3.27.2006

If I hear SASE one more time I'm going to set my hair on fire

Dear Miss Snark,

Does good news ever come in the SASE?

I've heard these are reserved exclusively for rejections, and any requests for paritals or fulls comes via phone call or email.

(I know you indicated otherwise in your post dated 18 March 2006, but I would love for you to, as you so adeptly and lyrically do, spell it out.)

Thank you for daily doses of entertaining enlightenment.

Gratefully,

A Faithful Follower


Well, it depends on what you call good news. If you mean do I ever send an offer for representation in an SASE...no. I do mostly request partials by email. I do hang on to the SASE though and use it for the reply to the partial...mostly.

However. If this tempts you to not include an SASE, we've had that discussion but here's a brief recap on why it's a bad bad bad idea.

1. I won't read your stuff. For every nitwit who tells you they got a deal by querying without an SASE I can tell you ten people last week who didn't get read cuase they didn't send one. You might get a deal without one..from someone else. I assure you I won't read your stuff unless you send one. You choose.

2. People send just a cover letter querying a novel. I send them a note in their SASE saying send pages. If they don't include an SASE I don't request pages by email.

3. I do put notes on query letters like "I don't do SFF, try Felix Feelgood" or noting places they've done something beyond stupid like misspell the name of their book. I figure maybe if I mention it, they won't do it on the next round. Don't send an SASE and you've got zero chance for feedback. You may never GET feedback, but you've made it possible for it to happen rather than eliminating the chance completely.

This SASE question has gone beyond ludicrous. You're trying to distinguish yourself from 100 people a week. I tell you how best to do that for my agency. Why would you think those guidelines don't apply? I absolutely fail to understand that. And don't give me crap about "it's empowering" to make an agent contact you if they want you. My idea of being empowered is making a big sale, not shooting yourself in the foot on step one.

This isn't rocket sceince. Follow the instructions or not, as you see fit. If you want to waste your time and your stamp, be my guest. It makes absolutely no difference to me, cause there are lots of other people writing good stuff who manage to include an SASE just fine.

21 comments:

McKoala said...

Re. distinguishing self and obeying the rules - I received a note from an agent just for presenting a correctly formatted manuscript. It wasn't for her, but she thanked me for formatting it properly - nothing special, just double spacing, margins etc (and Times New Roman for the font fans). She said it was nice to see a properly laid out manuscript and it seemed like I stood out simply by doing what she had asked. So maybe the lesson is that so many people are trying to stand out by doing something different that you end up standing out by doing what you are supposed to do.

Anonymous said...

OK, so let me get this clear. If I read between the lines, you're saying, like, we probably should send an SASE. Right?

(Proactively calls fire brigade...)

-ril

adownum said...

I've received a couple of partial requests in my SASEs, and know friends who have as well.

Because agents live to mess with your mind!

Kat said...

One of my two requests for partials came in my SASE (the other was an e-query which, surprise! got an email in response.) Most of the people I know right now who are getting partial requests are getting them in the SASEs they sent. There's a reason agents and editors ask for SASEs, and it's not just so they can have the fiendish pleasure of turning you down....

Anonymous said...

I got one request for a full in my SASE and from a very big, well known agency (which I very promptly sent). And I've gotten several requests for partials that way too.

It seems for the most part that the way I contact an agent is the way they contact me (at least for partials and fulls. I haven't had an offer of representation yet). If I sent the query by mail, they respond by mail using the SASE either with a request or a rejection. If I contacted them by email, they request or reject by email.

I don't know if I've ever received a request by email for a query I sent by snail mail and visa versa.

Jean said...

Hmm. An additional 39 cents for a *chance* to be read vice wasting my initial 39 cents (or whatever it amounts to with query, SASE, and pages) by not including the SASE and not being considered. When put that way, it seems like 39 cents well spent. If you call or email me, I'd be delighted to forfeit the SASE.

Following directions. It was the thing my husband tried most to teach his college English students--and far too many of them never *got* it.

Anonymous said...

About half the agent I've queried so far have asked for a partial or full. Nine out of 10 times, these requests were delivered by my postal carrier in my SASE.

Anonymous said...

