Cover Letter Only

Miss Snark -

Just read your recent post on query letters and your advice to send five pages of your writing.

But what if the agent specifies that they want query letters only, or you're sending to someone like Kristin Nelson who only wants emailed queries? Do you stick the five pages in the body of the email? Do you ignore the agent's rules about sending a query letter only?

Just curious.

I have no idea how my colleagues who only read cover letters get a sense of the writing but they do so maybe they have extra smarts that Miss Snark doesn't. Half the partials I read are from stupid query letters..and the partials are pretty darn good.

Anyway, the answer is: if an agent says cover letter only, only send the cover letter.
Under NO circumstances would you send an attachment in an e-query unless asked to do so.
That's just inta-delete these days.


randy said...

I generally follow what the agent/editor requests...however, I've run into many an agent/editor who, in person--at a conference or workshop--will give you the "inside scoop" and say...well, send me a couple pages, and I'll read it. So, if you're someone who doesn't feel like your query letter really conveys how good your book is, why not? The worst that can happen is, they don't read it...but maybe they will. I've also run across some pretty big-time editiors whose guidline say one thing, but at conferences, they say, go ahead. Send me a couple pages.

Under no circumstances, however, send anything as an attachment.


Edie said...

In my recent e-query to Kristin Nelson, I wrote that I pasted the first 5 pages below [the query] for her review. I don't think that would offend her or any agent.

Anonymous said...

In the case of an agent who specifies a query letter only, I always include the writing sample as part of the query letter, only a hundred words or so. I get lots of requests for partials with that technique.