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A greeting, some venting, and a question...

Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Sir Scammedalot

First, let me just say that I'm new to the board--greetings to you all. Hope everyone had a great weekend.

I just spent 3 hours reading past postings of this site, and wow! There's a scam a minute going on out there. The input has been quite beneficial and I'm sure it will save me some wasted time and pain in the future.

I have a question, but first a few brief comments; I have a great deal of empathy for my fellow writers out there. Having read the horror stories I'd like to say that when dealing with some of these agencies, several times I barely escaped with my scalp as well. I, too, was offered a contract with the infamous Dr. Vanderbeets of West Coast Literary, and I almost took the bait. At the time I'd written 2 books and had landed an agent for neither (suffering well over 300 rejections by e-mail and paper), and I was a bit desperate. But I researched the guy, sucked it up and said no.

Then I was pegged for a sucker for ST Lit., that well-documented shyster, and after reading up on them said no to them as well. Other agents wanting upfront money like Barrie James of newauthors.org and Ronald Laitch of Authentic Creations and Phil Benedict all pegged me for an easy mark, and I almost fell for each and every one of them. I'd say I was lucky not to have succumbed.

Then only last week I was offered representation for my second book by Andrew Whelchel III, and planned to take it, until I logged onto this site and found out about the $375 he plans to ask me for. Can you believe it? I actually had the temerity to believe I'd actually once again landed a reputable agent, only to read up on him and have my heart fall into my stomach. Lucy pulls the football out from under my feet again.

You know, writers are busting their asses trying to create a work of art that hopefully someone might want to read someday, they have to practically beg a reputable agent to even look at their work, and then you've got these other evil bastards out there praying on the innocent. I will say that they've contributed to my passage from naive young writer to well-oiled cynic, so I have to thank them for that. But dreams are being shattered all over, and if you'll pardon me for saying so, these scam artists should be crucified.

Then some good news. I finally, after months and months of rejections and untold expenses, got an offer of representation for my first book that charged no upfront fees from a fledgling agency that opened in February of 2004, called Team Doubleclick. Eureka! So all you struggling writers out there--don't give up. If I can suffer through 300 rejections before landing an agent, you can too.

However, having said that, the book has been agented for nearly 8 months and has not sold (perhaps it sux). And now that this long, meandering post is nearly complete, that brings me to my question: Victoria, do you have any record of sales for this agency? Is 8 months a reasonable amount of time to expect to wait before publishers come knocking? How 'bout a year? Thanks for your help.

Sir Scammedalot


Sir, sorry to hear about all your close brushes with questionable folks.

I've a long post in another thread called "Fee Charging Agents: Right or Wrong", in which I discuss the importance of looking at an agent's track record in order to put fees in context. This applies equally to agencies that don't charge fees. If the agency has no track record, the fact that it charges no fees shouldn't make you feel secure.

You need to discover why the agency has no track record. The only reason worth considering is that it's new (less than a year old). But if this is so, it should be staffed by people who have previous professional publishing or agenting experience--otherwise, there's not much chance they will have the skills required to sell manuscripts to publishers. People who come to literary agenting from non-publishing-related fields rarely manage to make a go of it.

Based on its website, Team Doubleclick does appear to be a new agency. But I suspect this is not the only reason for its apparent complete lack of sales. None of the staff appear to have any relevant professional publishing experience. One agent is a freelance writer and graphic designer. One is a writer whose book was published by PublishAmerica (a neo-vanity publisher). One is a journalist and teacher. I'm sure they're all accomplished people--but they have no professional qualifications to be literary agents.

Another concern: The literary agency is just one branch of a multi-faceted business. It's really preferable to have a literary agent who's just a literary agent, not someone who's doing a dozen other things plus literary agenting on the side.

Many books take much longer than 8 months to sell, but based on what I see at this agency's website, I'm afraid I don't think it's very likely they'll find a good publisher for your book. I'm sorry to give you such a negative assessment, but in my opinion you're wasting time with these folks.

Bottom line: the only kind of agent worth having is an agent with a track record of sales to publishers you've heard of.

