I wrote the previous blog about Bertha Klausner a little over a year ago. I found it interesting (indeed, find it interesting), to have some connections to a more distant literary tradition – no matter how tenuous.
So, maybe I come close today, as I just had a response by another literary agent. I had no idea of his tenure in the fields of getting the written word published. Not that I still would not have sent the query letter.
Thank you for submitting your materials to *********** for review. However, after considering them, we have decided that your project is not something we can successfully represent at this time. At 85, *********** needs to be selective about the projects he takes on and he has more than enough on his plate. But I wish you good luck finding representation and a publisher for this.
All the best,
Eleanor Roosevelt,Upton Sinclair, Fidel Castro & Me
While reading some literary site about Amazon, I came across the fact that “Harriet Klausner, an esteemed Amazon reviewer who wrote more than 31,000 book reviews, died”. All power to her, thought I, that is quite a feat. However, I took more note of her last name, one I had not thought of for a long time. Eleanor Roosevelt,Upton Sinclair, Fidel Castro & Me
In my tenure as an author in the world, I have had four or five agents. And I am currently looking anew. At the far beginning of my time, before I was published, I had the New York agent Bertha Klausner – at the start of my career and near the end of hers. She started her agency before I was born and was working two months before she died in 1998 at the age of 96.
Back in those over the transom days, one stuffed typed pages into an envelope, sent them off with return postage on another envelope, and waited up to three months for a reply. And when it came back, you sent it out again. One of my envelopes went to the Bertha Klausner Agency.
However, when it came back, it had other people’s manuscripts in it, and (to my memory) little hand written notes politely saying no. Mistakes happen even at revered agencies, so I sent it all back explaining what had happened. She replied, with neither apology nor thanks, annoyed that mistakes do happen and adding, “Say, you must have something. Do you want to send it to me?” Which I did. Again.
As I said, communications were through slow mails (slow on her side, as with literary agents to this day). I now assume she initially was both being polite, plus did see some promise in what I had. But after a year or so she said – in effect – ‘thanks but no thanks’, and I sent things to other agents, and eventually had my first novel sale by, indeed, sending it over the transom directly to an editor in New York, who purchased it.
I don’t think I knew that Bertha Klausner had such a stellar career until I looked her up. An agent for decades, she had famous names like Upton Sinclair, Israel J Singer, Eleanor Roosevelt and Fidel Castro. She even represented actor Basil Rathbone.
I imagine I would have become a lost tale.