Dear Miss Snark,

When mailing requested material to an agent, should I put a label on the outside of the envelope indicating that it's something she requested?

Thanks for all your help.

Only if s/he tells you too.
Otherwise it's pointless.

I've stopped having people do this cause some sharp operators started putting "requested material" on things that weren't. Now I have numerical codes and I keep track of the things I really ask for and anyone who writes "requested" on stuff that isn't is an automatic rejection. I can't stand that crap.

I always mention something is requested, or discussed in a phone call, in the cover letters of stuff I send to editors. You should do that too.

I've had an actual client put "Requested material" on stuff he was sending. I finally mentioned that despite any evidence to the contrary I did know who he was and did open his mail first. We had a good laugh...I think.


Anonymous said...

Bwa ha ha ha ha ha. (That's me, laughing at myself.) I just sent some paperwork to my agent's assistant and put "Requested Material" on the envelope. I even thought about including an SASE.

lizzie26 said...

Interesting. So many writer's sites/forums tell writers to put "requested material" on the outside of the envelope, if it truly is requested. I wondered if some idiots would decide to try that, even if it wasn't requested material. A fool is born every minute, but now I think it's every second.

Unknown said...

I've stopped having people do this cause some sharp operators started putting "requested material" on things that weren't.

For this specific reason, most of the editors/agents I've dealt with in the past few years have told me to put something very specific on the label when they requested a partial or a full (my fav was "BITE ME" from the editor who bought my first novel).

Anonymous said...

I did it, too! I put "Requested" in HUGE letters because that's what I was told to do by a listserv group. (Knocks head against desk.) When will I ever learn that the crowd is something not to be followed?

Melinda R. Cordell said...

I enclose the letter in which the agent/editor actually made the request for my material. If it's written in longhand, that's even better. Even if they don't remember making the request, they might feel a little easier, thinking, "Okay, this isn't just some bozo putting me on."

Anonymous said...

FYI - I've been testing sending out query letters with "Requested Submission" on the label and am here to tell you it has a proven success rate. Six out of ten with the "RS" on the label asked for partials/two for full manuscripts within a week vs. one out of ten without it. It's marketing after all and I believe agents are aware of it.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but what if the agent tells you to put it on the envelope, and you forget? What then? Aghhh!