Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Charity Fundraising Sample Chapter Offer

Dear All:

As many of you know, I've been involved with Team in Training, raising funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, for a number of years now.  I've ridden literally thousands of miles training for and completing five Century or Century+ cycling events.  And I've raised over $20,000.  But there is no cure yet.

Right now, several friends of mine are training for America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride around Lake Tahoe (I wish I could, but Daddy-duty is all-consuming these days).  Another one hundred miles, preceded by more than a thousand miles of training, not to mention the sacrifice of countless weekend and evening hours of personal time to train.  Oh, and have I mentioned the average rider spends over $2,000 of his or her own money on gear, supplies, travel, and lodging?

To support these folks, I am going to once again offer to read UNSOLICITED sample chapters and synopses in exchange for a donation to one of my friend's fundraising pages.  All funds go directly to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and The Zack Company, Inc. receives no money and no benefit from this.  This is purely a charity effort.  Your donations are tax-deductible.

To take advantage of this offer, you must donate AT LEAST $100 to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society via one of the links below.  Then print a copy of the receipt they email to you and send that copy in as proof of your donation, along with a Sample Chapter (not to exceed twenty-five pages) and a synopsis (not longer than five pages).  Please do visit our Areas of Representation page prior to submitting, to make sure your project fits our list.  And please follow our manuscript preparation guide in putting your material together.  Last but not least, please read my article on writing great query letters before sending in your material.  Your cover letter should, of course, essentially be your query letter, even though you are sending along a sample chapter.

All submissions via this offer will be read within one month and if we pass on the chance to read more of your work, you will receive a written response telling you why.  There will be NO form rejects.  If we want to read more, we'll certainly tell you that also!  Remember, our goal is to find works we can represent and get published.  Helping out a charity is merely a bonus.

IF YOU CURRENTLY HAVE A REQUESTED SAMPLE CHAPTER SUBMISSION WITH US, and want a faster response time, you can get it by making a donation.  Simply make the donation of at least $100 and email a copy of your receipt to the email address from which you received your request for materials (or mail a hard copy).  We will pull your submission and give it a priority read in exchange for your donation.

If you click on a link below and find he or she has already achieved his or her fundraising minimum, please click on the next link and help someone who has not.

Thanks very much.



Thursday, February 17, 2011

So You Want to Write a Novel

Dear Prospective Clients:

Please, oh please, don't be this guy.

Thank you.


Thursday, February 03, 2011

Re: Queries—Please Try Harder

I've been wading through well over one hundred eQueries™ this week and I have to say, I wish most authors would try harder.

The art of the query letter is neither new nor even that complicated.  My website has an extensive discussion of What We Want at  Please read it.  If you don't see something close to your book described there, you should likely query other agents.

My site also has an entire article on writing a great query letter at  Yet, over and over, I get these weak, poorly written queries that, quite frankly, are a waste of time for the author to have written and a waste of my time to read.

No agency is a barn door, whether it takes queries by mail or email or via a form on a website.  So, please, don't treat us like one and keep lobbing poorly written queries and hoping they will stick.

It takes me a couple of hours, at least, to write a submission letter for a book I'm sending to editors.  I've been doing this for twenty or so years, so I figure for a new author to write a good query letter should take several hours of carefully thinking about what makes your book different, writing a solid one-sentence "grabber" that shows the book is "high concept," and drafting a summary that's like good flap copy.

Then, when you have that, you visit my site or other agents' sites and see if your book is something we might want and then carefully fill out the submission form.

Seems like common sense, right?  Unfortunately, given the number of poor queries I get, it must be beyond "common."

So, I implore you, take more time.  Fill out the form with some attention to detail.  And good luck!


Wednesday, February 02, 2011

January 2011: The Monthly Round-up

If it's the start of a new month, it must be time for the monthly round-up.  With new intern, Rebecca, on the job two days a week, we're actually getting somewhere with the reading!

In January we...

...received 75 queries and declined 43;
...received 5 sample chapters and declined zero;
...received 0 proposals and declined 1;
...received 0 full manuscripts (from non-clients) and declined 3.

We currently have on-hand...

...12 sample chapters
...1 proposal
...6 full manuscripts from non-clients and 3 full-manuscripts from clients.

Rebecca is doing the first reads on all of the non-client first manuscripts.  She likes black tea.  You might want to consider bribery (this is a joke!).

We are currently waiting on 14 sample chapters and 3 proposals.

As always, if we request your material and do not receive it within 30 days, we'll follow-up to make sure our request wasn't lost.  If we still don't hear from you in the next month, your query will be discarded.

Wishing all the folks back east some good writing time in the snow.  It's hard to get into that cozy, snow mode when the temp is always in the 60s and 70s all winter and the sun shines nearly every day.  Believe it or not, I'm jealous of the East Coasters!