View Full Version : To FedEx or not to FedEx (an agent)

11-16-2008, 08:14 AM
I read agent Noah Lukeman's web book, in which he suggests that the way to go is to FedEx, because it makes your query stand out from the others and ensures it is delivered, since the US Postal Service is unreliable. However, I've heard an opposing opinion, that many agents prefer not to accept FedEx (or equivalent carrier) and that there can be problems if there is no one present to sign for it. So now, I'm wondering what's the best way to proceed.
Thanks so much for your help

11-16-2008, 08:25 AM
Don't FedEx. Just mail it. But before you do post it in the Share Your Work query letter thread and have it critiqued. It's worth it.

11-16-2008, 08:32 AM
Putting email aside, I don't use, and never have used, FedEx or its equivalent when submitting anything to my agent -- and before, directly to publishers. I always use(d) First Class mail. I know that certain carriers do require a signature upon delivery, and that's always bothered me. But that may just be my paranoia showing. I know that some do use FedEx and overnight thru the US Postal Service.

11-16-2008, 07:29 PM
When I was first querying by snail mail I always included the first 5 - 15 pages and used priority mail in the cardboard envelope-
Because I live in Hawaii my manuscript requests were all sent fed ex- but this was arranged ahead of time with the agent requesting-
In just a few years most of the agents I was querying changed from snail mail to email preference-
For LOTTERY I did most everything via email- ie querying sending the manuscript as attachment etc.
For my communications with agents and publisher (contracts, copyediting etc) it's all been done fedex with no signature required.

I think the best way to stand out is with a killer premise and great writing -
Although I've heard heavily perfumed stationary and glitter can make even the most insipid query be one which gets a lot of attention...

11-16-2008, 07:41 PM
I use Priority Mail or Express Mail from USPS. I've never had a problem.

- Victoria

11-16-2008, 08:36 PM
FedEx for a query letter? Because it "stands out"? Do you really think an agent will take you on simply because you used FedEx to send it?

Don't waste your money. Really.

11-16-2008, 09:55 PM
Another thought: so many agents accept email queries now that the issue of which kind of snail mail to use is largely moot.

- Victoria

11-16-2008, 09:59 PM
Because I'm stationed overseas (7 years in Germany and now 1.5 in Turkey) I Fedex, but mark that huge label thingy 'No Signature Required'.
Reason I send Fedex from overseas is so I can track the package...or I'd never sleep!
Now, when I lived in the states, I simply sent it First Class, neatly boxed.

Susan Breen
11-16-2008, 10:15 PM
I read that same exact book and spent a small fortune Fedexing out my queries and it did not make one bit of difference and now everything is done by e mail. So I wouldn't bother.

11-17-2008, 05:10 AM
It's a wonder I ever found an agent: I sent everything regular mail in an ordinary old paper envelope, including requested partials and fulls, and I never remembered to put "requested materials" on the front until too late.

11-17-2008, 07:29 AM
I read agent Noah Lukeman's web book

I think that book has extremely idiosyncratic advice. I'm sure it's a detailed presentation of what Mr. Lukeman wants to see, but it contradicts what many other agents say on their websites, in presentations at conferences, and in conversation.

The thing about not using characters' names in queries, for instance, is probably something that only applies to Mr. Lukeman.

And the same thing with the FedEx advice: Mr. Lukeman may well prefer FedEx, but many other agents say that they hate it.

11-17-2008, 05:32 PM
I agree with IceCream about Mr. Lukeman.

Nathan Bransford is well known for his hatred of questions in queries. He presents very articulate and reasonable answers explaining his problem. But I'd ignore his problem with questions (other than to him) if there weren't quite a few other agents saying the exact same thing. So, Bransford is right when he says avoid questions in your queries.

Lukeman is the only agent I know of suggesting FedEx. One of the problems with his book is that Lukeman doesn't separate out his personal preferences from universal advice.

Listen to advice, but seek agreement between a couple of sources. If you can't find it, think through the advice. In this case, your letter arrives at the agent's office. So the agent opens the mail? NOT LIKELY. Normal office proceedure is a secretary opens the mail, frequently tossing the envelopes. Mail is placed into various stacks, depending on importance. For example, advertising would go in one pile, queries in another, contracts to be reviewed in a third. The agent then deals with the stack, never seeing your carefully planned FedEx envelope.

But let's say your approach works. The secretary rushes in your FedEx package to the agent. The agent is in the midst of editing a manuscript, but stops because FedEx packages are important. Then he sees it's just another query. Personally I'd wad it up and shoot for the basket.

People submitting overseas I can see an argument for using FedEx.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

12-01-2008, 05:24 AM
I've actually heard that most agents don't like fedex because of having to sign for your query. Like jclark said, it would probably be thrown away without being read.

From my previous experience with fedex, I can honestly tell you that the agent might not even get the package. If the person is not in when fedex arrives, fedex just puts it in a warehouse. If the agent does not want to come and claim it, to bad for you.

Giant Baby
12-01-2008, 07:31 AM
Priority mail with delivery (NOT sign) receipt.

You don't risk the agent's ire by expecting them to sign for anything (or *gasp* have to pick it up, which they likely won't), and you can track its arrival just you could with FedEx. If the submission is 100pp or more, you have to send it priority anyway, due to post-911 mail restrictions.

Delivery receipt is $.60 or $.65 if you send it from the post office, but it's free if you print your postage online from home (and the postage is cheaper, too. Not sure why). I've grabbed a bunch of the free priority mail envelopes from the post office kiosk, but regular envelopes are fine with the proper label. You can schedule for them to pick it up at your house for free, as well- I haven't had any problem with this, yet...

Only for partials or fulls, however. For a snail mail query, unless you live somewhere that makes something other necessary, just send it regular mail. Unless requested, don't gimic your query. Not in any way.

Not ever.

Wayne K
12-08-2008, 07:43 PM
Agents resent cute little things you do to be noticed, as I've learned from experience. So no, I wouldn't even want the hint of it when sending a query. First impressions are everything.

12-14-2008, 04:50 AM
why waste your life and time?

The first time I queried, I Fedexed some partials. and ultimately I got nowhere and wasted money. So right now, my attitude is f*** it.

Seriously. if an agent wants your stuff, they want your stuff. If they don't, they don't. Fedex, UPS, a hand delivery from God, whatever. It doesn't matter. Why should you go out of your way like that?

Research their guidelines, and submit it as they request, with hopefully minimal cost to you.

*Note: f*** = fun

12-23-2008, 09:21 PM
When FedEx deliveries arrive at our office the godsends open the envelopes. If it's a query, guess where it goes? Incoming query stack. It's handled there with everything else that comes in.

Save your money. You're going to need it for marketing and promotion.

12-29-2008, 10:21 PM
Never FedEx, or use any sort of shipping method that would require the receiving party to sign for the package. That's the easiest way to lose points with an agent. I've had agents who requested a full by mail specifically ask that the package not be sent in any way that would require a signature. Personally, however, I am skeptical of agents who would rather get a box of dead trees than a quick and easy email. Oh well, not everyone is digital yet.