An open letter to Charlotte H. F______ of Detroit

Dear Ms. F_____:

Your voicemail message for me arrived in the midst of a hurricane evacuation and storm forecast that has escalated to a hurricane warning for my coastal city and county, which is why I’m unable to return your call or answer the phone when you call again to discuss what seems to be your self-published poetry workbook or textbook. You did not provide your email address, and you don’t seem to have a discoverable online presence that would allow me to contact you via email, so I’ve resorted to a blogpost. Maybe this information also will be helpful to other writers in your situation.

Please understand that for nonfiction books, an established author platform is a nonnegotiable prerequisite for becoming one of my clients.

Please note the query guidelines on my website, which specify not to phone my agency but, instead, to send email containing all of the listed information that I would need in order to determine whether I might be able to work with you.

As it turns out, the information you’ve requested most likely can be found in one of my earlier posts, which I’ll list for you below. A great deal more information that might be helpful to you can be found on this blog. Enter the relevant keywords in the blog’s search box.

Literary agents for textbook authors

The demands of commercial authorhood today

How will readers ever find your book?

To writers who ask if I can interest traditional publishers in their self-published books

The posts linked above as well as the other information on this blog should send you in the right direction. If you feel you need to discuss your writing with someone, may I suggest you attend a reputable writers’ conference or a workshop on getting published that is led by a writer or literary agent you admire?

One of the best sources for information about getting your book published is Jane Friedman’s amazing blog.

Thank you for thinking of me. I wish you the best of luck with your previously published book or new manuscript and your search for the perfect agent to represent you.

Sincerely yours,

Robin Mizell


To all others who happen to read this post and wish to express well wishes or ask questions, please don’t be offended by my inability to respond to your comments this weekend. If all goes swimmingly, I’ll check the blog on Monday, October 10, 2016. Peace out.

2 Replies to “An open letter to Charlotte H. F______ of Detroit”

  1. I did laugh a bit about this post, definitely NOT about the hurricane evacuation. I live on the Alabama Gulf Coast and hurricane evacuations are no laughing matter. I wish you the best and hope everything is back to normal soon. Thanks for this humorous but informational post.

  2. Thanks, CMJ. All is well here, and my perspective is back to normal even if city services are not. Had I a more refined sense of humor, I’d have written about the time I thoughtlessly wished a young Australian publisher a happy Thanksgiving.

    You’ve chosen positivity over cynicism, which is an example for me to follow. As residents of the Gulf Coast have for decades, I expect we’ll be dealing with the added stress of offshore drilling before long, partially as a consequence of narrow perspectives, but there goes my irrepressible cynicism. After all, I mustn’t forget you also have the music of Muscle Shoals.

    Lindsey Buckingham might have said it best: “What makes you think you’re the one / Who can laugh without cryin’?”

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