Hi Miss Snark,
I just finished reading The First Five Pages by literary agent Noah Lukeman and enjoyed it. His chapters, examples and exercises were entertaining and will help me fine-tune some stuff in my writing. However, I read this in the first chapter and thought “Eh? What would Miss Snark say about that?” You can tell by the price of postage, this book was published a few years ago. : )
Regarding query letters:
“The second is to send your letter by FedEx (or some other guaranteed-signature delivery method) instead of by regular mail. Spend $11 instead of 33 cents. If it comes by FedEx, someone’s forced to sign for it, and thus it usually gets opened on the spot. This doesn’t guarantee it will get read—and the agent or editor may even get annoyed—but at least he’ll be aware of it. And he just might read it with greater care, because he knows you cared enough about it to spend the money.”
I’ve read on several agent blogs that this is a mistake and usually guarantees a rejection because of the trouble the agent has to go through. Plus the expense! If I sent out 30 query letters in this way, it would cost me a fortune in mailing expenses. Lukeman states earlier in the chapter it’s better to select two or three agents to query instead of twenty or thirty. While that would cut down on expenses, it certainly narrows the field of opportunity. I’m inclined to bypass both bits of advice and send out my queries to several agents via the cheap seat US Post Office.
This is utter crap.
Perhaps the copyright date is 1993, back when FedEx was more of a big deal but these days people use it in NYC instead of a messenger services.
The real reason it's crap though is that "someone has to sign for it" and that means me. Which means you've interrupted me. When I see the address label isn't a publisher or a client, guess where it goes? Yup. The slush pile. Unopened. Unread.
The second reason it's stupid is that it sends the subliminal message that you think HOW something arrives is somehow more important that what it says. That means you're a nitwit. I try to avoid having nitwits for clients.
Don't do this.