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The Martell Agency (Alice Martell)

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

CallMeIshmael

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^ answering myself ... yes, AM wanted a synopsis.

If anyone is interested in her response time, she requested a partial last Monday and her assistant asked for the full MS today (so a week).
 

Jack Armstrong

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New Record

Just queried and got a rejection in four minutes. With all the agents who never bother to respond at all, that's the next best thing to a request for material.

I just queried and received a rejection from Alice in ONE MINUTE. Considering that my email has a slight delay both in sending and receiving, I do believe that I now hold the record in turnaround time from any agent! This might even be a world record, although I suppose whoever is in charge of such things will need to check the transmission log for the actual number of seconds.

And just to verify that this wasn't some robo-response, she wrote:

Thank you, but this doesn't sound right for me.

Alice Martell
As my query letter ran two pages, this is doubly impressive!
 

mirandashell

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Hmmm..... how did she get time to read any of it? Sounds odd.

Unless of course you were being sarky! LOL!
 

Jack Armstrong

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Hmmm..... how did she get time to read any of it? Sounds odd.

Unless of course you were being sarky! LOL!


Oh, no - I was extremely polite! I even signed it "Respectfully yours".

I'm going to give Alice the benefit of the doubt and assume that some intern was assigned to auto-respond to all unsolicited queries, got totally confused by my letter because I used big words like "eviscerate" and "progenitor" and hit the "doesn't sound right" REPLY key.

Actually, the "doesn't sound right" reply happens a lot. It just takes the other agents longer than a minute to respond - maybe because their interns are busy looking up "eviscerate" and "progenitor" before they hit the REPLY key.
 

jaksen

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If the query letter ran two pages, maybe that's what put her off. She might be looking for snappy, succinct and sell-it-to-me in two paragraphs or less.

I think most queries are a page (or less) in length.
 

Undercover

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Maybe she just read the first couple of sentences and realized it wasn't for her. She really is a sweet lady though and I believe she reads every one of her submissions, not an asst.

She was very responsive when we conversed and in a timely manner too.
 

Jack Armstrong

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If the query letter ran two pages, maybe that's what put her off. She might be looking for snappy, succinct and sell-it-to-me in two paragraphs or less.

I think most queries are a page (or less) in length.


You're right - my queries for my other novels are limited to one page. This one's a bit different because it simply isn't possible to distill it down that much and still be honest - I tried it and got a request for a full, then an admonishment for my query having been "misleading". I wasn't trying to be misleading - just trying for that two-paragraphs or less ADHD limit. Some books aren't like that, especially non-genre unique-concept novels.

But getting back to the one-minute rejection - I'm certain that Alice is a very sweet lady, but there is really no way that she (or her surrogate) managed to even begin to understand the basis of my novel in that short time. Ah, well... I suppose I should pen that teen-werewolf-vampire-wizard-romance-murder-mystery-with-a-twist if I'm serious about getting published. Not serious about literature, mind you - serious about getting published.
 

fadeaccompli

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But getting back to the one-minute rejection - I'm certain that Alice is a very sweet lady, but there is really no way that she (or her surrogate) managed to even begin to understand the basis of my novel in that short time. Ah, well... I suppose I should pen that teen-werewolf-vampire-wizard-romance-murder-mystery-with-a-twist if I'm serious about getting published. Not serious about literature, mind you - serious about getting published.

But she doesn't need to understand the basis of your novel in one minute. She just has to understand whether or not it's for her. I've done slush pile reading where I knew within the first sentence of a short story that it wasn't going to work for me, even though I usually give it a page or two; I have absolutely no trouble believing that a glance at the first few sentences of a query could tell an agent the same.
 

Jack Armstrong

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But she doesn't need to understand the basis of your novel in one minute. She just has to understand whether or not it's for her. I've done slush pile reading where I knew within the first sentence of a short story that it wasn't going to work for me, even though I usually give it a page or two; I have absolutely no trouble believing that a glance at the first few sentences of a query could tell an agent the same.

Okay, true enough - even though this isn't a short story (120K). I'll just close by mentioning that I always appreciate a response. Even an impersonal, non-salutation R of the sort I received from Martell is much nicer than "No response means no". I just wish it hadn't been so FAST. Maybe if she had taken a few more sips of coffee before hitting the REPLY key...
 

tbrosz

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There are dozens of reasons a query might be legitimately (and quickly) rejected, only some of which involve the actual quality of the work.

There are things like the length, the subject matter, the target audience, and lots of other things that can be picked out of the query letter in a very short time.

Slush piles, in this Age of Digital Writing and Submission, are now slush mountains. It takes very, very little to get rejected today with so much to go over and so much to pick from.

More on this from Lynn Price's blog.

Keep trying. Something that one agent or publisher has no place for may be just what another one needs. This business is a lot like dating--there's really no way to tell ahead of time when you're going to hit it off.
 

Chris P

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Well, it's been more than a minute, but less than four. Let's see what happens. :)
 

Chris P

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Well, I lasted a few hours, anyway. Form.
 

sovermonter

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Strangely, I submitted a primitive (e.g. "not very good") novel to Alice Martell a few years ago, and her rejection was not only polite, but she offered to let me call her to discuss it. That was a very kind gesture to a novice.
 

perezerin

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Queried at 4:25pm and received a request for a plot summary and the first 50 pages at 7:01. Certainly anxious since this is my first request following my first 3 rejections. fingers crossed.
 
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NoblinGoblin

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Good luck, Perezerin!!

I sent in my query on 6/1. Got a request for a partial on 6/3. I am also anxiously waiting!
 

NoblinGoblin

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Polite R today. Said she wasn't "in love" with it, but she believed I'd have no trouble finding an agent who is.

That's about as nice as an R can get.
 

perezerin

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sorry for the R noblin. i haven't received anything else since the request for the partial so i don't know if that's good or bad.
 

yendor1152

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I've been following this thread and scratching my head. Ms. Martell is obviously a "sweet woman" who rejects pretty much everything sent her way--or, at least, pretty much everything the posters here have sent her. It would be great to hear from just one person who's actually signed with her and what that experience is/was like!
 

Wizera

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Still pretty speedy. Got a rejection on an MG fantasy about an hour after I sent it.