So tell me...Can You Handle the Truth?

Apparently I don't hold up well under peer pressure....

It's August, I am about to head out for vacation, and I'm excited to come back in September and finish 2014 with a bang.

So you asked for it.

What am I talking about?

I always hear from writers that they want to know what an agent is really thinking when they click to send a form rejection.

If you fall into that category, this is your chance.

When I'm back from vacation, I will respond to the queries I receive in complete honesty. I will either request your manuscript or I will pass and tell you exactly why.

No form rejection.

Now, this isn't a critique. Please don't expect that. I would never again see the light of day.

This is just an honest response to your query, but if you've been getting a lot of form rejections, this might tell you why. (hopefully it'll be at least a little helpful?)

You may see something as simple as "Not bad, but just not for me." or "I don't represent legal thrillers." or "Mermaids creep me out." OR you may see something like "I don't understand your plot" or "I stopped reading when you mentioned that the mailman was a vampire space zombie who has come to deliver a message of PAIN. Because come on...seriously?"

So, if you want the truth, query me for the next week (so right now until 11:59 pm EST on Saturday 8/30) and follow the directions very carefully.

  • Queries must be submitted to Query(at)newleafliterary(dot)com. 
  • All queries entered must have this in the subject line: QUERY SUZIE - I can handle the truth
  • If it does not have this in the subject line, it will be considered a regular query only.
  • Queries must be in the body of the email. NO attachments!
  • Queries should include the first 5-10 pages of your manuscript in the body of your email below your query. 
  • One query per writer please. (Don't think you can trick me with different email addresses either)
I will make an announcement when I have responded to all the queries. I'll be aiming to have them all answered by Sunday 9/7.

Further Guidelines:
  • Yes, if you've already been rejected by me (or someone else at New Leaf) you may resubmit your query. But revise your query first. Don't say "You already rejected me..." Treat it like you've never queried her before.
  • Your queries will NOT be posted on this or any other blog. I will reply to you via your e-mail, only.  (Make sure your email doesn't require me to fill out some form to prove I'm not a spammer--I'm not going to go that above and beyond to get back to you).
  • You must treat this as an actual query process, which means you need to have a complete manuscript. If I do request your manuscript, I don't want to find out there isn't one!
Okay, ready go!

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tawney13 said...

WOW! You are just an awesome agent! I hope to have something someday to send you. Have a wonderful vacation and happy reading!

Unknown said...

What an awesome thing to do for aspiring writers! I would really like to participate, but I just sent my query in to you this morning, no response yet. Is it okay if I re-send? Thank you!

Unknown said...

Thanks you so much for doing this. I always find silence (which is what a form rejection amounts to) much harder to take than criticism. Now I have to go revise me query :)

Sue Coletta said...

This is such an enormous help for those of us at the querying stage. Thank you so much for being so generous with your time. Enjoy your vacation!

Michelle Tran said...

Thanks so much for doing this!

Emma said...

Oh wonderful, this is great, OK so I will be brave. How do you want to see the text? Font, spacing etc, as a standard submission I assume? With synopsis?

Karen Naylor said...

What a lovely thing to do for aspiring writers. Have a fantastic holiday n enjoy the fruits of your kind offer upon your return.

Karen said...
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Anonymous said...

This is so awesome of you! I sometimes wish agents would reply with some straight-up truth. I can take it, and it can only help in future submissions! Mine is in your inbox now.

Tracy Campbell said...

Hi Janet,
Your generosity is amazing. I wish my genre was one you represent.
Enjoy your vacation.
Tracy :-)

Unknown said...

What an amazing opportunity! Thank you so much for your generosity. Have a wonderful vacation!

Unknown said...

You are awesome! I was just preparing my submission to you with my completely revised and edited manuscript. What are the chances? I just wish I included the first 10 pages instead of the websites preferred 5.

Becca. said...
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Becca. said...

That's amazing. If this were Facebook, I'd hit the like button!

I had to go watch this and laugh.

I'll spend the rest of the night thinking of all literary agents as Jack Nicholson. Awesome.

That whole YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH speech ---->

D.C.C. Mealy said...

So exciting, thank you for doing this! This will be really helpful. I've already sent it off to you!! SQUEE.

Erin Breed said...

Is there any chance you will be doing this again? I missed this great opportunity, and it's like shooting in the dark trying to figure out what an agent is looking for in a Query letter.

Unknown said...

Hi Erin, this has become a sort of yearly thing. So look for it some time next summer.