SASEs-cause it's too much to hope for that this topic will ever die

I was putting together queries today - those that requested pages, synopsis, etc., went into a large envelope with an SASE (stamped - yes, I checked) and the other materials. Those who requested *just* a query, I put into a standard #10 envelope, with the SASE folded around the letter. I can completely understand agents not wanting to read many-folded manuscript pages, but do I really need to spring for a catalog envelope plus postage for a single-page query letter?


Catalog envelopes are needed only if you are mailing more than three pages and you want the pages returned (why you would want this is beyond me, but it's your call).

You put a Biz envelope in for a query that is just a page or two. Very very smart and savvy snarklings understand that biz envelopes come in two sizes: #9, and #10. You put a #9 inside the #10 for your SASE. You mail the #10. Don't tell me you can't find #9 envelopes.

For everyone rolling their eyes and shrieking, just use a #10 folded neatly.


Dave said...

I just paid my county tax bill by check and used a folded #10 envelope as SASE inside a mailed #10 envelope to obtain a receipt. The county and the US postal service had a troop of performing girls scouts stage a pagent in my yard to protest the thickness of the envelopes. They said next time some big, burly state policeman would show up at my door with the receipt and beat it into me.

But seriously folks, the receipt for payment showed up a few days later with no problem.

This is so easy to do. Why is there so much discussion?

Anonymous said...

But when mailing a query with a five page sample, as you suggest, we should put it in an catalog envelope, right?

Obviously the SASE inside will still be #10.


Robert Billing said...

One minor problem is that letter and legal size paper, together with #9 and #10 envelopes are unknown on this side of the Atlantic. We have A4 paper (almost but not quite legal size) and DL size envelopes.

I have once been chewed out (not actually disqualified) by a US contest organiser for sending a MS on A4 size paper.

Incidentally I now have a solution. Euroffice will ship US paper sizes in the UK, although the price can be excessive.

Bonnie Shimko said...

Oh, WOW! I did not know that. The part about there being #9 envelopes. Hopefully, I won't need them for agents, but they'll look so much more business-like when I ask my kids to send money.

Heidi the Hick said...

Yay! I've been doing something right!!!!

Yasamin said...

see this is the exact type of question that i was pulling my hair over just this last friday. im so glad you had this up!

M. G. Tarquini said...

I'll hop in on this before some another nitwit beats me to it:

What's a catalog envelope? You mean a 9 x 12, manila or otherwise?

Rachel Ann Dryden said...

I tried to buy #9s but my Office Depot didn't stock them; I went with #10s but at least I bought the kind where all you do is pull off the paper over the sticky part and it sticks, so no intern has to lick it.

Anonymous said...

I never knew there was a #9 envelope! I learned something. Now to find them in this half-horse town.
CJ Parker

Elektra said...

You can order #9's directly from the USPS web site, already stamped. Though the glue on them is sickeningly sweet.

Termagant 2 said...

R Billing, your post astounds me. You mean the t/w/i/t/s professionals who ran the contest had nothing better to do than check out the size of your printer paper?

Quote this. Please. Good Writing Trumps All -- Miss Snark.


Kim Stagliano said...

I attended the Backspace agenting event on Friday. The best advice I took away? Each agent has his/her own preferences and there ain't no way I'm going to hit every preference in every query letter. So I should relax and A) write a good book, B) write a good book and C) write a good book.

One agent reads the first two lines and then skips to the bio. The next reads the bio first and so on. One wants a grabby opening in the query, the next says "no, that's gimmicky."

They all seemed to agree that the first few lines of our MS simply must grab them and demand they read more. But there was little agreement on WHAT grabbed them during the reading!

They also agreed that a query should be neat, get their name right, no typos, have a basic grasp of grammar.

The day was very, very cool and well worth the money spent.

Thanks to Karen Dionne from Backspace for organizing the event.

Zany Mom said...

I love this blog. Where else can you get the real info to squelch all of the rumors?

Be professional and write well. The rest will take care of itself.

And hope that Agent Query and/or Writer's Market are accurate. I was just reading how Agent Query said Agent X accepts NO SNAIL MAIL QUERIES yet Agent X's own website said e-mail OR snail mail queries.

The plot thickens...

Bren MacDibble said...

Just as a side question: Do US editors/agents know the amount of postage the UPS charge for sending a teeny weeny book of stamps to the other side of the world?

Theoretically it should be the price of one of the postage stamps... 10 or 20 stamps don't weigh much, after all... it's not. It's around 20 times the price.

I thank the editors/agents who kindly inform overseas writers how easy it is to get US postage stamps for our SSAE but I'd rather have the option of binning the ms and an emailed standard rejection just for the satisfaction of not feeling "done over" by UPS.

Ryan Field said...

Thank you for that last line.

lizzie26 said...

Just make sure all of those envelopes are self-sealing. Even the catalogue-sized ones. Who wants to open an envelope where someone used a ton of saliva to close it? Yuck!