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nehama
12-10-2008, 07:26 AM
When an agent specifies 'query with SASE', is it legitimate to also send the first five pages of the novel? I've heard differing comments. I'd be inclined to take them at their word, but a number of people have said it's fine to send the first five pages. What are the pros and cons?

lkp
12-10-2008, 07:35 AM
Yes, by all means send the first five pages unless they explicitly say something like "send only a letter and a SASE."

I did it because Miss Snark said to, and she rocks. I think her view was query=letter+first five pages.

But also: what's the worst thing that can happen? Five pages is not like sending an unsolicited ms. or even a few chapters. It's short and easily discarded in the agent isn't interested. You're not going to offend anyone unless, as I said above, their guidelines explicitly say just a letter.

cate townsend
12-10-2008, 08:27 AM
I always send a small excerpt (5 pages or so), even if it wasn't asked for, and actually got requests based on what I sent - i.e. I enjoyed reading the five pages you sent. I'd like to see more if the manuscript is still available...

Do it! I always send a SASE also, with enough postage for the five pages.

Danthia
12-10-2008, 08:54 PM
If you're unsure about five, maybe just send two. Enough to offer a samle of the work, but not so much that it feels like you're pushing pages at someone.

waylander
12-10-2008, 10:14 PM
I got into the habit of sending my first chapter, which was conveniently five pages long, to agents who said 'send a query and SASE'.
Where they specified what they wanted (e.g. 'send a query letter only') then of course I sent what they specified.
I also pasted my first chapter into e-mail queries below the query

Andrew Zack
12-11-2008, 02:37 AM
Personally, I think sending anything more than a good query is a waste of paper and postage. Also, if those five pages don't seize the agent's attention, you're done. But a later request for a sample chapter may give the agent more to chew on and consider, which may work in your favor.

scope
12-11-2008, 05:29 AM
If you don't follow an agent's guidelines, it's a crapshoot. Before I had an agent I always wanted to send pages and had to restrain myself from doing so when the guidelines didn't ask for them. This said, there's no way I can disagree with anyone who chooses to send pages, and I understand the many reasons why. However, in the end it is a crapshoot. Some agents don't like writers who ignore their guidelines.

jclarkdawe
12-11-2008, 07:57 AM
Personally, I tend to include the first five pages, although this depends partly on the guidelines of the agent.

The advantage of not including the first five pages with your query is problem solving. If you have a query that is flying naked and getting no response, then you know your problem is in the query. Queries are relatively easy to look at and determine their problems.

However, when you throw in the first five pages, you don't know for sure where the problem is. It could be in the query, it could be in the first five pages.

Obviously, if you don't get tons of rejections, this isn't a problem. But if you get a lot of rejections (you get to decided the number for a lot of rejections), then you need to start figuring out what's wrong. Multi-layered problem solving is difficult. The more things you throw into the mix, the harder it will be to determine where the problem is.

That being well known to me, I still send the first five pages, and frequently a synopsis (to really complicate the question of what's going wrong).

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

OpheliaRevived
12-15-2008, 08:46 PM
But, I always send exactly what they ask. :Shrug:

lkp
12-15-2008, 11:45 PM
If it says "send a query and SASE" and you enclose five pages, you're not ignoring the guidelines, because many agents believe query=letter+a few pages.

If it says "send a query letter and SASE" and you enclose five pages, you are breaking the guidelines. I'd still do it.

If it says "send a query letter and SASE only" then don't send anything more.

waylander
12-16-2008, 12:53 AM
If it says "send a query and SASE" and you enclose five pages, you're not ignoring the guidelines, because many agents believe query=letter+a few pages.

If it says "send a query letter and SASE" and you enclose five pages, you are breaking the guidelines. I'd still do it.

If it says "send a query letter and SASE only" then don't send anything more.

Seconded!

cate townsend
12-17-2008, 09:24 AM
P Multi-layered problem solving is difficult. The more things you throw into the mix, the harder it will be to determine where the problem is.

That being well known to me, I still send the first five pages, and frequently a synopsis (to really complicate the question of what's going wrong).

Well said.

This whole querying process brings to mind two things: Slot machines and differential equations - two things I have never been able to figure out.