- Victoria

Sir Scammedalot

Thanks, Victoria. Unfortunately, I agree with everything you said. Also, unfortunately, I have little choice but to retain Team Doubleclick because others have shown little or no interest in my writings. I don't know if the queries for the books I've written do not properly sell the ideas (and I've tweaked them several times), if the ideas are unmarketable, or if I'm just not a very good writer. But you can't help but lose some confidence after receiving the number of rejections I've gotten. Team Doubleclick is the only reputable agency which believed in me, so I plan to see it through with them with the book that is agented ("Don't go Bettin' the Wrong Horse"). The followup book I'm still trying to peddle.

Now that I mention it, I just received an e-mail from Carol Adler of Dandelion Publishing asking me to send them the entire manuscript of the followup book ("Green Asylum"), just moments after my sending an e-mail query. A little strange, to me. Know anything about Dandelion?

Thanks for your input,
Sir S.


Sir -

If those 300 rejections were rejections to the query and not to a submission of a full or partial ms - then the problem could very well lie with the query itself.

A well written query that targets agents who have an interest in your genre and are open to new clients, should generate at least some interest.

If your query is not well written or you are not targeting the right agents you will be spinning your wheels.

Sir Scammedalot

Agreed. Most of the rejections were indeed to queries. The first round I sent out for my first book prompted exactly ZERO requests for additional material. Since then I've gotten much better at making a pitch and eliciting favorable responses and requests for chapters and such, but as I stated before, many of them were from shysters and really don't count. I've probably only had 15-20 requests total for reading material from reputable agents for 2 books and over 300 inquiries over 2 years, and only one of them panned out (and not very well yet).

Oh well. Must persevere. Thanks for the input.

Sir S.


Have you ever tried submitting directly to any publishers? Hey, even with a well-written query, sometimes snagging an agent can be tough. Small publishers are sometimes easier to deal with. I myself got rejected, oh, less than 300 times but more than 10, before I decided to just cut out the middle man.

Now, having said that, there are just as many unscrupulous publishers as there are agents. But Dave's site, Preditors and Editors lists lots of agents AND publishers of all sizes, and some recommendations for them. I found plenty of publishers to submit to, and from there it was far easier to find someone to publish my book. I actually had two to choose from :)

Good luck!

Sir Scammedalot

Thanks for the advice, Rissey. You must be reading my mind because I made the decision to do exactly what you suggested only today. Dandelion publications has already requested a full manuscript, but I'm waiting to hear from Victoria about them before I spend any money and time. But yes, now that you mention it, I think querying publishers is the next step. I'm afraid I've had it trying to sell myself to agents, at least for now. Thanks for the input.

Sir S.


It's a number game. Many agents can only rep so many writers, and only a small % of them are new authors. You do the math. Many agents are also looking for the "next big thing" and everyone has a different idea -- some might be looking for the next Dan Brown, another the next John Irving. So if you don't fit into these "types" you might be not be first choices. Most big houses won't take submissions from unagented authors... so when you add them all up, you have WAY too many competitions and way too few opportunities.

It doesn't mean you won't succeed, but the numbers are against you. There are a few things to do:

1. Spend a year or two to exhaust the list of all legit agents;
2. Target the appropriate small publisher -- once you're "published" it gets a little easier, because you're not a "new author" anymore;
3. Self publish (not to be confused with POD/Vanity)

As I've always said, there are many roads to success, you just have to know what you're getting into, and know the risks and how long and difficult these roads are.

p.s. the point about queries is a valid one. If you're having 300 rejections to the "query" itself, perhaps it is time to rewrite that query.



Is this the site? Their contract sets off some huge warning bells. For example:

11) AUTHOR’s Discounts. Within the first thirty (30) days of publication, AUTHOR shall have the one-time right to purchase one hundred (100) copies of each of the Titles included in the WORK at a forty percent (40%) discount off list price. Such purchase must be pre-paid and comprise a single transaction shipped to a single address. Thereafter, AUTHOR shall have the right to purchase more copies of each of the Titles included in the WORK at a discount: for single orders up to twenty (20) of each of the Titles in the WORK, a discount of twenty percent (20%) off list price. For single orders of twenty-one (21) to ninety-nine (99) copies, a discount of thirty percent (30%) off list price. For single orders of one hundred (100) or more copies, a discount of thirty-five percent (35%) off list price. AUTHOR shall pre-pay in full for any such purchases. PUBLISHER shall not pay royalties on any copies of the WORK purchased by the AUTHOR.

