Dear Miss Snark,
I went a screwed the pooch. Having recently whipped my manuscript into final draft form I've been honing a query letter.
There was one agent on my list,that I really wanted to make a slam bang impression with, but she only takes queries via standard mail. Okay, I thought. No problem.
So I take my query letter. It's rock solid. It could cut frickin' diamond. I get the first ten pages of my manuscript printed out. I'm feeling good. I put it all in a package after pacing around. I lick the envelope shut, stalk out to the post office box, and drop it in.
An hour later as the postman is pulling away from my apartment bloc I about shit myself because: FUCK I FORGOT TO INCLUDE THE FUCKING SASE THAT'S SITTING RIGHT ON MY DESK.
Now I have this feeling that the manuscript won't even make it out of the slush pile, because they'll just pop open the envelope, notice there's no SASE, and chuck the whole damn thing.
Here's the only upside I can see: I included my e-mail address and phone number in the heading. What should I do? Send a second query package with a note apologizing for the lack of the SASE in the first, or just quit being neurotic and figure that if my writing is good enough they'll shoot me an e-mail if they want more with a slap me on the wrist for being an idiot.
Am I being overly optimistic with the second scenario?
Wait about three weeks. If you hear nothing, query again. Do Not Mention your previous foray into forgetfulness. No reason to ever mention it ever again in fact.
The three week window applies ONLY to cases where you forgot the SASE. Normal turnaround time on queries is 30 days. A colleague and I were laughing just yesterday about an email she got asking the status of a query sent on 1/10. Yesterday as you know was 1/29.
I wrote up a little message to send back but I don't think she used it: Dear Querywort: In order to turn queries around in under 30 days, we limit ourselves to reading only the first line. I'm afraid your first line 'I'd like to present my novel' is rather over used, doesn't provide fresh perspective and thus not something we can take on. I hope we got back to you promptly on this so you can query others.