FAQ

1.    I want to be part of the DGLM family.  How do I query you?

Please check out our Submission Requirements for guidance.

2.    There are a lot of you.  Which one of you would be the best fit for my work?

Check out Who We Are and What We’re Looking For and read more here.  We cannot tell you which one of us to submit to—you know your work, so do your research and then pick whichever of us feels like the right fit for you.

3.    I’m torn between a few of you.  Can’t I just query you all?

No.  You need to pick just one of us—we don’t compete amongst ourselves, but we do share work with each other. If one of us receives a project we think is wonderful but not right for our own list, we’ll pass it along to a more appropriate agent. Please do not submit to more than one of us whether simultaneously or in succession.

4.    What if I have a few options and the person I select doesn’t bite?  Should I query another agent at the agency for that project?

Again, we’re good at sharing around here.

5.    How do I get in touch?

You can find our email addresses here.  We strongly prefer email to snail mail queries; Michael only accepts queries by email.  Do not call to pitch your work—publishing is about the written word, so we need to read your pitch, not hear it.

6.    I’m a playwright, screenwriter, or poet.  Are you the right agency for me?

We do not represent plays, screenplays, or poetry, but we’re open to nearly everything else.

7.    Do you represent illustrators?

We do not represent commercial or editorial illustrators. However, we do occasionally represent author/illustrators in the children’s picture book market. Please note, though, that we are only interested in professional-level illustrators with a proven track record who can also write—if you are an author who likes to draw or paint but does not have any professional illustration credentials, we would not be the right agent for you.

8.    How much does it cost to submit to you?

Nothing.  In fact, any agency that charges fees should give you pause.  It’s against the Association of Authors’ Representatives (AAR) Canon of Ethics to charge reading fees.

9.    So how do you make money?

We only get paid when our clients get paid, taking a commission on the income received for their work.  Our commission on a book sale is 15% (subsidiary rights commission percentages vary), and that’s industry standard.

10.      What should a query look like?

We’ve given a lot of query advice on our blog, so you should read more here.

11.      What exactly is a nonfiction proposal?

Unlike fiction, nonfiction is usually sold before a full book has been written.  Instead of a manuscript, a proposal is used to submit to publishers—and therefore as agents, that’s what we’d like to see as well.  For detailed guidelines on what goes into a proposal, take a look at Nonfiction Proposal Guidelines.

12.      Can I submit to you if I’ve also submitted to other agents?

Yes.  If you send queries one at a time, it’ll take you forever!  We assume that other agents (outside our agency—see below) also have the queries we do, and we don’t have a problem with that.  However, you shouldn’t indiscriminately blanket the publishing community with queries.  Targeted queries are far more likely to succeed, and if we can see that you’re sending it to every agent on the planet, we’re not going to be able to give it serious consideration.  And you should tell us if other agents already have your full manuscript or if you already have an offer of representation.

13.      Can I submit to editors and agents simultaneously?

Not really.  An agent taking on a project can’t effectively manage a submission if the author starts the ball rolling—sometimes in the wrong direction!—so it’s important to seek out an agent before seeking out a publisher.  You can rarely submit to a publisher more than once, so if publishers have passed on your work, our chances of success will shrink, so it’s harder for us to take something on.

If through some rare chance your book is out with an editor, you should mention how that contact came about and who has it in your query.  And you should also let us know if the work has already been submitted to, and turned down by, one or more editors.

14.      I have a publisher/deal already.  How do I submit to you?

You should be looking for an agent before a publisher, but if you haven’t, you’re in a tough spot.  Agents make their money by taking commission on deals, so if you already have a book deal, it’d be hard for us to make any money on that book.  We aren’t freelance publicists or marketers, and larger publishers infrequently buy the rights to already published/self-published books.  99% of the time, you’re better off getting to work on your next book and querying agents for that.  If you have an offer but haven’t concluded a deal yet, query us as you would otherwise—and of course lead with that good news.

15.    Should I pitch multiple books in one query?

We prefer to consider one project at a time.  If you’re writing a series, it helps to know how many books you project it will contain, but we don’t need synopses of other projects when you first query.  If we want more info, we’ll let you know!

