I’ve just started an agent search for my new novel, FLICKER, and of course, I find myself running the gauntlet of diverse agent requirements. Some want only a query letter, some want that plus a brief synopsis, others want all that, a brief bio, the first chapter or multiple chapters, and your first-born children. And don’t you dare put any of this into an e-mail attachment!
After about the twentieth e-mail, I started wishing for some kind of clearinghouse where authors could enter their information ONCE for review by agents and acquisitions editors worldwide, and be done with it. Is that too much to ask?
Apparently not, if you’re willing to pay. The same day I sent out those 20 e-mails, I received an e-mail from the Independent Book Publishers Association, letting me know that my press could take advantage of a service for publishers. It’s called the Bowker Manuscript Submission Service, which gives authors the opportunity to put their manuscripts in front of acquisitions editors.
Trouble is, it’s not such a good deal for authors, who must pay a fee of $99 per manuscript to be listed on the service, which currently is made available to just 28 participating publishing companies and their acquisitions editors. To me, that’s too small a base for me to turn over $99.
So I’ll keep running the gauntlet, thank you very much, and keep dreaming about a Uniform Manuscript Submission Form that would be used by all publishers, agents, and authors—for free. But if you’d like to check out the Bowker offering, the url is http://www.bowkermanuscriptsubmissions.com/author/