updated submission guidelines at DMLA

Hear ye, hear ye….

Submission guidelines at DMLA have been updated. Please read them here: http://www.maassagency.com/submissions.html

Of note, the agency is now responding to all electronic queries: “We will respond to every e-query that is properly addressed and follows the submission guidelines below.  We will not respond to e-queries that are addressed to no one, or to multiple recipients.” I’ve been responding to all equeries for some time now, but the prior official policy of only responding when interested has now been discarded by all members of the agency.

Also, please note that those aforementioned guidelines include no attachments. Please send the first five pages pasted into the body of the e-query.

Alternately, we still accept snailmail queries, but they require an SASE for reply.

If you have any suggestions that you think should be addressed in our guidelines, leave them in comments and I will be happy to pass them along for discussion by the whole group.

12 responses to “updated submission guidelines at DMLA

  1. I do have a question for you, although I think I already know the answer. I’m asking because I’ve received extremely varying advice on this, but not from an agent.
    Let’s say that your first attempt at a query was rejected by an agent. However, over the next several months, you learn quite a bit more about how queries are supposed to work, and the end result is a new query that not only sounds completely different from the first, but actually represents your novel far, far better.
    Is it all right to send that new query to agents who rejected the first poorly constructed one? And does a passage of time between these submissions make any difference?
    (Just to clarify, you aren’t in this group – I wouldn’t be asking this if I were going to bug you via mail!)

    • I’m not really sure that this is the kind of responses I was looking for with regard to additional information on our guidelines. Maybe if we ever do an FAQ.
      In any case, I can answer it here — IMO, querying again is fine, particularly if you have significantly reworked the query and/or the novel. I do not advocate doing it casually. Believe it or not, despite the high volume, repeats can, and do, get noticed. Also, do not participate in the “rubber query club” — queries that bounce back so fast (same week; same day even this has happened to me) the agent is likely to feel their response was not taken seriously.
      Many people also ask whether they should mention their earlier query on the second time around, and I’d suggest not doing so and getting a fresh start unless you had significant correspondence with the agent prior to that.

      • Thank you very much! I really appreciate that response, and I’m sorry it wasn’t a bit more on-topic! (We’re talking a revision along the lines of “Superman is an allegory on the social dichotomy of man=alien” to “Superman is about an alien who learns to be Earth’s hero.” Yeah, it was that bad. Serves me right for trying to be too serious!)
        As for the guidelines themselves, I read the page over again, and they seem even clearer than they were before – and before, they were already quite clear. I honestly can’t think of anything that needs to be added.

  2. I think the guidelines are very clear. Personally, I think anyone smart enough to read agents’ guidelines will know you mean five manuscript (= double-spaced) pages.
    This is more a general comment, but I’ve been thinking about it for a while: I know that agents have to deal with thousands of queries, and several have noted that they don’t have assistants, but surely there are people willing to be Unpaid Interns ™? Could there not be some system wherein the agent shifts the rejections into a separate mail folder, so the interns can deal with sending out the generic ‘thank you for your interest’ responses? If I received such a rejection I would expect an agent to have read the query, but not to have hand-typed the rejection themselves, and that frees up the agent to, er, read more queries. 🙂

  3. I would suggest saying explicitly whether you accept or do not accept HTML email (versus plain text email), and what fonts/sizes you prefer if you do.
    (E.g., In my teeny niche-market editor hat, I do not accept HTML email — my email app doesn’t resize 6-point-Flyspeck… excuse me, Ariel — to a size I can read, because the HTML is overriding it. The plain text is set to something that won’t break my eyes.)

  4. I just wanted to applaud the agency for changing its policy and responding to all equeries. We writers really, really appreciate that.
    Thank you.

  5. but the prior official policy of only responding when interested has now been discarded by all members of the agency.
    I think this is very wise because I’ve always been extremely turned off by the policy of only responding if interested. In fact, whenever I saw that was policy of an agent or editor, I refused to submit as a matter of principle. I feel that it’s very rude not to respond to a properly submitted query. I’m guessing that I’m not the only writer who feels this way.

  6. A quick trip to the site reminded me to tell you that “What We’re Looking for This Month” has always been one of my favorite things to read on the web, and I loved when you added it to your blog. On that note, “All the Stars in the Sky” is an awesome title. Can I have it? Pleeeeeease?

  7. Hurray! I’m so glad you’ve started answering all e-queries; it’s always been a peeve of mine when agencies don’t respond at all.

  8. I’m confused about submitting to more than one agent at your agency. From reading your blog, I get the impression that you go through your own queries. Then I found an old interview with Donald Maass which makes it sound like you all get together in a meeting to go over queries. So my question is, if you’ve rejected my query, is it pointless to send to another agent there?

    • The answer is, to some extent, that we do both. Each agent is responsible for their own queries and replying to them, but we do also discuss them in meetings and via email in case there are likely matches for the other agents in our group.

  9. It seems very clear and concise. About the only thing you are missing is a note that writers should only query with works they have actually completed.

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