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Belle_91
03-15-2011, 02:43 AM
Hello. I'm about ready to start querying agents, and I was wondering if its better to email or snail mail. I know some agents specifically require one or the other, but what if they leave the option up to you. I thought I read somewhere that agents' inboxes get flooded with emails so you should snail mail. Then, however, I have also heard vice-versa.

What should I do?

thothguard51
03-15-2011, 02:55 AM
Snail mail is an expense that if you can avoid it, you should. It also generally takes longer to hear back from agents or publishers.

LisaAnn
03-15-2011, 03:10 AM
I've heard conflicting theories about this myself, but I tend to lean more toward email queries for the sure ease of it--both for the agent and for myself. It's frustrating to consider that our queries might get lost in the mix, but many agents (make sure you check first!) are open to you re-emailing them after a certain period of time to make sure your query didn't get lost. Best of luck!

OctoberRain
03-15-2011, 05:51 AM
If they take either format, I'd personally go with email. It's faster and cheaper. Good luck!

BySharonNelson
03-15-2011, 05:57 AM
I agree with the general population. If you can e mail do. Why add the extra expense and stress of snail mail. Besides if your like me you will check obsessively the date in which you sent each submission and the e mail is a built in tracker. :)

Aylaa
03-15-2011, 06:00 AM
I understand if the person requires snail mail, but if they offer both that means they work with emails and can treat them professionally. So without a doubt I'd email them.

Susan Littlefield
03-15-2011, 06:32 AM
Hello. I'm about ready to start querying agents, and I was wondering if its better to email or snail mail. I know some agents specifically require one or the other, but what if they leave the option up to you. I thought I read somewhere that agents' inboxes get flooded with emails so you should snail mail. Then, however, I have also heard vice-versa.

What should I do?

You need to read the guidelines for each agent/agency. Some accept email only, others accept snail mail only, and still others give the writer the choice. When given the choice, I prefer email for queries. For partials, or even a full, I prefer snail mail, unless the agent instructs me otherwise.

Belle_91
03-15-2011, 06:42 AM
Thanks...I think I'll email unless instructed otherwise. Thanks :D

Becca C.
03-15-2011, 07:27 AM
Definitely email. I've gotten requests and responses within hours. That would never happen with snail mail!

gothicangel
03-15-2011, 12:54 PM
I'm going to disagree.

I would send snail mail. Email makes it too easy for the agent/editor to hit delete.

Corinne Duyvis
03-15-2011, 02:37 PM
I'm going to disagree.

I would send snail mail. Email makes it too easy for the agent/editor to hit delete.

If they're the type to delete queries unread when they say they're open to receiving them, they're probably not the right agent for you anyway.

Besides, it's just as easy for them to toss a paper query in the garbage bin (or SASE). The question is: if your query is good, why would they? If it's good, they'll request. If it's not (or if it's just not for them), they'll send a rejection or ignore it. I really don't see how this would change depending on the medium.

gothicangel
03-15-2011, 03:05 PM
If they're the type to delete queries unread when they say they're open to receiving them, they're probably not the right agent for you anyway.

Besides, it's just as easy for them to toss a paper query in the garbage bin (or SASE). The question is: if your query is good, why would they? If it's good, they'll request. If it's not (or if it's just not for them), they'll send a rejection or ignore it. I really don't see how this would change depending on the medium.

Having done work in an agency, having the physical submission does make a difference. I've never tossed a sub in the bin [esp. with an SASE], I have seen emails deleted though.

PinkAmy
03-15-2011, 03:20 PM
Emailing is better for the environment too :).

Having done work in an agency, having the physical submission does make a difference. I've never tossed a sub in the bin [esp. with an SASE], I have seen emails deleted though.

I don't think we can generalize based on one person's experience. The responses here are from lots of people who've written successful queries.

Belle_91
03-15-2011, 03:48 PM
If I do email and they don't specifically tell me what to put in the subject line should I put "Query" or "A Constant Companion". I was thinking that they would get tons of emails with subjects that said query.

Thanks

waylander
03-15-2011, 04:20 PM
I used "Submission query: [title]" as my subject line

gothicangel
03-15-2011, 04:43 PM
I don't think we can generalize based on one person's experience. The responses here are from lots of people who've written successful queries.

Now who's generalising! You know nothing about my publishing credentials outside the novels I mention below. Nothing about my poetry publishing credits or academic work or articles I've published in UK magazines and newspapers!

So yes, I have written plenty of successful queries.

Also, how is emailing more environmentally friendly? What do you think happens to dead batteries? What fuels the electricity that runs laptops, Readers and IPads?

jclarkdawe
03-15-2011, 05:57 PM
The thing I find interesting in these threads is the complete willingness to ignore the important half of the relationship. Yes, agents have preferences, but so doesn't the writer. To me, this question should be real simple.

How do I prefer to work? I can edit on paper or computer, but do I prefer one? I can snail mail and email, but do I prefer one? I can write letters or email, but do I prefer one?

Do you want a working relationship with someone who has preferences that are the exact opposite of yours? I don't care how "good" that person is, if I've got to work in a different way than I want, how comfortable is the working relationship going to be?

And how much time am I going to waste? To give you an example, if the agent prefers to edit on paper and I prefer to edit on computer, I'm going to have to take her edits, put them into the computer, then do the editing, then print the whole thing out to send it back to the agent. On the other hand, if the agent prefers to edit on computer and I prefer to edit on paper, I have to print out her edits, then write it up, then put it all on the computer.

In both cases, think how much time I waste. If both the agent and me use computers, or paper, think how much smoother the process is.

Snail mail or email for queries indicates an agent's working preferences. Don't you want someone who matches yours?

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Susan Littlefield
03-15-2011, 06:40 PM
I'm going to disagree.

I would send snail mail. Email makes it too easy for the agent/editor to hit delete.

Some agents no longer accept snail mail.

Susan Littlefield
03-15-2011, 06:42 PM
If I do email and they don't specifically tell me what to put in the subject line should I put "Query" or "A Constant Companion". I was thinking that they would get tons of emails with subjects that said query.

Thanks

Submission guidelines have what to put in the "re" line for query submissions. And, yes, it is generally "query."

LisaAnn
03-15-2011, 07:07 PM
Whenever I sent a query, I title it, "QUERY: Title." Whenever an agent requests a partial or full, I title that email, "Title (Requested Materials)." That way, you make sure your requested work doesn't get dumped in the query pile again. ;)

Belle_91
03-15-2011, 09:07 PM
One last question, and hopefully this doesn't seem weird, but when querying a female agent, do I put "Ms. Smith" or would they get offended if they were married. Example, if it doesn't say if they are married in their profile should I put "Ms." _____? Sorry, I just dont want to step on anyone's toes.

Snappy
03-15-2011, 09:32 PM
I always put Ms. and prefer it. It is the professional equivalent of Mr. Miss and Mrs determine married or not, Ms. is either.

kaitie
03-15-2011, 10:00 PM
I'm going to disagree.

I would send snail mail. Email makes it too easy for the agent/editor to hit delete.

I got the vast majority of my requests from email. Out of goodness...at least 80 snail mail queries I sent over two books, I only ever got two or three requests. My rate was much higher for email. No idea why this is, but snail mail doesn't necessarily mean a higher request rate.

CDancourt
03-16-2011, 02:34 AM
Most of the agents have a website with their preference... Visit the submissions guidelines, it'll help a lot!

Becca C.
03-16-2011, 03:14 AM
Definitely Ms. Even if they aren't offended by the sexist Miss or Mrs., Ms. is a good catch-all term.

I HATE being called Miss...