One-time discount on massive quantities of books, eh? Eerily reminiscent of PublishAmerica.

Plus, they pay a flat rate royalty of $1.25 per book instead of a percentage.

And then there's THIS!
2) Licenses. In consideration of the payments later specified in Clause 12 below, AUTHOR hereby grants to PUBLISHER the sole right and exclusive license to produce, publish and license the WORK or any abridgement or substantial part thereof, in all languages, for the legal term of copyright, throughout the world.

And lower down ... OMG! They want FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS from any outhor wishing to cancel the contract. $50,000! That's OBSCENE! This is a vanity press that relies on author sales and the hope of a cancellation fee. If you never cancel, they can publish your work for the duration of the copyright. That's your lifetime plus 70 years.

These guys are worse than PA. Do not sign with them!

The hideous contract can be read at www.dandelionbooks.net/contract.html.


"Settling" for an agent who can't sell your work because you haven't had success with established agents is a terrible waste of time. You're better off doing as Rissey suggests, and approaching smaller publishers on your own.

The Dandelion contract (www.dandelionbooks.net/contract.html ) is a stinker. A few examples:

- It's not such a big deal for a publisher to claim rights "for the duration of copyright"--this is standard publishing contract boilerplate--but such a grant of rights has to be balanced by a clause detailing how and when works will go out of print and rights revert to the author. There's no such clause in this contract. Sign it, and your work is gone till the publisher feels like letting it go.

- Check out Clause 8, Adjustments, where the author is subject to all kinds of charges for making changes at various points in the editing and design process.

- The publisher wants a variety of subsidiary rights, even though there's no evidence it is able to sell them, including the right to any methods of text distribution yet to be invented. Pretty sweeping.

- The royalties clause provides for a flat rate (not an ideal form of royalty) on all printed and electronic copies. Payments for the sale or license of the subsidiary rights listed in the previous clause are "to be negotiated". This isn't ideal; it's better to know going in what kind of income split you can expect for subrights.

- The $50,000 clause is worth quoting in full, for its boggle factor: In the event that AUTHOR wishes to terminate this Agreement without cause, termination will be effective upon the date of receiving a written, signed letter from the AUTHOR by registered mail addressed to the PUBLISHER, with a cashier's check or merchant card payment payable to Dandelion Enterprises, Inc. for the sum of Fifty Thousand Dollars and 0/00 ($50,000.00).

- The option clause gives the publisher the right of first refusal on not one, not two, but all the author's books for five years after publication of the first book.

- The publishing agreement may be assigned by the publisher at will to any company majority-owned by the owner of Dandelion.

This isn't a contract I'd advise any writer to sign in its present form.

- Victoria


Darn it! I had a big post all written up about this, and when I went to submit, my puter ate it.

I'm with Victoria, this thing reeks. Every book for five years?? No way, no day. The contract is a dud.

Sir Scammedalot

You guys are absolutely right. I have no law expertise--thank God there are some people posting on this board who do. It's back to the drawing board. All we (I) can do is keep plugging away. Thanks a bunch to all of you...Sir S.


Dandelion Publishers

I thought PublishAmerica was vicious in their dealings with authors until I read this thread.

Dandelion Publishing should have a Beware thread under it's own name and pinned at the top with the name flashing to garner attention.

I wonder how many writers they have trapped with their $50,000 contract buyout.


Re: Dandelion Publishers

You may very well need to consider some things--fist, your query, second if the good responses you got were all from scam agents then you should be doing a bit more research before you send out your queries.

Publisher's Marketplace is a good place to look up authors who write the same sort of thing you do. They almost always list their agents--it is usually the agent who has the listing at Publisher's market place.

Another good source is agentinfo.com

After you have picked out several agents who rep works similar to yours, time to do some searching.

Google the agent.

Look at your list and cross off any who don't have recent sales to publishers you have heard of.

Cross off those who don't list their clients or their sales.

Got a few left? Go to some of the web sites of the authors they rep--e-mail the authors and tell them you are thinking of querying their agent (don't ask for a recommend or a read) you are only asking for info on the agent--good or bad?

Next--write a query letter that offers the info they need in an easy format, this is a business letter, no personal stuff belongs in there--like Aunt Sally loved it--and so on.

Get a few readers to take a gander at the query letter--not friends or relatives.

Fix letter.

Send to agents.


