Denise's Golden Rules

A few golden rules from Barone Literary Agency.

1. Unless you’re a client, or I have specially said you can call me, please don’t call me. Don’t be obnoxious and hound me with phone calls.

2. I want only email submissions; no snail mail.

3. You may query with a letter or you may query with a letter and the first three chapters and a synopsis; either way is fine.

4. When sharing your materials with me, please do not direct me to your website or some other e-pub website or some peculiar document-sharing web-service that I have to go to and sign up for or register for, even if the application is free and everyone in the world uses this peculiar document-sharing web-service; if you make it hard for me to read your materials, then I am simply going to reject you.

5. Many people whom I turn down will send me a follow-up email asking for feedback. Unless I have said anything other than, “Thanks for letting me take a look, but I’m going to pass,” then I will not offer you feedback. I’m sure that people will still continue asking me for feedback, but I’m just saying, right here, right now, you’re not gonna get it.

6. If I turn you down with comments, then it means I see potential in you, and may be willing to reconsider, but a blanket, “Thanks, but I’ll pass,” means no.

7. If you’ve written a memoir, and I ask you to change it up, it means I’m interested and believe I may be able to sell your memoir, so don’t get all precious with me about your bullshit ethical duty to tell the “truth.” Even Laura Ingalls Wilder, my beloved childhood heroine and champion of my dreams, stretched the truth to fit her narrative. Don’t believe me? Imagine my surprise, when reading Pioneer Girl, the book about how she came to write the Little House on the Prairie books, when I learned the truth about good old bulldog Jack, the trusty dog, Laura’s beloved bulldog Jack, remember him? Do you remember reading how loyal and devoted he was, and how much Laura loved him, and how he protected the family from the wolves in Little House on the Prairie, by sitting in the doorway and growling at them? Remember all that? Well, guess what? He didn’t get all gray-haired and his legs didn’t become stiff and hard and the poor old guy didn’t just lay down and die in the doorway one morning in the opening pages of On the Banks of Plum Creek, at about the same time that poor Mary got scarlet fever and went blind; no, Jack got traded off with two horses that Pa sold to some farmer, all the way back in the first Little House book! So there! If Laura Ingalls Wilder can stretch the truth, then so can you!

8. I skim the query letters. I generally like to say yes if I receive a query letter; I’ll say, sure, send me your first three chapters and a synopsis. If I am asking for a full however, then it means I’m interested in your writing.

9. Quite frankly, I don’t even read the query letters. I’m more interested in looking at your writing and seeing if you can write.

10. The only thing in a query letter that will interest and/or impress me is your publishing credits, writing credentials, writing awards, and writing group membership. If you want to get rejected instantly, then please do tell me in your query that everyone in your ladies’ book club, church, knitting society, country club, synagogue, class, lecture group, and family loves your book!