Dear Miss Snark,
I love that you're going to take partials via e-mail. I hope it's contagious. Save a tree and keep me from having to break my pink piggybank to pay postage.
Here's something I'd like your take on. Two established and highly recommended (by RWA or others) say on their web sites that I can get my work read faster or a critique of my query letter and partial if I send a check along for between $65 and $150.
Granted, we authors are kept out in the dark about what agents are looking for, and the mind-reading course I took hasn't kicked in yet, but is this the answer? Or, is this a function of the piss-poor economy? Or, is something else afoot that only you, genius-agent know about? Please advise.
A Bodacious Snarkling
This is a function of a someone who has seen a way to make money unethically.
Don't do it.
Do not pay agents until they sell your work.
Reading queries, and the slush pile is part of our job. Charging people for it, or saying you can "tip the doorman" to get in faster is unacceptable.
Frankly I'm surprised RWA hasn't flagged this practice as the overt snakeoil chicanery that it is. You may quote me as needed.