Sir Scammedalot

Re: Dandelion Publishers

Thanks for the info, Shawn. Will consider your suggestions. I'm afraid I may have left the impression that I'm a complete neophyte at this, which, of course, was true at first, and even well into the querying for my 2nd book. However, I have learned a few things along the way thru simple trial and error (and a few rejections). I only wish I'd known about this site (or stumbled on to it) before I made my initial mistakes. The professionalism and knowledge that many of you possess is outstanding and extremely helpful.

There's no doubt that I've queried a few of the wrong people, and sent them material when I shouldn't have, but I'd like to think my cynicism about the process will help prevent those mistakes in the future. Having said that, your process for finding a good agent is well thought out and easy to follow. Right now, though, I'm looking into querying small publishers who specialize in experimental material. That's the biggest problem with my writing--it isn't easy to categorize. Several agents told me they wouldn't know how to begin to market it.

So people can get an idea of the content I'm referring to and what my latest query looks like (and it has gotten several bites, though no sales), let me post it below. Perhaps someone can come up with a few pointers on what I might consider changing, or barring that, who you might advise me to try to market it to. Please consider:

One day, a bit bored, I asked myself a literary question: Would it be possible to combine the carnal rants of Burroughs’ “Naked Lunch” and existentialism of Kerouac’s “On the Road” and, while I’m at it, weave several obscure, Warhol-like pop culture references into the tale, all while maintaining plot consistency?

Hmmm…with your writing ability?

Easy now. What if I were to embellish my main character (“Alex”) with an alter-ego who likes to write poetry and dwell on idiosyncrasies and then have them engage each other throughout, in a steady stream of witty banter and philosophical debate?

Yeah, the mental health angle. How novel.

Patience, unbeliever. What if Alex then fell in love with a superstitious college girl with golden Bo Derek-braids and began to blow things up in his spare time for money?

Oh, great; sex, violence and greed, how original.

No sarcasm, please. Assuming the answers to the prior three questions are “yes,” could I then possibly weave this bizarre hodgepodge of dizzying variables into a fairly classic espionage tale, with corrupt FBI agents, car chases, burning SUV’s and assassinations?

Hmmm…let’s just say the answer MIGHT be yes if you were…FRANZ KAFKA! Which you assuredly are not. Are you insane in the membrane?

Uh, no comment.

The result of my temporary insanity is a novel entitled “Green Asylum.” The manuscript is just under 95,000 words in length and would perhaps be best characterized as crime/psychological/experimental. It is at once a book of classic espionage, carnal cravings, crackpot ravings, rebellious views, demented ideas, poetic musings, pop-culture allusions and loony humor. Admittedly, it’s no genre book, but there should be a little something for everyone...

Then I list contact info and mention its part of a multiple submission. This is probably my 6th try at a query on this book. Anybody got any advise on changes or agencies who might like to look at this? (I'm looking up agencies and publishing houses as well, I just thought someone might go "Aha! He needs to go here!")

Sir S.


"If those 300 rejections were rejections to the query and not to a submission of a full or partial ms - then the problem could very well lie with the query itself."

This is what new writers whose queries aren't getting anywhere are always being told. And in many -- perhaps most -- cases, it's true. The problem is that we don't know. Everyone to whom I've shown my own query considers it the "Dynamite Query Letter(tm)" that we're always being told we need to write, yet so far it's garnered nothing more than a RFP that led nowhere.

The problem, as we're all too well aware, is that there's exactly zero feedback from the agent/publisher end. No one is ever going to tell us that "Your query letter is great, but we're not interested in this concept," or "Good concept, but with a query letter like this, we doubt that you could write a laundry list." We're constantly in a vacuum in which we don't know what we're doing wrong -- if anything!

This is why I only send out queries one or two at a time. I'm constantly working to improve my query letter, and I want those improvements to maximize my chances, rather than simply blasting Version One to every agent listed in Preditors and Editors.

But in the end, without any real response from the people to whom we're submitting except "no," we're working in the dark, like blind surgeons trying to save a patient's life without being able to see the body. Once you've gotten the basics of query writing down pat, it's all instinct and guesswork on your part, and all subjectivity on the part of those whose attentions you seek.

Sir Scammedalot

You're so right, Arkady. Agents rarely seem to have the time or inclination to get specific on exactly what they are looking for in a query. The thing is, each agent seems to be looking for something different.

