karen_w_newton (karen_w_newton) wrote,
karen_w_newton
karen_w_newton

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When "can" doesn't mean "should"

Even though I have an agent now I find I still tend to fixate on anything that gives advice on finding an agent. I noticed that Kristin Nelson (an extremely nice and up-and-coming agent) had posted a list of agents who accept e-mail queries on the Backspace blog. E-mail querying is so tempting. It's faster and cheaper than sending out all those envelopes with SASEs folded up in them (although Miss Snark recommended buying size 9 envelopes for SASEs, as a 9 will fit inside a standard size 10 business envelope without a single crease).

At the same time, my experience was that e-mail queries were often not a well-advised choice. Kristin's list is easy to use and has links for agents' web sites. What I would recommend is that you check each agent out individually and only send e-mail queries if that's all they take or what they plainly prefer (like Kristin herself does!). A lot of agents "accept" e-mail queries the same way I "accept" junk mail. These agents don't promise to answer the e-mail one way or the other. With an electronic query, you can't tell if they ever got it or not. With snail mail, if you don't get that tiny form slip of paper (no logo, at least six replies to a page) in your own SASE, then after six or eight weeks, you can try again. E-mail queries are too much like those TV commercials for Cingular/AT&T where the call has been dropped and neither party knows it. One wastes time chattering and the other one gets mad. You so don't want to be either of those guys.
Tags: agents, writers
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