My Dear Miss Snark:
Each chapter in my novel begins with an epigraph. I quote some bits of Auden, John Bunyan, and Shakespeare, among others.
When I send the manuscript out, should I take out the epigraphs? I wonder especially about the first ten pages of the ms. that are attached to the query letter; I worry that I am raising the stakes too high, and an unfriendly eye will judge me presumptuous from the get-go to be pairing myself with Auden et al. They might also be distracting. On the other hand, I think what I've written is good--and it's my attention to the right word, the right punctuation, the right allusion, and in short, every tiny detail, that have made it so--thus I am reluctant to scrape the poetry away unless ordered to do so by my future agent or future editor.
I would be most appreciative and grateful to hear your thoughts on the matter. Please convey my best wishes to K. Yapp.
Killer Yapp wants to know if you quote Dr. Seuss. If not, he's retracting his offer to read it.
I have no idea why authors like epigraphs. I find them a total pain in the asterisk. And all they do is take up space in a query letter. Save them for the full manuscript if and when an agent requests it.
Epigraphs are a snore