Now that it’s January, there’s always one clear distinction within the queries received – that it’s a new season and the necessary homework (before querying agents) isn’t necessarily completed by everyone. Sadly it makes me feel like a broken record when it’s necessary I reiterate what “not” to do.
Just some kind reminders of things to avoid during the query process:
1. Emailing unrequested attachments – Being that any agent would like his/her computer to be sans computer viruses, we will request the proposal/mss/synopsis if we’re interested in a person’s book AFTER reading an initial query letter.
2. Addressing your queries as “Dear Agent,” “Agent,” “Sir,” “Madam,” and more – I’m fully confident that if you found an agent’s email address, the name of the agent is known too. Taking the extra 5 seconds to type in the name is a general standard in any type of written or online correspondence.
3. Ignoring agent representative categories – Despite my own personal categories being easily found online and in print, I’m still getting numerous memoir, religous, and general/genre fiction queries. I’m not alone, this happens to many agents. Please, please, please take the time to make sure a full understanding of your book’s tentative category is known before contacting agents. It’ll save time and frustration during the query process.
My goal is to help any writer have a positive experience during the agent query process. Please try to remember that we do our best to state our submission guidelines, as well as what type of books we’re looking for; so that any writer will have an easier experience overall.
We’re all in this together, so please remember to do your “agent” homework before sending off that 1st query.