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Full Submissions

September 20, 2010

I’m reading a bunch of manuscripts right now. May I make a suggestion?

Please be sure to put your contact information in the opening page of the manuscript, not just in the query letter. I’m doing my best to keep the two together, but I’m not perfect. If I make a mistake, it’s better to have that second set of contact information available to backstop me. Give me name, address, phone number, email adddress, and anything else that you think is important.

I can’t speak for every agent, but I know in my case it would relieve a small but important worry. About a third of what I’m reading doesn’t have the contact info at the head of the manuscript. Let’s change that.

When I get to the bottom of the pile (I’m guessing it’ll be around October 6), you can expect to have acceptances and rejections going out on the full manuscripts. I’ll also blog about general things that I think can help writers sending in full submissions then, so keep your eyes peeled. A major essay will be forthcoming. I’m making notes as I read.


32 Comments leave one →
  1. trishstewart permalink
    September 20, 2010 5:58 pm

    very exciting! it really is a wonder you got through so much, so quickly.

  2. September 20, 2010 6:06 pm

    Thank you so much for keeping us informed. It’s so stressful waiting and I appreciate that you try and let us know how your progress is coming along. And wow are you fast! LOL

    Love all the tips you provide and looking foward to the essay. Thanks again.

  3. Jill Steele permalink
    September 20, 2010 6:32 pm

    By “contact information,” I’d guess you mean more than the author’s name. For those of us who have already submitted with only the name and title on the manuscript, do you suggest a remedy? I’m assuming you’re only asking for this info to be included with future submissions.

    I also appreciate the head’s up that we shouldn’t expect rejections on the submissions as you read.

    Your blog must be getting huge amounts of traffic these days. Thanks.

    • Denise Little permalink*
      September 20, 2010 7:02 pm

      It’s fine. I’m saving the query letter into the manuscript file–something I decided to do after I realized the problem.

      It just seemed like a good idea to give new writers a heads-up.

      I don’t know what constitutes lots of traffic. So far, the daily high has been about 1500 views a day, The low has beem about 500 views a day. I have no idea what’s normal for an agent’s blog.

  4. Eve Paludan permalink
    September 20, 2010 6:37 pm

    I’m excited, too! Thank you for posting this update.

  5. September 20, 2010 7:03 pm

    Thanks for keeping us updated!

    If I may ask, because I’m insanely curious on how different agents do things, are you developing a process for reading fulls? Reading them in order of oldest to newest, grabbing whatever looks most interesting? Sending out rejections/acceptances in batches or as you finish an MS? Do you know 10, 20, 50 pages in when something definitely isn’t for you or do you keep reading?

    Sorry, lots of questions. I love hearing from agents how their individual processes work. Feel free to ignore in favor of those stories waiting for you. πŸ˜‰

    Good luck finding some great stuff in there!

    • Denise Little permalink*
      September 20, 2010 7:11 pm

      I read the first few pages as it comes in, then plug it into the pile based on a mix of things–how badly I want to read it is the first prority. After that, I’m spacing out urban fantasy with romance with mystery, so I’m not getting a snootful of any one thing all at once.

      I generally know by the end of page 2, but I make a point to read 20 pages of everything. If the first few pages aren’t to my tast, I’ll flip through and read some in the middle and some in the end, just to make sure I’m not missing something.

      • September 20, 2010 7:45 pm

        Awesome. Thank you for satiating my curiosity. πŸ™‚

      • David permalink
        September 20, 2010 10:30 pm

        I think that’s what makes you different. And fab. Some would throw it out if the first page said prologue.

  6. Michelle permalink
    September 20, 2010 7:23 pm

    Thanks for the info! I’m sure we’re all grateful that you are taking the time to help us along the way.

    I’m as curious as Kelley. How do you do it all? And, to share Kelley’s sentiment, feel free to ignore.

    • Denise Little permalink*
      September 20, 2010 7:36 pm

      No secrets. I read really fast.

  7. Chris Eberle permalink
    September 20, 2010 7:34 pm

    First thanks for the chance. You dont know what just having a professional agent reading my manuscript means to me. It gives something that seems to be lacking in life, alot, hope. And reading your blogs helps us all know you’re not just sitting around going Ennie-Meanie-Miney-Moe. I have to admit I’m wondering do you ever get the feeling you have doubts about one you rejected, but want to take a 2nd look at. And if so do you go back?

    • Denise Little permalink*
      September 20, 2010 7:39 pm

      Sure I go back.

      That’s why the bulk of the replies are going out in October.

      If something’s not a clear yes or no, I want some time to think and give it a second chance.

