How important is it to tell the agent/editor the length of your story, the genre, and the audience it’s intended for?
In a word: VERY. Think of your book like a house. How thrilled would you be if you were searching for a house with four bedrooms and the agent refused to tell you?
Agent: I have an adorable house for you!
You: Does it have four bedrooms?
Agent: It’s close to a hospital.
You: Great. But does it have four bedrooms?
Agent: And a skylight! It’s got a skylight!
Now, imagine the book agent is “You.” and you’re the “Agent.” See how annoying that would be? Agents & editors are in the market to sell a specific type of “house.” If you don’t answer basic questions, they’ll go to someone else to find their product.
Publishers are like home buyers, and a publisher who wants a penthouse in the heart of downtown is very different from the publisher who wants the sprawling ranch house on an acreage. So, do your agent a favor. Let them know what kind of place you’re selling, so they know how to place you in the market.