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tko
10-14-2011, 10:01 PM
Many agents say something like:

"please feel free to include a sample of 25-30 pages"

What would be the pros and cons of including a sample or not?

For me, NOT including the sample helps me figure out if it's my query or writing that sucks. Send both, you can't tell.

But there's something to be send for getting rejection out of the way right at the start.http://absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon11.gif

If you were an agent, and the author didn't include the optional sample, would you rate them lower, perhaps lacking in confidence?

One other question. An email only query w/the following requirements:

"For fiction, please feel free to include a sample of 25-30 pages of manuscript–consecutive pages, and numbered, please–with your query."

Nothing about attachments is mentioned. Would you put the sample in the body of the email and forget about page numbering, or attach as a Word file? (this is similar to my recent double spacing question)

Why would agents care about page number in an electronic writing sample? Word does tell you what page you are on . . .

Sage
10-14-2011, 10:11 PM
If they say to add a sample, add a sample. If you don't, they might send you an e-mail asking for the sample anyway (once I got that and thought it was a partial until I found out differently). While you're correct that it could potentially clue you into a bad query if you get rejected, adding the pages can also get you requests if the query isn't quite there. Some agents will request based off the opening.

There are plenty of agents out there who don't ask for pages. If you're "testing" your query, send to them first if you want. But follow the guidelines. If they ask for pages, give them what they want. They have a reason they ask for them.

Don't know the answer to the page number question. Have you checked the thread on the agency? Sometimes people give answers there for these agent-specific issues.

KalenO
10-14-2011, 10:32 PM
Per the page number question, given that they were so specific about the pages being numbered I'd assume they meant to attach them, since it wouldn't factor into pages pasted into an email. And thirty pages is a lot to put in the body of an email anyways. And as for why the page numbers, I've seen a lot of agents talk about this on twitter. Not everyone reads samples or manuscripts in Word. A lot of them convert it to something they can read on their e-reader, or in a format where the pages aren't automatically numbered. Perhaps even more importantly, they want to be sure their program numbers pages the same way yours does. If your program doesn't take into account the title page of your document when numbering, and theirs does for instance, then the comment the agent makes about something on what they think is page eight and you think is page seven will be meaningless.

suki
10-14-2011, 10:38 PM
Many agents say something like:

"please feel free to include a sample of 25-30 pages"

What would be the pros and cons of including a sample or not?

I see no pro. At all. The whole purpose of a query is to get the agent to read the manuscript. So, if you are given the chance to include some of the manuscript, why oh why would you pass on that chance? Send the pages!

For me, NOT including the sample helps me figure out if it's my query or writing that sucks. Send both, you can't tell.

If you wonder if the query sucks, send small batches, but leaving off the optional pages is silly.

But there's something to be send for getting rejection out of the way right at the start.http://absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon11.gif

If you were an agent, and the author didn't include the optional sample, would you rate them lower, perhaps lacking in confidence? I probably wouldn't think about it, but if there are no pages, I'd have to be far more impressed by the query to ask for pages. If the pages are right there, I'd be more inclined to scroll down and read them. But if I have to send an email and requst them, I'd have to be more impressed by the query.

One other question. An email only query w/the following requirements:

"For fiction, please feel free to include a sample of 25-30 pages of manuscript–consecutive pages, and numbered, please–with your query."

ordinarily I'd say never attach unles specifically instructed, but since the agent says to include the pages numbered, I'd think it would have to be an attachment...

Nothing about attachments is mentioned. Would you put the sample in the body of the email and forget about page numbering, or attach as a Word file? (this is similar to my recent double spacing question) you could withhold the pages and then say in the query that you were unsure whether to attach - but I'd probably attach them, since the instructions specify page numbering...

Why would agents care about page number in an electronic writing sample? Word does tell you what page you are on .
They might print to read, they might want to make notes, they might....who cares why. Just follow the instructions ;)

. .

I think maybe you are over-analyzing things. Just follow the directions to the best of your ability and move forward ;)

~suki

tko
10-14-2011, 10:41 PM
How do you number pages?

I typically do "soft" (automatic) page number in Word. Of course, if you reformat in any way the page numbers will change. If you convert to another format I'm guessing those pages numbers will simple disappear and become meaningless.

