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  1. #1
    Joyce Miller

    Sheldon Fogelman Agency

    On December 30, I wrote Sheldon Fogelman Agency asking ONLY for permission to submit a manuscript. I described in a few sentences the story\'s characters and plot, then requested the preferred format of submissions.

    My last sentence noted my enclosure of a self-addressed envelope (stamped).

    Yesterday, I received a form letter with my name written on a line at the top. The letter indicated it had \"read and considered\" my submission but \"do not feel we can be of assistance to you at this time.\"

    My first reaction to this was to FAX the agency immediately to allege and expose its blatant deception.

    My question to this forum: The deceptive practices I am alleging need exposure because who knows how many aspiring writers have received letters from literary agents claiming to have \"read and considered\" works but in fact have not. What is the best recourse? Thank you for your advice.

  2. #2
    Sam English

    Re: Sheldon Fogelman Agency

    To them, your "submission" consisted of your query, not your manuscript.
    This was a form rejection.
    There is no recourse.
    This is a "move on moment".

  3. #3
    Joyce Miller

    Re: Sheldon Fogelman Agency

    Thank you for your reply.

    I do not, however, see how my letter requesting permission to submit can be misconstrued as a "work" considered and rejected. You see, this agency does not REQUIRE permission; I simply wanted to be on the right footing re: formatting. Neither does the agency reject unsolicited manuscripts. Rejecting out of hand a letter of inquiry as a work submitted suggests to this gal a disheartening practice for new submitters as well as a defective practice for anyone else interested in the agency's credibility.

  4. #4
    Gopher Gold

    Re: Sheldon Fogelman Agency

    Nobody sends a letter just requesting permission to submit. As much as you found it disheartening, this is not their intent. They have a form letter they use for the thousands of queries they receive - and they don't alter their practice for a lone non-standard letter that resembles a query (you DID describe the plot briefly in the letter) but one that you claim is just "permission to submit".

    I sense that you have a very strong fear of rejection, so you'd rather squeeze in the plot in a letter that is not supposed to be a query. I can understand that fear - I have it too. But if you're goiing to go through this process, stand strong and submit, because rejection is the name of the game

  5. #5
    Joyce Miller

    Re: Sheldon Fogelman Agency

    Gee, I had no idea I could be psychoanalyzed this way just by a simple inquiry to the board.

    Because I wrote three or four lines of a basic storyline as a courtesy should not be construed as a fear of rejection. My objection, to reiterate, is a heartfelt one. Shouldn't writers actually submitting a manuscript count on a fair reading? If my letter of inquiry is considered a "work" and rejected, someone at the agency is not reading the letters in the inbox much less the manuscript itself. That is a deceptive practice, one that needs to end.

    Not hearing from the agency regarding my formatting inquiry within ten business days, I then submitted my manuscript directly to a publisher requesting it (letter similar to the one sent to the agency). I remain an optimistic realist.

  6. #6
    Gopher Gold

    Re: Sheldon Fogelman Agency

    I had no intention of offending you. Best of luck to you.

  7. #7
    Jeanne Gassman

    Re: Sheldon Fogelman Agency


    You need to understand how this business works. Agents are inundated with correspondence of all kinds--query letters, letters of inquiry about authors, emails from editors and publishers, etc. I don't know the specifics of your situation, but it sounds like the agent wasn't accepting submissions.

    They did answer your inquiry. You sent a letter briefly describing your story and asked permission to submit. They answered with a form letter saying that your submission wasn't right for them. (And yes, I know they said they "read" it, but it IS a form letter.)

    To give you an idea of how overwhelmed the average agent is:

    Of the agents I'm querying, every SINGLE one has over 100 queries ahead of me in the queue. And those statistics are only from the sites where people name the agents they've queried. What about the other 100+ people who have queried who haven't registered their activity on ANY site?

    Don't dwell on this rejection, but do some more research about the process. Read the advice at these sites:





    Good luck to you.


  8. #8
    Dave S

    Re: Sheldon Fogelman Agency

    “Shouldn't writers actually submitting a manuscript count on a fair reading?”

    No, they shouldn’t. If agents gave every manuscript a “fair reading,” they’d never have time to be a successful agency. Agents are very selective in what they invest their time in reading, out of necessity.

    Want to assure your novel gets read? First, write a great novel, one that truly has best seller potential. Then, write a great query, one that makes an agent say, “Absolutely, I want to read this!”

    Along the way, I recommend you grow a thick skin. You’ll need it.

  9. #9
    Joyce Miller

    Re: Sheldon Fogelman Agency

    Okay, fair enough, except that this agency DOES accept unsolicited manuscripts. I followed the directions on its home page. I did check the 'beware' link before sending my letter, and one other writer's forum recommended the agency.

    Nonetheless, if nothing else comes from my commentary on this forum, I have learned that in the truest literary sense, appearances can be deceiving.

    Thank you and farewell to all.

  10. #10
    Dave S

    Re: Sheldon Fogelman Agency

    Appearances can be deceiving?

    If by this you mean you expected more sympathy from the posters on this site, sorry that didn’t work out. You did get some useful perspective, however, and in time you’ll realize it, assuming you continue your efforts to be published.

    If what you meant was the agency you contacted appeared to be something other than you experienced, this is simply a matter of you learning the nature of the agency business.

    Once you’ve collected a stack of form rejection letters, you’ll see things differently. Whether you persevere or not is up to you.

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