Agent #21 – Home Court Advantage

After reviewing my list of agents I’ve approached, I found two from whom I haven’t heard back. I emailed them both a month ago and both of them fall into the We’ll Be In Touch Only If We Give A Flying Flock of Feces category. Sooner or later you have to give these people up for dead and, generally speaking, I mentally abandon their graves after one calendar month.

I know enough to understand that being a literary agent is a very labor intensive job and time is very precious. So I can’t imagine they’re inclined to divide query letters like mine into ‘No’, ‘Yes’, and ‘Maybe Yes, Maybe No, I’ll Think About It Later.’ Given the volume of queries they deal with, I’m sure they make an instant decision – yes or no – and move on to query #2961 for this week. A whole month is too long to sit in the ‘Maybe Yes, Maybe No, I’ll Think About It Later’ pile so I give them a month and then get on with my life.

Which I have…to agent #22. This agent is based in New York and has a remarkable roster of writers. They include: Sophie Kinsella (of the Shopaholic book series), Colleen McCullough (of Thornbirds fame), Rebecca Welles (Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood), Randy Jackson (from American Idol), the literary estates of William Styron (Sophie’s Choice), P.G. Wodehouse (Jeeves) and was also the agent who helped bring to publication the autobiography of tennis player Andre Agassi – Open – which I am reading at the moment and loving.

To be able to join such a remarkable collection of writers would be enormously thrilling however this particular agency caught my eye because it’s run by an Australian. In addition to that, among the dozens of writers listed on their website, more than just one or two of them are from Australia and New Zealand. In fact quite a few of their writers are from outside the U.S. which is something I haven’t seen before on the websites of any other literary agents.

So despite the fact that agent #17 said “Don’t send your queries from ‘aussieauthor‘” and despite the fact that I’ve spent quite a bit of time setting up ‘email me at martin turnbull‘ I sent this query from ‘aussieauthor‘. Is that a tactical misstep? Maybe. If the agency listed only American authors as their clients, I’d probably be sending my query from emailme. But the fact that so many of their clients are not from the U.S., it suggests that they cast their gaze further than the borders of the USofA when considering new authors. And with so many query letters landing in their in-box, someone like me needs to catch their eye somehow so I’m taking a chance that receiving a query from aussieauthor might do the trick. Or not. Who knows? Not me. Maybe not even them. All I know is that I need to stand out from the other 3000 queries this agency will get this week so if pressing the Aussie connection helps to put me over the net, then I say, “ACE!”


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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