Writers – Don’t Try This at Home
Blogger: Rachelle Gardner
Sometimes my inbox turns up the most interesting things. For example, this query I received:
→ It showed over a dozen agents’ email addresses in the “to” line.
→ It was addressed to “Dear Sir/Madam.” (I don’t answer to either.)
→ It was not even remotely related to “Christian worldview” which is our agency’s specialty.
→ It didn’t include the elements required in a query letter as explained in the Books & Such submission guidelines.
→ Best of all, the letter stated that that the writer believed I was “exactly the right agent” for the project—apparently all the other agents on the list fit this description too.
→ And just to make things interesting, the book was pitched as a novel but was only 35,000 words… a novella, for which the market is really tough for a debut writer.
Many agents would simply delete this query, unanswered. I chose to respond briefly, saying that I couldn’t consider the query, but asked the writer to read agent submission guidelines to better determine who might be a fit for the project.
If you want agents to spend time reading and considering your query, you would be smart to:
(1) research the agency
(2) address it to the agent’s name, and
(3) not let your “to” line show other addressees
Does that sound reasonable?
Have you had any interesting adventures in querying?
Here’s how to make sure a literary agent doesn’t respond to your query. (Click to Tweet.)
Hint: Most literary agents don’t respond to “Sir/Madam.” (Click to Tweet.)