16.     How long should my writing sample be?

Please do send sample material.  Send the first chapter—even if chapter 14 is your favorite.

17.      How long should my actual book be?

This is a big question that there isn’t really any hard answer for.  What’s most important is that you write a book that is as long as makes sense for what you’re writing.  A 40,000 word epic fantasy makes as little sense as a 250,000 word debut young adult novel. That said, there are always exceptions to the rule. Ultimately, an average adult project will be in the 80-100,000 word range and for young adult it might be 50-75,000 words.  For middle grade, the range is quite large.  Realistic books on the younger end of the spectrum may be as short as 35,000 words, whereas fantasy novels can run all the way up to 100,000 words.  It’s important to understand the conventions of both your category and genre.

18.    I sent a query.  How long should I wait to hear back?

6-8 weeks.  We do endeavor to respond to everything, but with the number of queries we receive and the pitfalls of spam filters, it’s inevitable that something will fall through the cracks from time to time. If you haven’t heard within that time, please resubmit and let us know that you had tried to reach us before instead of following up to ask for a status update.

19.      My query worked!  You requested my material, but now how long should I wait before I follow up?

Two months, though we try to get back to everyone sooner.

20.      You turned me down a while back, but I’ve thoroughly revised my work.  Can I try again?

If you’ve genuinely made it substantially different (and, one hopes, better) then we don’t at all mind if you come back to us and offer it again.  Just be up front about it when you do, and if we think that a re-read might be to our and your benefit, we’ll be happy to do so.

21.      You turned me down.  Can you tell me more about why?

Unfortunately, the volume of submissions we receive makes it impossible for us to offer feedback on individual projects. We’d love to be able to help everyone, but we just don’t have enough time, and for reasons we’ve explained on our blog, it’s not what we feel is best for you anyway.

22.      OK, so can you tell me who else to query then or refer me to another agent?

The nature of the business allows us to know what editors are looking for much more than what other agents seek.  As such, we can’t offer recommendations for agents outside the agency.

23.      What kind of shot do I have here?  What percentage of the projects you consider do you actually take on?

We take on a very small percentage of the work that we review, less than 1% of the queries we receive.  We know they’re daunting odds, but we hope you believe strongly enough in your work to try us anyway.

24.      I work in multiple genres.  If I was your client, how would you handle that?

We work across a lot of categories and many of our agents have clients who write for different audiences and in different genres.  We see our role as helping to shape careers and guiding our clients to the strongest possible choices for how to build and grow their audience.  Working across categories, you need to be very strategic, and we work with those clients to help them find the best balance for their particular situation.

25.      How does the submission process work once I have an agent?

Things undoubtedly vary from agency to agency, but Jane wrote all about this on our blog.

26.      What happens if we don’t find a publisher?

You’re a glass half-empty type, aren’t you?  Read what Jim had to say here.

27.     How long does it take from the point I think my work is ready to have a book on the shelves?

There’s no hard and fast rule here, but it’s rarely going to be less than 2-3 years.  You have to find an agent; together develop the project till it’s ready for submission; the agent has to submit it; a deal has to be negotiated and a contract signed; then you have to write it and then edit it; then it has to go through the production process—cover design, copyediting, proofreading, layout, etc.  Beyond all that, your publisher will need time from the point that the manuscript is accepted (after you’ve worked on it with your editor) to actually launch, position, market, and publicize the book.  Many, many, many authors take far more than 2-3 years from the point they hit send on the first query.  Very few take less.

28.     I’m supposed to be a marketer now?  Doesn’t my publisher do that?

At a good publisher, marketing and publicity departments will work hard on your book, and yet there’s still more that can (and should!) be done to promote it if you want the best chance for success.  Nowadays what works for most books is establishing a genuine connection between author and writer, and no one can do that for you.  This will largely involve leveraging what the internet has to offer to build a platform and relationship with your readers.  We talk about this a lot on our blog because it is vital to the success of books in this day and age, so you can read more here.

29.      So when do I get a film deal?  And a translation into Russian?  And an audio book?

Subsidiary rights are a complex beast.  Read more about them on our blog!