Literary Agent #4 – Don’t send chocolate unless you’re writing about chocolate

When I found this agent in Jeff Herman’s guide, she listed “historical fiction” as one of the areas she’s interested in representing. Tick! And she lives in New York. Tick! However when I went to her website, I couldn’t find any historical fiction titles highlighted. (All the literary agent websites list their author clients and titles that best represent the focus of the agency.) So I went back to her listing in the Herman guide and what it actually says is “historical and biblical fiction”. So now I’m thinking when she says “historical” she’s talking sandals and togas and goats with the odd pharaoh and Persian invasion thrown in for atmosphere. I like a nice Persian rug as much as the next guy, but my stuff is 1920s and 30s Hollywood – it’s all shadowy bootleggers and blowsy chorines. So I don’t know if I’m a good match for this agent and I almost didn’t bother drafting a query to her…until…I read a page on her website called ‘The Perfect Pitch.’

Basically she says that pitching ideas is a very individual thing and so there’s really no such thing as THE perfect pitch. She does implore us aspiring authors not to resort to gimmicks like scented candles and aromatherapy oils. But in the same paragraph she goes on to say that one author sent her a query about a book called “Enlightment through Chocolate” and accompanied it with an exquisite box of chocolates which she proceeded to devour as she read the query. Now there is a girl after my own heart.

What I learned from all this is that there is such a thing as a good match on paper, and then there’s a good match in the real world and you never know which match is which until you step forth bravely into the world. Armed with chocolate.


About Martin Turnbull

The Hollywood's Garden of Allah novels blog is by Martin Turnbull, a Los Angeles based historical fiction author writing about the golden era of Hollywood in his series of novels set at the Garden of Allah Hotel, which stood on Sunset Blvd from 1927 to 1959. Check him out at and Facebook: "gardenofallahnovels"
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4 Responses to Literary Agent #4 – Don’t send chocolate unless you’re writing about chocolate

  1. Cris Kennedy says:

    You need to brew a batch of gin in your bathtub and send your script in with your own bootlegged moonshine.

  2. Chezzie says:

    For an box of chocolates l would do almost anything!!!!!!

  3. Linda Morgan says:

    You r learning so much.
    (PS I loved the potato pie/geurnsey novel)

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