Recently, I'm reading this query letter and liking it. After the author wows me with a fabulous one paragraph summarization of her novel and I'm about to request the work, I read, "I am looking for an agent to consider representing me."
What I feel at this point is dismay, which switches to frustration then anger. This might sound irrational or maybe even borderline insane, but that's how I feel. What on earth would possess a person to query a publisher and ask for representation? Yes, I used to be an agent, but it's been two years since I've represented anyone. Also, what's even more disturbing is that this person went to our publishing Web site, which clearly states we are publishers, to get the address they used to query us.
P.S. For those who send us queries asking for representation, please note that you will be referred to this blog post, after which your query will be rejected, unanswered.
If this were a rare occurrence, I wouldn't be concerned or angry, but in the last month alone I've received at least 25 queries from authors seeking representation. Not only is this a complete waste of time for both of us, it's also scary that these unaware authors are leaving themselves wide open to be easily plucked by the unscrupulous.
Let's examine that for a moment: Suppose I did write back to these 25 and offered to represent them, as they wished. To make this work, what if wrote: I would love to represent you and will as soon as your novel is brought up to standard. We offer a wonderful editing service for which we charge a small fee of X dollars. Our editors are the best in the world (at this point there's usually testimonials, written, of course, by this very same person). After the testimonials, there's usually a promise of representation AFTER the edits are complete, of course. But these edits usually follow other edits until the author, now out a few thousand dollars, calls a halt and demands his or her money back—which never happens.
This actually happens, by the way. Authors are taken to the cleaners by people who operate and have been operating scams of this sort for years. Authors who do no research are their prey. So, with all that said, we need your help. Please, if you would, go to our Web address and see what's there that makes authors think we might represent their work. If there's something that might be misleading, we must fix it. Our site address is http://www.mbpubs.com. Thank you for your help.