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Hi... I don't know if you can help me, but thank you for taking the time to read through this question.

I have just completed my first fictional novel, and I am currently in the editing process of it.

The question I have is about when I am ready to send my manuscript out. Do I send it to more than one Literary Agent, or should I just send to one at a time, and wait for their answer before sending it on to the next one? If this is the case, how long should I wait before sending it on to someone else? (Or do ALL agents respond to you even if it's a rejection?)

The other small question I have is about speech in my book. I have written the whole book in double quotation marks, but I have just read that it should have been done in single quotation marks. Which one of these would you advise?

Again, thank you so much for taking the time to read my question...

Hi, Tuesday!

Well, the UK is a little different from the U.S. in terms of querying. Here in America, it's perfectly fine to send out multiple queries. Not I say *query.* Generally speaking, the manuscript isn't sent by the author until after it's been requested by an agent. The way to get it requested is through the query process. If you've never written a query, there's a great discussion about it on a free website called AgentQuery. ( Look in the upper left hand corner for a link to how to write a query letter.

All agents do NOT respond, just so you know. Many only respond if they want to see more. That's why it's especially critical to write a query letter that ROCKS! One way you can speed along the response process is to include a self-addressed envelope with proper postage to get back to you. Now, some agents accept electronic queries (by email) so it's always good to try those first--especially if you want to query an agent outside your own country.

With regard to your other question, what do you mean by "double" versus "single" do you mean like this:

"Mary, let's go to the store."

'Mary, let's go to the store.'

If that's what you mean, then double is correct.  If you mean TWO double quotes, like this:

""Mary, let's go to the store.""

That will have to be changed. Only one quote per dialogue bit.

Hope that helps. Good luck!


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Cathy Clamp


I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.


I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.

Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.

My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

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