View Full Version : Using a Dale Carnegie idea in queries: good idea or passive aggressive?

07-31-2008, 03:04 AM
I don't remember much from reading Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People 15 years ago, but I seem to recall that he would write to famous/important people and end the letter with something like: "I know you're busy. Please don't bother to write back if you aren't interested."

The idea was that freeing them from any sense of obligation to respond actually helped them feel generous enough to respond. And nothing was lost if it didn't work. It wasn't a trick as much as a smart, considerate thing to say.

I don't follow up with agents who don't respond because it seems like a waste of time if the answer's no and an annoyance if they're still thinking. So I don't think I have much to lose if they take me at my word and don't respond.

I'm concerned, though, that it will sound manipulative or just weird. What do you think?

07-31-2008, 03:28 AM
I wouldn't say it. I tend to see right through statements like that.

07-31-2008, 03:40 AM
I wouldn't say it either.

Marian Perera
07-31-2008, 03:52 AM
I wouldn't use it either. IMO, it sounds a little like a self-put-down, as though saying you (generic you) don't deserve even the rejection slip. I'm all for polite and pleasant, but not grovelly. If that's a word.

07-31-2008, 04:03 AM
I wouldn't either. Like Kevin, if I were an agent, I would see right through it.

Some of the Dale Carnegie stuff might work for specific circumstances (such as making a sales call) but I don't think they're good advice for all situations. In fact, I think some of his stuff is so manipulative that it'd take certain personality to pull it off.

To me, I think the best thing to do while querying is to be earnest and truthful. I think that'll impress the agent more than some sales strategy.

07-31-2008, 04:17 AM
I think it sounds like you can't deal with rejection letters. Sometimes agents can write thoughtful and helpful letters, even if they don't want to represent your work, so you wouldn't want to turn someone like that off.

07-31-2008, 04:29 AM
Yep, you guys have great points. I thought it was a little too much. Thanks for the input!

08-01-2008, 09:08 AM
From the agents I've met/heard/read, it seems that they've seen every trick.

What they want from writers is a straight-forward query.