I received a rejection from an agent once who said all he wants from a query is that it be informative (genre, # of words, target market) and that he can read it (at least 12 font, double-spaced). Frustrated after a multitude of rejections, I sent him a reply saying if only I was a mind-reader, perhaps we'd be doing business today. That was silly and stupid of me but I can be silly and stupid (though I've done that only 2 other times out of approx 400 queries). I should have been grateful, I suppose, to have actually gotten a specific reply from an agent on how to better elicit a favorable response in the future.

(However; agents, please don't condescend when dealing with prospective writers)

In another rare specific response (also in an e-mail rejection), an agent told me that you had to capture her attention in the first couple of sentences or the query was likely going in the trash bin. Truthful of her, and I've read the same elsewhere concering the need to write an attention-grabber; just common sense, right? But how, exactly, does when reconcile the approaches and desires of these two agents when writing their query, especially when you don't know what it they want beforehand? Can one be fun, original and entertaining, and yet be totally informative in one fell swoop? Possible, sure, but that's some kind of tightrope we're expected to walk, isn't it? I'm afraid it is very difficult to satisfy everyone.

Basically, though one takes in every bit of info one can about how to write one of these things, in the end I simply relied on gut-instinct and let the chips fall where they may when deciding what to include and what not to include in my query. Possibly a mistake; my tendency to blanket-send queries that I think are well-written but possibly don't meet the needs of particular agencies have pretty much shot my chances with them for that book. I may be desperate to land a reputable agent, but I don't re-submit different queries for the same book to agencies I've already contacted for that book. It could be I should follow your (and some others') lead, do some intensive research on particular agents or agencies, and really bare down and tailor the thing to exactly what I think they'd want. But alas, that might not work either.

Just as a matter of explanation, one reason I mass-query is because of a column I read by a successful writer on the FictionAddiction website. He said that out of every 45 queries he sends to agents, 10 ask for further material; and out of that 10, 3 might ask for the full ms; then out of those 3, 1 might offer a contract...at least that's my memory of it. 45-1. I've found the percentages of a contract offering to be much lower (at least for me, for a reputable agency). So even though I did land an agent for my first book (and as Victoria says, they may never sell it), I do need to do something different.

Thanks for your helpful words... Sir S.


I received a rejection from an agent once who said all he wants from a query is that it be informative (genre, # of words, target market) and that he can read it

Ummm, actually, that's a good advice and you should have listened instead of getting frustrated about it. A good query should contain the following information:

1. approximate word count
2. genre/market
3. brief synopsis
4. your experience as a writer...

And yes, one should use a 12 pt. font., single-spaced. Keep it short but sweet at 1 page. A query is a business letter. Treat it as that.

He said that out of every 45 queries he sends to agents, 10 ask for further material; and out of that 10, 3 might ask for the full ms; then out of those 3, 1 might offer a contract...at least that's my memory of it. 45-1.

Misleading at best. It depends on the book, of course. If it's a hot concept, current event, your odds could actually be higher. If you have a literary novel, your rate might be a little lower... and it depends on who you send to. Obviously you have to target your market. If you simply send out to 400 agents blindly, your success rate would be lower.

My own experience has been: 60 queries, ~20 requests, and about 8 full ms request, but that's before I rewrote my query (after 12 drafts and following all the conventions). With my first query, it was: 15 queries, 1 full ms request, 14 rejections.


Re: Difficulty finding an agent

3. Self publish (not to be confused with POD/Vanity)
I still have problems understanding the putative difference:

(a) Self publish: You pay someone to print your book.
(b) Vanity publish: You pay someone to print your book.

What's the difference? Assuming you pay a "fair" amount for either print job, the money's still going in the wrong direction.

I do however agree with your post. Finding an agent is difficult. That's simply because the market is saturated.

And so are the agent lists. In other words, a legit agent will not take on a host of clients because of the time needed to properly represent that client. A legit agent won't over-sign too many clients.

Also, consider that a legit agent has to eat a fair amount of money to sign a new writer. Just the time needed to read & evaluate the book with your staff. Make that maybe 8-10 hours, at perhaps $50/hr of general billable time.

Add to that the ancillary costs of filing the contract with your agency's law firm, mailing, etc.

The total cost of an agent taking on a new writer could be ~$1000.

