Is there some new query “guru” out there suggesting wording to potential authors? I’ve gotten at least three queries this week that say, more or less, should I send a sample by snail mail or email? Or – would you prefer I send a sample to your PO Box or some other address? The presumption being that I want them to send anything at all. This seems to be a new phenomenon.
This is straight out of parenting books! To wit, don't give the kid open ended choices: "do you want to go to bed at 8pm or 8:15pm?" not "Do you want to go to bed?"
I think you find "directed questions" in business books, particularly sales books, as well.
It's condescending as hell and, when done less than artfully, so transparent as to be annoying. Writing a sentence so that "no" is not the answer to "can I send you my manuscript" doesn't mean we're going to say yes. It means we're going to send you a form letter just like everyone else.
The danger of this kind of phrasing is that it makes us stop reading at the cover letter. That's not what you want.
Save the directed questions for your loinfruit.