View Full Version : snailmail queries with sample chapters and/or proposals: staples or no staples?

01-17-2014, 06:20 AM
With regards to those authors' agents who request snailmail hardcopy packets with sample chapters or formal proposals in addition to the basic query letter is there an industry standard assumption about whether or not to run a staple through the chapter(s) or proposal?

I've been doing so but it has crossed my mind lately that perhaps that's annoying.

01-17-2014, 06:44 AM
No staples.


01-17-2014, 07:13 AM
Never staple. Paper clips are where it's at.

Siri Kirpal
01-17-2014, 07:52 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

If it's a full, you can use rubber bands. But never staple.

Make sure your name and the title of the piece are one each page. And make sure each page is numbered.


Siri Kirpal

Old Hack
01-17-2014, 11:11 AM
Never staple. Paper clips are where it's at.

I know agents who say exactly the opposite.

Paper-clips have been known to slip and release a few pages, or to pick other papers up.

However, I do use paper-clips, but I do make sure to have footers on every page of my work showing title, my initial, and the page number.

01-17-2014, 12:47 PM
I wouldn't even paper-clip or use rubber bands. Agents (and editors, of which I am one, for technical work) like loose pages. That's how they get read, and they are easier to handle without some encumbering fastener. As long as they have proper page numbers, and are securely housed in an envelope or box, they won't get mixed up. An agent is going to unfasten them at the get-go anyway, so why fasten them in the first place?


01-17-2014, 06:27 PM
Or just paperclip the SASE (for a response) to the cover letter/query. That way the SASE doesn't get left behind in the large envelope. Or just tuck the flap of the SASE around the cover letter and don't use any paper clips.

But never use staples, unless the agent specifically asks for the pages to be stapled, which I've never encountered.

01-17-2014, 08:53 PM
No staples. No clips.

Name of work and author on the bottom of every page in the footer. Number pages.

Top page of sample ms. has your full contact information on it (on top right, usually).

Debbie V
01-21-2014, 04:30 AM
I always had the title and name in a header on the left side with the page number on the right the way it is on the pages of a printed book. Page numbers are often in footers, but not the other info. Why footer vs. header? Does this matter?

Old Hack
01-21-2014, 11:30 AM
If an agency doesn't specify then it's only a matter of personal choice whether you put it in your headers or footers, I think.

I tend to put my initials, the book's title, the date (so I can track printed versions to some extent) and the page number all in the footer, separated by forward-slashes.

Debbie V
01-27-2014, 07:55 PM
I'm going to have to consider adding the date. That's a good idea for tracking purposes.