No credentials, nada zilchies....

Ms. Snark,

If you have no related publishing experience, how do you punch up your query letter to impress an agent?

You enclose ten pages of superlative writing and a cover letter that says: read this.

Good writing trumps everything.

Even a blank resume.


Kimber Li said...

Is there an echo in here? Just kidding. Beautifully stated, Miss Snark.

MaNiC MoMMy™ said...

And let's not forget the twenty-dollar bill.

Anonymous said...

Damn but we hate these complicated answers. Why won't you just tell us what you want!

Anonymous said...

Ten pages? I thought we were supposed to enclose 5 with a snail mail query if the agents instructions say "send query". Do we get to send 10 without looking like nitwits? I'd much rather send 10 - in 10 you get the whole plot underway instead of just the first element of the plot.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, that advice is true only for Miss Snark and maybe two other agents in the World.

The Bowery Boys - Greg said...

I love Miss Snark, and I wish that what she said were true.

Anonymous said...

I like that answer! But there are times when you just can't win. I commented the other day about a query I'd sent an agency, but was instantly rejected (truly; one second)based on a previous novel I'd sent them last year. The rejection was based on my e-mail address. I know this because I queried later, with a blank document that read "test file", and was again instantly rejected. I sent them a comment and here's the reply (names deleted):

To Mr. Field,

It is unfortunate you do not remember sending us (blank) back in November of 2005; but
indeed, you did. And you received a timely
response from us declining that work.

At present time, our agency receives over five
hundred submissions per month. Considering the
fact that we do not charge to evaluate
manuscripts, it is puzzling that you find our
policy of declining your current work based on (blank) so appalling. We believe this is
an ethical policy that allows others an
opportunity to have their works read who have not
yet submitted any works at all. We hope you

We do wish you the best in getting your work
published and in finding an enthusiastic agent who
can represent your work.


Remember, the novel I submitted was completely different from the one previously rejected.
While I believe an agency can base policy on anything, like it or not, I also believe this should be stated, clearly, in the web site so we (writers) won't waste our time with a substandard query process that rejects blank documents based only on an e-mail address. And, an agency that believes by not charging reading fees they are somehow superior shouldn't state it in writing.

Anonymous said...

But I thought that you weren't supposed to send part of your writing unless the agent asked for it? My understanding was that it was annoying for the agent to recieve part of your novel (even if it's only ten pages worth) if the agent didn't ask for it. Or is that only a full fifty or so pages that is annoying?


Anonymous said...

Thank you Ms. Snark for answering my question. I plan to send the story with the query/cover. The story is short. A three page picture book story.

Thanks agian!!