PDA

View Full Version : SASE question



WriterInChains
09-11-2008, 06:38 AM
I read something on Anne Mini's Author!Author! blog that got me wondering about the way I query. Thought I'd run it through the AW wringer.

She said that anyone who doesn't include an SASE large enough for the agent/editor to return the entire submission isn't using the "secret handshake" and it could be an auto-no. Just because the SASE = #10 business-sized. I have a hard time swallowing that one whole (even though I like her blog overall), but I'm far from an insider (<<understatement of the year alert).

To be blunt, if that's true I'm cut out of snail-querying by budget alone. As an environmentalist I usually opt for e-mail anyway, but some great agents still only take snail-mail. I've rec'd one SASE back that wasn't a rejection, but from a young agent not sure if that would make a dif.

Just wonderin' what y'all have to say about it.

Edmontonian
09-11-2008, 06:56 AM
Hello,

In my short experience, it works both ways. I had agents who did not return my submission even though I had included the SASE, but just dropped me a short e-mail of rejection. Then, other agents used my SASE to reply. So, I would say, follow the agents preference. Some agents specify that if you don't include a SASE, they will not return your submissions. Other don't.

Thanks,

ED

kct webber
09-11-2008, 01:28 PM
Most agents' guidlines I've read simply state that if you don't send an SASE large enough to return your sub, it will be considered recyclable. I'm far from the most experienced person here, but common sense makes me wonder why an agent would want their staff lugging full subs out to mail when they could just drop them in a shredder and send a letter.

But I'm sure someone with more agent experience will be around shortly; perhaps they know something I don't. (Understatement of the year alert.) :D

JeanneTGC
09-12-2008, 09:38 AM
The secret handshake is to write an opening line so enticing that it forces the agent to read the next line...and so on all the way through to "the end".

Your SASE is NOT what's going to convince an agent to sign you...the SASE is there to make it easy for them to say "no thanks" or "send me more", not for you to support the USPS nor for you to join the SASE Secret Fraternity.

Now, is she talking about the SASE for requested materials? That can be different than for queries. However, even then, you probably don't have to have more than a #10 with return postage on it -- the postage on a regular MS is pretty high, and most agents prefer to recycle the rejected manuscripts instead of having to lug them to the Post Office.

If you're really worried about it, once you have a request for more materials, just put a line in your cover letter that you prefer they recycle rather than return your pages and you should be more than fine.

maestrowork
09-12-2008, 04:03 PM
She said that anyone who doesn't include an SASE large enough for the agent/editor to return the entire submission isn't using the "secret handshake" and it could be an auto-no. .

That's bull, to be blunt. If you mark your manuscript as "disposable" then there is no reason for the agent to return it. Yes, it's a waste but it's cheaper to print a new copy than have it sent back anyway.

Your #10 SASE is for rejections. If you get an acceptance, most likely they will send it with their own stationary or call you. Make sure you leave a contact address and number in your submission.

And there is no "secret handshake" and auto-no. If an agent is going to reject you because you have a disposable ms., then that's not a very good agent to begin with, IMHO.

WriterInChains
09-12-2008, 07:22 PM
That's bull, to be blunt. If you mark your manuscript as "disposable" then there is no reason for the agent to return it. Yes, it's a waste but it's cheaper to print a new copy than have it sent back anyway.

. . .snip . . .

And there is no "secret handshake" and auto-no. If an agent is going to reject you because you have a disposable ms., then that's not a very good agent to begin with, IMHO.

That's what I thought, thanks. I haven't been around for a while (busy on final edits), & just wanted to run it by some folks with more experience than I have.

WriterInChains
09-12-2008, 07:30 PM
If you're really worried about it, once you have a request for more materials, just put a line in your cover letter that you prefer they recycle rather than return your pages and you should be more than fine.

Not worried about it, thanks. :)

Been spending a little too much time with my nose buried in edits & this seemed like a good question to toss out & talk about. Maybe nobody else here reads "Author!Author!" or just dismissed that bit because it sounded so out-there, but I'm not totally green and it made me think twice, so IMO it's worth talking about. If only so someone in their first-ever round of queries isn't spending "Postage X 2" to be rejected every time.

ETA: She said to do that for all queries & short story subs, across the board.

Red-Green
09-12-2008, 07:49 PM
I worked as a slushie for several years and we never cared if the author only included an SASE large enough for a response letter. In fact it was easier, because we could recycle the rejected MS and not have to haul it to the post office. I think it would be a very rare agent/editor/publisher who was secretly judging authors who didn't spring for the postage to have the entire submission returned.

With changes in postal regulations, in fact, I think agents would be annoyed by authors who wanted the entire MS back, since it might require someone to make a trip to the post office.

CaroGirl
09-12-2008, 07:56 PM
Most of the time, when I get my rejected ms's back in my SASE, there's not a mark on them. Right this minute, I'm reprinting my synopsis and personalized query letter for two new submissions and I plan to resend the two I got back (on the same day, ack!) last week. Why not, I say? Provided they don't come back covered in coffee stains or wrinkled like a linen blouse (and they didn't).

I always send a big enough envelope with enough postage for the whole sub to be returned to me. Usually I just live in the hope they might mark it up and help me improve it, but they never do.

WriterInChains
09-12-2008, 08:49 PM
Most of the time, when I get my rejected ms's back in my SASE, there's not a mark on them. Right this minute, I'm reprinting my synopsis and personalized query letter for two new submissions and I plan to resend the two I got back (on the same day, ack!) last week. Why not, I say? Provided they don't come back covered in coffee stains or wrinkled like a linen blouse (and they didn't).

I always send a big enough envelope with enough postage for the whole sub to be returned to me. Usually I just live in thehope they might mark it up and help me improve it, but they never do.

I used to hope for that too but it happened so rarely (& usually only with short story subs), I gave it up. Plus, it got a little depressing if the pages came back pristine; did they even read it? After seeing the condition of the returned pages with scribbled comments, un-wrinkled pages didn't look as good to me.

Thanks for commenting! :)

WriterInChains
09-12-2008, 08:52 PM
. . . snip . . .

With changes in postal regulations, in fact, I think agents would be annoyed by authors who wanted the entire MS back, since it might require someone to make a trip to the post office.

Thank you! This is exactly what I thought. In fact, I stopped including return postage for the whole sub right around the time those regs changed. No reason to poke the tiger, right? :)

Shadow_Ferret
09-12-2008, 09:43 PM
Well, in the old days of typing we used to include a large enough SASE to have it sent back. No one wanted to retype their manuscript each and every time you sent it out for submission. You'd send it out until it got dogeared and dingy from handling, THEN you'd type a new one.

But these days, I only include a standard business sized envelope (#10) for them to send the rejection in. They can trash the story.

Phaeal
09-12-2008, 11:02 PM
What an odd request. Well, if I knew that a particular agent had this quirk, I'd accommodate him. Otherwise, I'll save my postage and just send an SASE for the reply. Many many submissions into my submitting career, I've NEVER had an agent or editor object to a disposable MS.

Stlight
09-13-2008, 11:38 AM
If you want your mss back be sure to use the forever stamps on it.
I've sent so many SASE that I catch myself sending them with almost every letter that isn't a bill I send out. The funny thing is I get more replies from agents than other people. It's no, but it's something.

Stlight.