I used to think good news by phone, bad news by mail, until HarperCollins sent me a letter saying they'd like to see the rest of the manuscript. Very exciting. And I sold the book to them as well, though that news did come by phone--on a Monday holiday, in fact. But like all good snarklings, I had included a SASE when I sent off the manuscript. This was before I had an agent. But a wise writer told me that if The Call ever came, I was to thank the editor very, very much, then mention either A) that I was in need of an agent and did they recommend any, or B) that I was in the process of querying an agent and would have said agent get back to them. At the time I went with B. Looking back, I wish I'd gone with A.

Anonymous said...

I got good news in my SASE. I sent a query letter to my first choice of agents. She used the SASE to ask for the manuscript. I sent it on a Thursday (Fedex because I was so excited). The following Monday morning she called and said that she loved it and was sending it out to editors. Within two weeks I had a nice deal. It can happen!

Anonymous said...

Cynthia writes:

I've had tons of good news from my SASEs ... most of my partial requests come from SASEs, and nearly all of my full requests (via ANOTHER SASE I enclose with the full, mind you.) Shoot, I'm such a stickler, I enclose a SASE even when they contacted me by e-mail for the partial or full (that is, unless they request I send the partial or full digitally).

It's just plain boneheaded not to include a SASE. Why be cantankerous from the get-go? So what if I get a form R in a SASE? That just tells me that I can scratch an agent off my list.

You want to stand out? The best way, seems to me, is to actually INCLUDE a SASE. And a properly formatted MS. Oh ... and above all, a query letter that reflects you know a little something about how to put words together and that you have manners to boot.

Writing trumps all, but agents have their pick. Why should they take on Talented Mr. Rule Breaker when they can take on Talented Suzy-Q-SASE instead?

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I'm just glad that something other than my synopsis is making you feel like setting your hair on fire!..LOL

Anonymous said...

There's two ways to stand out.
A good way and a bad one.
Not following the rules is the bad one. Which would you do if you know following the rules increased your chances?

Anonymous said...

*charges clue gun*
*looks into piggy bank for funds to buy more clue dust*

waylander said...

I recently received a request for a partial in the SASE that I had sent with my query letter from an agent at a major agency - so yes, good news does sometimes come in your SASE

Anonymous said...

I've only queried 20 agents but I got requests for both a partial and a full in the SASEs. Made me feel better about opening the damn things.

Anonymous said...

OMG,someone call the fire department. Get the fire extinguisher! Yesterday I sent out four agent queries,synopsis, first 3 chapters and forgot to enclose SASE. I just finished addressing the envelopes and I am on my way to the postoffice. I know it breaks the rules but is the morning after too late?! I feel sick perhaps gin will help.

Anonymous said...

Miss Snark is just gonna have to spray flame retardant on her tresses every morning, cause this topic will forever remain... [drumroll] ...undead! It will stalk the blog, the e-mails, the comments, until the blood of some poor SASE-resistant slob is shed by a crazed, Cluezi wielding agent...

Anonymous said...

I've never heard of anyone getting offers of representation via SASE (both of mine came by phone)or via e-mail.

But all manner of other good news has come to me via SASE--requests for partials, requests for fulls, personal commentary and critiques, and, in one case, a reply from an agent personally recommending me to another agent who might handle the book more effectively.

I think the key here is to stay wide open. Give agents and editors every possible way to respond. Make sure they have an SASE, and also make sure your query letter has your phone number, your cell number, your e-mail, and your address.

Yes, trudging out to the mailbox to collect what are most likely rejections can be disheartening. But never never never assume that all SASEs are bad news!

M. G. Tarquini said...

I figure it this way. When I get the agent, if s/he didn't use any of my SASEs to request the partials or the fulls, s/he can use it to send the wads of cash s/he's gonna negotiate for me.

Christine said...

I've gotten requests for pages both through e-mail and in my SASE (which was kind of a nice surprise, I was sure it was a rejection letter)

Agents call when they want the book. Some call for partials. But don't NOT send the SASE thinking that it's only for bad news.

Debra Kemp said...

This is such a no-brainer, imho. Writing is a business, even if you're still in the wannabepubbed/ querying phase. YOU, as the writer, must bear the business expense of postage. It's unrealistic to expect someone else (the agent) to fork out the postage YOU should be paying. (And claiming on your income taxes as a business expense.)