I've always been curious about this quaint tradition since I first discovered it many years ago (the first time I submitted).I think there's something heroically ironic about the fact that aspiring writers -- some of the poorest people I know (except for those who are REALLY poor) -- have to foot the postage for something they'd really rather not be doing, and then again for news they'd in most instances rather not hear. This irony is only further compounded when occasional (say, every two - three years) postage rate increases mean that the time you've waited for a response has now left your SASE with insufficient postage -- and so it either ends up in the dead letter office, or comes back to you with a request for a few more cents. All for the joy of reading a form letter that says "Thanks, but no thanks."I wonder whether this is because agents/publishers really fundamentally HATE new writers, or because they're simply tight-fisted little scoundrels. Anyone have any insight?
yes, that's right, we hate new and old writers alike. We don't distinguish, we lump them all into that sneered upon pile of festering slush. We'd rather not deal with it at all.
So, let's just reverse the question: what's your alternative?
As I see it there are three ways to do this:
1. you send me a query letter with an SASE and I respond
2. you send me a query letter with no SASE, and I respond, paying postage
3. you send me a query letter with no SASE, and I don't respond.
Are there other choices?
Let's just leave the email option aside for a moment, since in fact some agents DO take equeries.
Now, you tell me why #2 or #3 are better options than #1. Remember that your ability to persuade me will rest largely on answering the questions: what will it do to make my life easier, more efficient or less expensive. "just cause I don't want to pay for postage" is not a persuasive arguement. If you have other points, I'm glad to hear them.