So it takes a fair degree of confidence and good luck to get a legit agent.

Regarding queries, I regard query letters as simply a job application or a resume. It's a business proposition pure and simple.

My query letters are clean and to the point, never cute. Legit agencies have seen it all. They want to cut to the chase.

So I say I'm searching for representation for my series of private detective novels. Two novels are complete, the third is in progress. Then I spend 1-2 paragraphs describing the salient points of my specific novels, what makes then unique.

In my agent search, I received many polite "TBNTs" (thanks but no thanks) where the agency simply said that they were full up and not taking on any new clients.

Frankly I believe this is the case for many legit agencies -- they are booked up and are not open for new clients.

If your query is simple, clean, and straightforward, it will receive honest consideration. And if your book is well written, it will also receive a good & honest evaluation.

Keep trying. I finally found a legit AAR-signatory agent. No sale yet, but it's still a new contract, just signed late 2004, and with the holiday season, nothing will get moving until 2005 anyway.

Sir Scammedalot

Thanks, Maestro, I agree, and believe I admitted as much in the previous post. Bad day I guess. Your points on the query are well-taken, but you have also made my point--the agent referred to earlier wants double-spaced queries and you recommend single. This lack of uniformity in desirable standards is one thing that keeps us pulling our hair out...Sir S.


Re: Difficulty finding an agent

I still have problems understanding the putative difference:

(a) Self publish: You pay someone to print your book.
(b) Vanity publish: You pay someone to print your book.

We all pay someone to print our books, unless you're a printer yourself.

The difference is:

Vanity: you pay them, they print it, you buy it, you sell it. The cost is high because they charge you an arm and a leg for each copy. There is no distribution channels, etc. etc.

Self Publish: you're your own publisher. You don't "buy anything." You sell. You find your own distributions. You can cut the cost by going offset printing (which Vanity won't use).

The BIGGEST difference is: Bookstores do NOT shelf vanity or POD books (Amy Fisher is different -- she's a celebrity/novelty). But they may shelf yours, since you are a publisher. By self publishing, you're a publisher (instead of just the author). You own the ISBNs. You own the rights. You own everything. You also keep the profits.


Re: Difficulty finding an agent

Scammedalot, the double-spaced advice was plain wrong, and you shouldn't even care. Perhaps he was referring to "ms." -- in that case, they should be formatted as 12pt, double-spaced. If he was referring to the query itself, then no, he was wrong.

Again, a query is a business letter. No one on Earth would tell you to write a business letter double-spaced.


Re: Difficulty finding an agent

Um, the double-spaced advice isn't wrong if that's what that specific agent has told you he prefers. Now if he's telling you to send it to _other_ agents like that, then it's wrong. Plenty of agents seem to have requirements that aren't necessarily the "norm" of the industry. I wouldn't tell them that they're "wrong." At least, not to their faces. ;)


Re: Difficulty finding an agent

Um, not to beat the dead horse deader... but if an agent asks for double-spaced query, something is wrong with him.


A book proposal, yes. Sample chapters, yes. But queries? I have never heard of any legit agents asking for double-spaced queries -- it just isn't standard practice. Bottomline, a query is a business letter. No one should write a business letter double-spaced. I have in my long corporate life never seen a double-spaced business correspondence.

Maybe the agent is very old and can't really read well. In that case, I hope he has stated specifically in his submission guidelines. Otherwise, follow the standards.

Sir Scammedalot

Re: Difficulty finding an agent

Maestro, I am new to the board, and I do respect your advice. In most instances, I'm sure, single-spacing is more professional in regards to a query. However, I've heard from several agents how tired their eyes get by the end of the day and that was the case with this agent. So in those instances, at least for the particular agent in question, double-spacing a query might be preferable (I don't double, but 1 1/2-space).

I'm not sure by what you mean by "you shouldn't care" so I'll withhold comment on that. I will say that one must tread lightly when saying "no one on earth" in reference to anything. Perhaps no one on Earth SHOULD tell me to write a query double-spaced, but several HAVE, so individual preferences certainly come into play in these situations. There seems to be no uniform standard of query writing, regardless of your experience with it or knowledge of proper business form. I must side with Kaitiana on this point.

Having said that, I appreciate the advice on single-spacing the query and will bear that in mind from here on out...Sir S.