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Zeno Agency (John Parker, John Berlyne)

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Wonderlander

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Hi,

I have a meeting this week with John Parker from the Zeno Agency.

I know he used to be at MBA until last year and he had a considerable science fiction/fantasy list, and that the Zeno list has been closed to new submissions for a few months now.

Any info/experiences appreciated!
 
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Aliette de Bodard

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They're my agency, and I'm very happy with them. John Parker has a lot of experience with agenting (he was with MBA for a while and then left to start his own agency), and John Berlyne is very knowledgeable and dynamic. They're both incredibly responsive and helpful.
 

tbrosz

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You snooze, you lose! Submissions are closed again!

I suggested that maybe they should call themselves the Brigadoon Agency... :)
 

steampunk

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man, i could totally kick myself right now. I sent Zeno a query and messed up at the end saying that i was attaching things that I wasn't attaching cause I copied and pasted from an old letter and John totally called me out on it saying my query confused him and "what should I make of this?"
Really sucks.
So I groveled and apologized for wasting his time. I hope he still wants to see something but I'm guessing that I blew it.
 

Epiphany

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I subbed, but my "pitch" was ten sentences long, even though they said to narrow it down to "a few". I wonder if that will count against me.
 

Epiphany

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I sent a query today, and this is what I got back in the email (in about 3 hours):

Dear Zada:

Thanks for your enquiry. Can you please send me a detailed one page synopsis that outlines what happens in the book, the first three chapters and a writing CV which gives some further details about yourself and your work?

Many thanks

John B


My only question, what is a CV? I haven't been asked for that before, so I would appreciate some guidance....thanks!


http://www.cvtips.com/
 

Parametric

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My only question, what is a CV? I haven't been asked for that before, so I would appreciate some guidance....thanks!

Someone who asks for a "writing CV" will be looking for stuff like an MFA or a degree in creative writing, any courses or workshops you've participated in, writing credits, possibly experience in related industries like journalism or technical writing. That kind of stuff. :)
 

Epiphany

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Bleck. I hate writing CVs. I feel like such a newb when I reread it. Haha.
 

EgyptianGoddess

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Someone who asks for a "writing CV" will be looking for stuff like an MFA or a degree in creative writing, any courses or workshops you've participated in, writing credits, possibly experience in related industries like journalism or technical writing. That kind of stuff. :)


Well heck.....what if you have none of that? I'm just a good storyteller.......Ekkkkkk
 

EgyptianGoddess

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If 'twere me, I'd be tempted to email back with the requested synopsis + first three chapters and mention in my cover email that I have nothing relevant to put in a writing CV.


Ok, I'll do that, because otherwise I'd really be winging it trying to remember my creative writing class from high school and just how many articles DID I write for the workplace newsletter? lol

Thanks!
 

Epiphany

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Well EgyptianGoddess, I didn't have the same three hour luck as you did.

Maybe I'll hear back from them tomorrow.
 

Zeno Agency

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To clarify, we ask for a CV to give us some insight into the person contacting us. Helping get a writer published is not, alas, simply about the writing! In the corporatised world of publishing, writers are viewed as assets and commodities and as products which must be branded when sold to the market. It's not pretty but we, as agents need to consider these things as well as the quality of the writing.

I also like to see a CV to find out how clued in the enquirer is into the marketplace - someone who submits a fantasy novel can make me more inclined to look at their submission over someone else's if they can tell me they're a LOCUS subscriber, or even a regular contributor to forums like this one, or that they attended the last World Fantasy Convention. It's not a test or an examination for you to pass - it's merely a method of allowing us further insight into the submission and the author and it should be viewed as a further and favourable way to grab our attention.

One thing I'd add is that I'm not at all sure how comfortable I feel having my correspondence quoted in full on a public forum like this. (We read them too, folks!) I wonder how folks might feel were I to quote their submission enquiries in full in quite the same way? The arguments for doing so would be the same - transparency, public good, helping other writers &etc - but I would consider it a basic professional courtesy to ask the person who wrote in confidence if they would mind.

JB
 
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CaoPaux

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Welcome, JB, and thank you for the details on what you are looking for.

Re: the email. I expect its brevity put it under the radar of the usual "quoting in full" concerns. Regardless, I'm sure the poster will be happy to edit it to paraphrase.
 

EgyptianGoddess

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I didn't mean to do anything disrespectful or break any rule or social norm in this forum. I've often seen emails quoted, and I posted it to ask what a CV was (and because I was so pleased at a quick, favorable response). I'm sorry for any problem or misconception I may have caused as a result. I deleted that post, but unfortunately it was quoted by someone else in a response of theirs and I'm not able to remove that.

I do have fulls out with other agents and other partials out as well, but this agency seemed to be a really good one, and I was just excited. I sincerely meant no offense. Now I feel terrible about it.

I guess that will throw me out of the ball park now on the partial I sent to him.....sigh
 
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Giant Baby

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I wouldn't think so, EG. You weren't being a jerk with that post, and most sucessful agents will forgive just about anything else if the manuscript is good.
 

Twizzle

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...most sucessful agents will forgive just about anything else if the manuscript is good.

QFT.

Don't beat yourself up over it, EG. We've all made honest gaffs we wish we could undo.


-Twizzle. Who knows this truth far too well.
 
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Anne Lyle

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Lo, the mists have parted, and Zeno is open to submissions again:

http://zenoagency.com/news/zeno-now-accepting-submissions/

As per usual, they have very specific things they are looking for. On the plus side, they're quick off the mark - when I queried last night, John B replied with a request for partial in under 2 hours :eek:
 
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ronempress

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Thanks, Anne! I didn't see it until this morning, but I've known since the 15th that they expected to open, so at least I was ready. :) Here's hoping for both of us. Just curious, what is your genre? Mine's fantasy.
 

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