So, are you think I'd need to put in 30 hard pages numbers, manually typing them in?

Since the agent doesn't even mention attachments, the attachment could be MS Word - or PDF or text.

I wish they'd think this through!



Per the page number question, given that they were so specific about the pages being numbered I'd assume they meant to attach them, since it wouldn't factor into pages pasted into an email. And thirty pages is a lot to put in the body of an email anyways. And as for why the page numbers, I've seen a lot of agents talk about this on twitter. Not everyone reads samples or manuscripts in Word. A lot of them convert it to something they can read on their e-reader, or in a format where the pages aren't automatically numbered. Perhaps even more importantly, they want to be sure their program numbers pages the same way yours does. If your program doesn't take into account the title page of your document when numbering, and theirs does for instance, then the comment the agent makes about something on what they think is page eight and you think is page seven will be meaningless.

suki
10-14-2011, 10:48 PM
How do you number pages?

I typically do "soft" (automatic) page number in Word. Of course, if you reformat in any way the page numbers will change. If you convert to another format I'm guessing those pages numbers will simple disappear and become meaningless.

So, are you think I'd need to put in 30 hard pages numbers, manually typing them in?

Since the agent doesn't even mention attachments, the attachment could be MS Word - or PDF or text.

I wish they'd think this through!

I'd just leave in the automatic page numbers in word, and send as a word doc - you should be sending the first 25-30 pages (always send the first however many page of the book), and so the page numbers can just stay.

~suki

hillaryjacques
10-14-2011, 11:22 PM
The purpose of querying is to try to attract an agent who will represent your polished work, not to test a query. Test your query with readers or in the SYW section here. I'd hate to see you waste your chance at partnering with an agent because you were testing a raw query.

Most agents wish to have the pages pasted into the body of the email unless otherwise specified. However, since this agency specifies "numbered", I would assume they are looking for an attachment.

Good luck!

ios
10-14-2011, 11:47 PM
If you were an agent, and the author didn't include the optional sample, would you rate them lower, perhaps lacking in confidence?

In general, I think the agent would think you forgot--unless you mention something that indicates you read that particular query letter instruction. *ETA: I realized that sounded bad. What I meant was, agents query letter instructions vary sometimes, depending on which source you read them at. So, unless you specifically mention something about the sample, I'd assume they figured you forgot.

If you want to know if the query letter is the problem, then try sending to some that only want a query letter first.

Also, I believe places like BookEnds and Evil Editor allow people to post queries and get feedback. They might be worth a try.

Jodi

Jamesaritchie
10-15-2011, 06:09 PM
There are no cons, except that you learn whether or not your writing sucks. No matter how good the query is, bad sample pages cause a rejection, and no matter how good the query is, wonderful sample pages will draw a request for a full.

It's never a good idea to send out a query without the first three to five pages of your manuscript.

J.Reid
10-21-2011, 06:30 PM
I'm sorry but have you lost your mind? You always send pages when you have the chance. No exceptions.

And don't worry about page numbers. Or anything else. I recently had to have a querier send his manuscript five times before he got it right. And yes, I was willing to do that cause the writing was good. How did I know? Sample pages with the query.

M. Scott
11-01-2011, 04:14 AM
Many agents say something like:

"please feel free to include a sample of 25-30 pages"

What would be the pros and cons of including a sample or not?

For me, NOT including the sample helps me figure out if it's my query or writing that sucks. Send both, you can't tell.


Giving sample pages when they ask for it is a good thing. However, I like it when agents ask for a query letter only. Very, very early on in my writing, I sent a query and the agent asked me to send five pages via e-mail. She responded saying she wasn't quite drawn in enough. In that case, I knew my query letter had worked, but it was my intro pages that had failed.

Of course, that doesn't always mean the work is bad. It could be the agent wasn't a good fit. Still, it's a good indication one should consider visiting SYW.

I'm sure some will disagree with this, but rejections aren't always the best way to judge a query. If over 80% of queries are rejected (or get no response), some of those surely must've been good. However, if you get 100 rejections in a row, you probably have a problem on your hands, at least IMO.