Day #8 – To Whom It May Concern

By Dawn Frederick

So you’ve written a book and it’s time to begin the query process. You take a friend’s sound advice and research the various print and online directories for agents. During the research process, the name of the agency and agent’s name is noted accordingly (as well as the correct submission guidelines).

Once the query letter goes through its final edit, you make sure to note the book’s title, category, your bio and more. All seems well, let the query process begin.

After triple checking the list of agents, the letter is sent out electronically.

Here’s the original list of agents:

  1. Joe Smith at ABC Literati Agents
  2. Jane Doe at Books Rock My World Agency
  3. John Peters at Literary Managers Worldwide
  4. Jerry Lane at We Love Books Agency

It’s an exciting feeling, as there’s hope in the air and your book is now on the path to being published.

You hear nothing for six weeks. Not even a “no” response. The nerves begin take a toll on the ability to stay calm. After venting to the friend who kindly referred you to the agent resources, another bit of good advice is shared – reread the query letter, do some edits, and send out a new batch.

Upon opening the query letter, the problem is immediately noticed, you addressed all of those agents as “To Whom It May Concern.” Not Joe, not Jane, not John, and definitely not Jerry. The sad part is that their names were already at your disposal, yet the query letters didn’t reflect this knowledge.

The moral of the storyIf one has done the official homework in researching agents and their respective agencies, make sure each agency query is personalized in advance.