A few weeks ago someone gave me the name of a literary agency that she’d dealt with before, who she thought might be in the market for Not Your Heart Away . So I had a look at their website.
I’d heard every agency around is swamped with manuscripts, good bad and ugly these days and if most of them are anything like the stuff I find in most ‘writer’s forums’ it’s a job I don’t envy.
There was a huge section of the website about submissions and how to send them, along with the now-almost-statutory:
‘Lurk, we’re rarely busy yah? Say you won’t hair from us for three months and nay, dain’t keep calling to see how it’s gaying, rarely, because it just gets rarely say irritating and if you piss us orf we’ll just put it in the bin, yah?’
Maybe they don’t still speak like that, but I like to imagine they do. The Sophies and Tansys and Carolines that used to knock about Palings wine bar in Hanover Square after a heavy shift at Conde Nast did anyway, even if it was a while ago I went there.
After that there was an almost equally as big bit on the website about how not to send email submissions, meaning just don’t. Paper only, please. If you can’t be bothered to do that then just don’t bother at all, which I think is fair enough, if a tad anachronistic. I think it’s specifically done because it’s so easy to fire off an email with an attachment – as an agent you’d have to read the whole lot that came in. Iain Banks’s The Wasp Factory came in unsolicited, after all.
So I did. Printed it all out, about 270 pages of line-and-a-half spaced A4. It wasn’t totally unsolicited, a friend-of-a-friend had dealt with the agency for years and thought NYHA might be their sort of thing so give it a go, no guarantees. That was a month ago. Last week I got email from them. Can you send it as an email attachment? Got the paper version, lovely, immaculately presented but look, frankly a bit much to pack around town so be a pal and just send it in Word so I don’t break my shoulder, taking it home to read?
Well, since you ask and as you said you liked the the way I’d done it the first time, ok. Just this once, mind. I just hope it’s the same version, that’s all.