A while ago I blogged about a response from an agent who outlined four reasons why she was knocking me back. One of those reasons was that she thought the AOL address I was using – aussieauthor – suggested that I wasn’t American and so she didn’t want to take the chance that I couldn’t write, spell and/or punctuate Americanly enough. i.e. I sounded like way too much work.
So, among other things, I changed my address to “turnbullauthor”. Then I got to thinking: if “turnbullauthor” creates a better impression than “aussieauthor” perhaps an email address that ends in “…@martinturnbull.com” might be even better.
This novel I’m currently seeking representation for is actually the 4th one I’ve written. The three that preceded it were good-not-great and certainly not publishable but I knew that, given enough time, perseverance and chocolate, I’d eventually get to the point where I would produce something that was publishable. And when that happened, I’d need to launch myself onto the book-buying public with a website. So I immediately jumped online and reserved the martinturnbull.com domain. And then did absolutely nothing with it for eight years except renew it every 24 months.
And then last week it occurred to me that I could probably have an email account which ends in @martinturnbull.com without having to go to the trouble of designing the whole website. In case you’re wondering…it turns out you can. You can grab a domain with the sole purpose of using it only for an email address if that’s all you want to do.
But then came the question of what to call it.
After much deliberation, I went for:
I’ve put it in that format so that spammers don’t find me! Shhhh…!
My hope is that when agents get a query from martinturnbull.com it will – with any luck – indicate that I take my writing career seriously enough to have had the foresight to register my own name as my domain before all those other damned Martin Turnbulls beat me to it. (And if you do a search on Facebook, you’ll see there are dozens of us.)
And the first agent to get a query from this new email address is lucky Agent #19 who replaces #17 who is one of those agents who only responds within two weeks and only if they’re interested. They didn’t so I assume they’re not.
Agent #19 is a New York agency with a team of 14 people–quite impressive for a literary agency. The query process isn’t agent-specific; you query to a general address and, I assume, it gets passed around until everybody has said no thanks or until one perceptive soul goes Hmmm…this does sound intriguing... They’re also one of those agencies who will respond only if they’re interested. But they do say on their website that they “love books of all stripes” and say yes to anything that ignites their passion. Among the books they’ve shepherded to publication is The Onion’s “Our Dumbest Century”, a novel called “Queen Bees Wannabes” which the movie Mean Girls was based on, and a collection of essays with a title that made me laugh out loud: “Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs.”
This agency also allows you to attach your first fifty pages. It’s always a plus when an agency allows you to do that–these ones are fairly thin on the ground–because if your query letter is a little too lame and/or sucky and/or amateurish and/or too-smart-ass-for-its-own-good, then your writing gets a chance to speak for itself. That’s especially important for those of us not writing about sex, drugs and Cocoa Puffs.