A book in the door

I've recently received a rash of emails asking me if I would please pass manuscripts along to my agent, or make an e-introduction so the person could query him, or just "put in a good word." No. Sorry. I won't. I don't read random things that show up, unasked for, in my inbox from people I don't know. But here's the thing: you don't need me to do this.

I am represented by Joe Monti. My agency is Barry Goldblatt Literary. And yes, I am very happy with that situation - Joe is not only a terrific agent, he's a terrific person, and the extended BGL family are among my favorite people. 

There was no secret path that opened up for me in my agent search. When I queried Joe, I went through the slush pile - no introductions, no passing along of manuscripts, no "hey, would you put in a good word." All I had was a manuscript, the best I could make it. I followed the submission guidelines, which, in this instance, meant a query letter, a synopsis, and my first five pages. That's all anyone needs. And not just to query Joe, but to query any agent.

Let me say it again: all you need is your book. It should be finished, and revised and edited, and made as polished and good as you can make it at that point in time, because you usually cannot query twice with the same project. But you don't need a letter of introduction or a secret handshake or a code word. Clients do not act as screening devices for agents. We aren't the ones who read slush. You don't need to know someone at the agency to get your book in the door.

So no. I won't pass along your manuscript for you. But you don't need me to do that anyway.