Thursday, May 1, 2014


 by Ursula Renée

I came across a comic strip in which Snoopy wrote, “Gentlemen, I have just completed my new novel. It is so good; I am not even going to send it to you. Why don’t you just come and get it?”

Though you may not have enough chutzpah to send a letter like that to an editor or agent, there are times in which you may display behavior that is equally bad.

During the conference season, you will be presented with many opportunities to present your manuscript. It is important to have confidence in your work. If you do not believe in it, you will not be able to get others interested. However, when talking about your manuscript, do not act like you are doing them a favor.

Do your research before pitching or submitting to an editor or agent. If the person does not want a particular genre or sub-genre, you will annoy her by insisting she review a manuscript that contains those elements. Also, if someone does not accept unsolicited manuscripts, do not send your work under the assumption that it is so fabulous she will ignore her policy and review it. In some cases, it will be returned unread. In others, it will be tossed in the recycling bin.

If you encounter an editor or agent at an event other than a pitch session, it is all right to approach her and strike up a conversation. However, do not immediate jump into a pitch. She may be at the event to relax and does not want think about business. Wait for her to ask about your current work-in-progress.

If you are at an event where editors and agents expect authors to pitch to them, then it is all right. However, if said editor/agent is in the middle of a conversation, do not simply walk up and start talking about your manuscript. Instead of remembering what a fabulous plot you developed, she may remember how rude you were.

Finally, if you receive the dreaded rejection letter, do not contact the editor or agent to give her a piece of your mind. It is unprofessional and childish. Instead, if she offers you feedback, read her advice and, if necessary, make revisions to your manuscript. If she asks you to resubmit, then go ahead. Otherwise, move on.

It is important to believe in your work, but do not let that confidence turn to arrogance. Few editors and agents want to work with overbearing authors.♥

Ursula Renée is the President of RWA/NYC. Her historical romance, SWEET JAZZ, will be published by The Wild Rose Press. When she is not writing, she enjoys photography, drawing and stone carving. Visit her at


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