Agent #44 – The Do’s and Dont’s

Why oh why oh why in god’s name didn’t I contact agent #44 first? I guess because in the Jeff Herman guide ‘historical’ wasn’t listed as a particular area of interest. BUT on her website, she says that she “…is enthusiastic about discovering fresh voices. … She is drawn to voice-driven fiction… She looks for queries that provide fresh insight or a wide lens that captures life at a certain period in time.” Um…hello…? That’s pretty much the entire point of what I’m trying to do with my writing. What a shame it’s taken me six months and 43 agents to get around to checking her out.

And she’s in New York.

And the agency she works for published a book called At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream which is what you’ll hear me doing if I hear back from them telling me that they’re interested in reading more.

For fiction queries this agency asks that querying authors include the first chapter-double spaced-along with the-one page-query. In order to help them help you, they also included on their website a list of 12 things you can do to improve your chances, as well as 10 things to avoid doing if you don’t want your query dumped in the You’ve Got To Be Freakin’ Kidding Me folder of their SPAM program.

I’d already done pretty much everything on their “DO” list but was somewhat surprised to read some of the things on their “DON’T” list. One was: Don’t focus on how unpublished you are. I thought, Really? People actually highlight their complete lack of publishing success? I’d have thought the absence of any publishing credentials, no matter how inconsequential, would have been enough of a flashing neon sign. Why let yourself fall prey to the urge to spotlight it in a letter to someone you’re trying to convince to take you seriously as a writer? But apparently they’ve received enough queries doing exactly that to add it to their “DON’T” list.

After spending six months to find this agent, I’m just hoping that I don’t get booted onto her You’ve Got To Be Freakin’ Kidding Me list.


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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