odd pages loose in an envelope, I'm thinking, back them with a piece of card, wrap an elastic band round 'em widthwise, just the elastic band or nothing, nothing, nothing at all?

Plus. The envelopes are pretty big and might not go through my printer, so it looks like I'll have to hand-address them. I hope this still looks professional.

So. Aside from that, thank you to everyone who repped, PM'd and emailed me with their help, and...wish me luck.

Priene
10-30-2009, 09:10 AM
Okay, so the agent I'm planning on subbing to wants a biographical note in the query letter. However, I haven't done anything worth mentioning in the letter, certainly not writing-related anyway. Should I just not say anything?

If the agent wants it, I'd give it to them. Maybe the agent just wants to test whether you're able to stick to instructions. My biog is feeble, but everyone's is at some stage. At least your sample chapters are there, which means they'll have some real writing to read.


A couple of writers I know just throw in something about 'working on another novel in the same genre', reasoning that this shows you're not a one-book wonder, but to me it seems a bit redundant. Well of course I'm working on something else. What say you?

Why is it redundant? I don't see why you have to be working on your next one.


Also: binding. Yep, I know. NO DO THIS. But with 50-odd pages loose in an envelope, I'm thinking, back them with a piece of card, wrap an elastic band round 'em widthwise, just the elastic band or nothing, nothing, nothing at all?

I just chuck it all in together. If they're going through a hundred MSs on the slush pile, they might get peeved at having to take elastic bands off.



Plus. The envelopes are pretty big and might not go through my printer, so it looks like I'll have to hand-address them. I hope this still looks professional.

If they slip you an R for not machine-printing your envelope, they're not much of an agent.