Friday, March 27, 2009

EVERYbody makes mistakes!

Whenever I make a mistake, I point it out to my students, because I want them to understand that mistakes happen to everyone. Mistakes are okay; they become learning experiences. Years ago, I made a literary blunder. It resulted in an even bigger mistake by the agent who responded to my query.

My friend's daughter, an author, journalist, radio/TV personality, gave me contact information for the agent who represented her best selling book. I penned a query and prematurely sent off my manuscript. I wrote:

Dear MR.___,
Your agency represents my friend, Michele___, author of ______.
My manuscript (synopsis)...
Linda O'Connell

I received the following reply.

Dear Michele ____,
I'm sorry, but your manuscript (name of her just released, best selling book!) does not suit our editorial needs at this time.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. This incident taught me several things. First, name dropping doesn't always get desired results. It's a mistake to presume an agent or editor wants to see your work before they request it. And never send your work out unless it is polished.

Everyone makes mistakes. Learn from yours, laugh and forgive yourself.

1 comment:

Julia Gordon-Bramer said...

I could (and perhaps should) do a whole blog just on working with agents. And the sad thing is that I still have no book!