  8. Chris Eberle permalink
    September 20, 2010 7:36 pm

    Also, sorry about forgetting to include my contact info on the first page. I got so EXCITED when you contacted me last week I leapt without looking, so to speak. Chris πŸ™‚

  9. Jeff Salyards permalink
    September 20, 2010 9:12 pm

    I think it’s fantastic that you’re able to buzz through so much material so quickly, and one of the other benefits to submitting to a new agent. Some agents, dealing with their stable of existing clients/books and 1,001 other obligations, will hold onto a partial for months, and I’ve heard stories of fulls languishing with some agents for a lot longer than that.

    Writing can sometimes be a struggle or a slog, but in a lot of ways it’s easier than the waiting!

  10. September 20, 2010 10:11 pm

    To parrot everyone else, thanks for all the info. I love reading an agents blog and yours is a special treat since it’s so personable. Keep up the great work. πŸ™‚

  11. deborah chandler permalink
    September 20, 2010 11:37 pm

    I thank you very much for your fast response, I can appreciate how busy you must be. This is all new to me. May I get an address to send the manuscript to and would it be helpful to send it per fed-x? Thank you again.

    Deborah Chandler

    Sept. 20,2010

  12. Jellybean permalink
    September 21, 2010 12:52 am

    I’ve noticed that some people are getting a quick note from you to say you received their full, but some of us haven’t. Should I be worried? Or should I just calm down? πŸ™‚

    • Denise Little permalink*
      September 21, 2010 4:10 am

      Normally, I try to reply within three days to queries. If you haven’t heard after three days, then requery under normal circumstances. But please note that I’m in the middle of moving, so things are going to fall apart over the next two weeks. I’ll do my best, but I’m going to be swamped.


      • Jellybean permalink
        September 21, 2010 11:24 am

        Sorry; I should have been clearer. I received a request for a full and sent it to you. I’ve heard from other people who sent in requested fulls that you wrote back a quick: “got it, thanks,” but I didn’t get a note like that. Should I worry that I didn’t get one? I do not want to swamp your inbox with resends if my manuscript did make it to you. Goodness knows you have enough to do.

      • Denise Little permalink*
        September 21, 2010 1:31 pm

        Just send it again. Better twice than not at all.


  13. September 21, 2010 5:15 am

    Wow, this blog is so informative. Thanks, Kelley York for asking questions that I never would’ve had the courage to ask (but really wanted to know the answers to). And thanks to you for answering them.

    It’s nice to know our manuscripts get several glances before a final decision is made:)

  14. Chantal Boudreau permalink
    September 21, 2010 11:12 am

    I know I appreciate the heads up. This was my first opportunity to submit a full manuscript to an agent and I’ve been given so many conflicting messages in the past about how to format a submission that I was feeling a little lost. I will definitely make sure to include all contact information with the manuscript as well as the query letter in future. Good luck with your reading and I hope you uncover some real gems.

  15. Cynthia permalink
    September 21, 2010 1:44 pm


    Just a little clarification. Are all responses going to be on/near October 6th for full’s and partials?

    That sounds like a lot of emails. Or is that just when you think you will be done with all of the manuscripts?

    • Denise Little permalink*
      September 21, 2010 3:21 pm

      Barring disaster, that’s when I’ll start sending responses.

      I’m moving. Disaster could come at any time.


  16. Cynthia permalink
    September 21, 2010 3:31 pm

    I’ll cross my fingers for no disasters, especially for your sanity. Best of luck with all the moving.

  17. September 21, 2010 3:32 pm

    Denise, thank you for being so wonderfully open and responsive to the questions posted here, and for keeping us updated. For every question asked, there are likely 100 other people wondering the same thing. It’s very generous of you to respond, especially considering the mountain of manuscripts you have and your move-in-progress. (Good luck with the move. Hoping there are no disasters!!)

  18. Mike C. permalink
    September 21, 2010 5:01 pm

    I have found that many agent blogs seem to be entertainment for themselves and little for the writer to learn from. They simply aren’t worth following day to day. However, your blog is very enjoyable because it is written directly at your audience – queriers. I personally appreciate your efforts to keep us in the loop and let us know where you are in the process. I look forward to following your progress even if there isn’t an offer of representation. You are the first agent I know of that seems more like a writer/agent than just a writer’s agent. Any writer or potential querier can benefit from the information you are providing here. kudos.

  19. Michelle permalink
    September 21, 2010 8:11 pm

    Agreeing with Mike. Your blog has been educational and a blessing for us aspiring to be agented writers. I look forward to your meaningful posts. Very unique. Thanks, Denise!

  20. September 22, 2010 12:03 pm

    Yikes! I’m one of those idiots who didn’t include the contact info. I do have a cover page with that info on it, but I didn’t include it with the e-mail submission, and it never crossed my mind to move the contact info to the first page. Thanks for the suggestion; I will certainly include it in the future, and if I don’t hear back from you, I will know it was my own fault.

  21. October 17, 2010 1:56 pm

    I wrote about this myself earlier today, and it was great to see your view on it Denise.

    Regards :-),


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