Thursday, September 01, 2005

The August Submissions Scorecard

Well, it’s the first of the month and you know what means, right? The rent is due! No, no. Well, probably. But here at TZC it means we update the Submissions page of our website! But I’ll save you the trip and post the stats here also.

In August 2005, we received 116 queries letters and declined 104. We received nineteen requested sample chapters and declined thirty-five. We also requested another eleven. We requested four proposals, received two, and declined three. We received three full manuscripts and requested one more. We also received two revised full manuscripts from current clients.

As of September 1, 2005, We Have...

...approximately thirty query letters to which we responded and requested more material, but have yet to receive such material. Please note that after ninety days of no response we discard the original query materials. If you queried us prior to June 1, 2005, you should have had a response, one way or another. If you have not, then the response was likely lost in the mail and you should send us a new query.

...approximately 131 sample chapters and synopses or proposals from different projects that we requested but have not yet read and approximately one dozen full manuscripts or previously published books that we have requested and need to read or that clients have revised and we need to read. If you sent us a requested sample chapter in January 2005 or later, we have likely not yet considered it.

Now, I admit something that always intrigues me is why there are authors who query me and then, when I ask to see more, don’t send it. Sometimes I get a letter saying, “Oh, I didn’t expect to hear from you so quickly and my book isn’t done.” So, let me say here that your book should be done before you query any agents. Sure, some agents might sit on your query far too long, but then again one might want you to FedEx it immediately. What are you going to do if that happens?

The number one thing any agent brings to the table is enthusiasm. Don’t kill your potential agent’s enthusiasm by delaying sending along the requested material.

The other thing I don’t get about authors is those who insist on creating elaborate layouts and designs of their manuscripts. Please let me save you the trouble. I want it as “vanilla” as possible. Chances are, you never need to “bold” anything. Nor italicize it. In fact, if you want it set in italics in the finished book, use an underline, not italics. Why? you ask. Well, because no matter what typeface or font is used, underline can’t be missed, but italics can be. So if your publisher is old-school and sends out a hardcopy to be typeset, the underline is going to make sure that italics are set.

As for the rest of the design stuff, this is why publisher hire book designers. Let’s not mess with their employment and leave designing to them.

My ideal page looks like this:

Notice a few things? Double-spaced with each and every paragraph starting with a tab. One-inch margins all around. Title and author’s name in the top left header. Page number on the top right. Easy to read font (Franklin Gothic Book; Courier or Courier New is also okay). Nothing too fancy. Please try and emulate this and it will make every agent happy, I promise. And be sure to read the rest of the
manuscript preparation tips on my site.

Next subject...Training is going well for El Tour de Tucson, though I admit that fundraising could be going better. This is truly a great cause and, more importantly, it’s one that’s probably closer to you than you think. You know what Six Degrees is, right? Start with Kevin Bacon and every actor in Hollywood is only six degrees from him, since he has appeared in so many movies. Well, Leukemia and Lymphoma are “six degrees” diseases. If you don’t have one of them, someone in your family has one or had one (and hopefully survived!), or someone you know or someone someone in your family knows has one or had one. At our information meetings, we ask anyone who is currently battling or has battled one of these diseases to stand up. Then we ask that anyone who has a family member or friend who is battling or has battled one of these diseases to stand up. Then we ask anyone who has ever known anyone who has battled one of these diseases to stand up. And, yes, you’re right. At that point, there’s rarely a single person in the room not standing up!

So, if you haven’t had the chance yet, please visit my fundraising page at and make a donation with your credit card. Or you can contribute by check made payable to the “Leukemia and Lymphoma Society” and mailed to Andy Zack, The Zack Company, Inc., 243 West 70th St., Suite 8D, New York, NY 10023-4366. All donations are 100% tax deductible. And who can’t use another tax deduction next April?

Many thanks!


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