Lucy Carson Requests Full Manuscript of Ninjas

After a month, I thought Lucy Carson had erased my query letter.  Because I have my shit together (I'm OCD), I keep a linear log of all my submissions (both to agents, literary journals + CW jobs), with color coding based on the final results of each submission.  Black = manuscript still in play.  Orange = manuscript being reviewed (useful only for submishmash/journals with online submission manager).  Light grey = rejection (because it's the easiest on the eyes).  Green = acceptance.  Blue = withdrawn.  Red = who who the fuck knows what happened?  The point being, after a week, I'd already changed my query status for Lucy Carson from black to red because I hadn't heard a thing.  Usually, when agents don't respond within a week, they don't respond at all.  That's been my experience 99.999% of the time.  But today:  Jackson, meet exception.  Exception, Jackson.

Today I got a very gracious response today from Lucy Carson requesting the entire novel.  She also thanked me for my kind words for one of her clients, Ruth Ozeki, who I read at USC + mentioned in my query letter.  Some of the clients at The Friedrich Agency include:  The Pulitzer prize-winning Jane Smiley, Esmeralda Santiago, Ruth Ozeki, Carol Muske-Dukes (a USC poet, no less) + Elena Gorokhova.  Not bad at all.  But to put things in perspective, statistically speaking, the number of literary fiction writers + male writers at this agency is slim.  So, I'm not going to delude myself into expecting miracles here.  But, I def appreciate the full manuscript request.  Now let's see if it's a good fit for her.  If not, I'm certainly flattered nevertheless that a tech-savvy agent like LC showed interest in my novel. 

Solicited Manuscript from Construction

I'm tempted by this email I got today to send David Plick, the editor, something, even though I generally shy away from online journals these days. Still, I'm flattered by the solicitation.

Dear Jackson Bliss,

You and I were published together in the last issue of Fiction (my piece was called, "The Right Words for a Eulogy"). Anyway, I read your story, "The Great Fall" and loved the energy--the language was alive, rhythmic, the narrative had a heartbeat, and I felt like I was taken somewhere. I used to tutor kids in Spanish Harlem and live in Washington Heights, but I always felt like an outsider. I wondered what it felt like to be a part of all that. I think it's an accomplishment to capture that world, and you did it not just with references, though they helped, but with the way you crafted your sentences and stayed close to Jean Boy's fascination with the whole thing.

I just launched the inaugural issue of my quarterly online magazine called Construction (we'll also do a "Best of" print edition annually) with a few peers from my MFA and would love it if you would submit something to us. Here's the site:

We're a cultural journal so we also publish interviews, political essays, book reviews, etc. If you have anything you're looking to place I'd love to take a look at it: a novel excerpt, memoir, or an essay, anything, please send it my way. The next issue would come out in late August/early September so if you could get me something in the next month or so that would be great.

Congrats on all your success. I hope to hear from you soon.

David Plick

My Second Solicited Email from a Literary Agent

Yo, what a great way to start my day with this email:

Dear Jackson Bliss:

I very much admired your story, “The Great Fall,” in Fiction and thought that you might enjoy hearing from a fan of your work who is also an established literary agent. I don’t know if you are even at that point in your writing to start exploring representation, but this story made me feel that you have the talent to write a publishable book

If you’re at work on a novel, one of my colleagues in the agency or I would be pleased to read the opening chapters. We can tell, with a brief synopsis (1-2 pages), and around fifty pages, if we are engaged by the material. If so, we’ll encourage you to keep going. If not, we’ll explain why. These days, many editors never read further than the opening chapter or two of most novels before rejecting them. That’s how overloaded we all are with reading material. You must grab our attention, early on, either with plot or characters.

If you are assembling a short story collection, or undertaking a non-fiction book, visit our agency website ( for our submission guidelines and suggestions. In the current market, publishers are unlikely to take on a short story collection unless the author can provide a novel to follow. If you do not have at least 50 pages of a novel ready, it’s worth waiting to put both book projects together, believe me. You may find our submission guidelines helpful whether we ultimately represent you or not. Or you may write us an email describing the book you are working on. We can then let you know, quickly, our response. Please indicate that I have read some of your work in that letter.

If you already have an agent, please excuse this approach, as our agency does not take on previously agented writers. If you are unagented and would like to discuss your writing before sending me anything, give us a call. The author/agent “chemistry” is vital in a long-term relationship. If you don’t have anything to send us at this time, hold onto this letter. My invitation to read more of your work is open-ended. Recently, we sold a first novel to Knopf by a writer I originally contacted ten years ago after reading his story in The Georgia Review.

Because we offer editorial work on all the projects we take on, at no additional fee to the writer, we do ask for one month exclusivity of your submission, but generally respond sooner. We do not send out form rejection letters on work submitted, but try to provide a fair evaluation of the work, including any editorial suggestions we may have.

Looking forward to reading more of your work.

Best wishes,

Nat Sobel

Sobel Weber Associates, Inc.
146 *** ********
New York, NY
212 ***-**** (phone)
212 ***-**** (fax)

A fan who is also a literary agent? How amazing is that shit? Now, the question is: Do I call him or do I send him an email or both?

Irene Goodman Agency Asks for Full Manuscript of The Amnesia of Junebugs

In possibly the fastest turnover time in my entire life, the Irene Goodman Literary Agency asked for a full manuscript one day after asking for a long partial. Even so, I refuse to read into this. I will not read into this. I can't:

Jackson - thanks for the sample. Please email the full ms of BLANK as a Word attachment - paste the full query to the start of the attachment again. Thanks.


My First Solicited Email from a Literary Agent

Exciting! This is the first time I've received an email from a literary agent requesting a novel partial (+ not the other way around).


My name is G***** J******* and I am an assistant at The Irene Goodman Literary Agency in New York, assisting the agents who represent literary fiction and narrative non-fiction. We enjoyed "A Full Cellar" and we wanted to invite you to query us on the novel of yours that we read about.

You can email a query and a large partial (50 pages or so) to my attention at this email as an attachment; put SOLICITED in the subject line.

Thanks and we look forward to hearing from you.

Agents' Assistant

The Irene Goodman Literary Agency
27 West 24th St.
Suite 700B
New York, NY 10010