Begat by gum

Dear Miss Snark,

Say you get a query with the first few pages as requested in the guidelines. You decide there are three or four questions on the proposal topic; the hook and so on, and you return the query in the SASE with these questions written in the margin. The writer/potential author/client then responds to these questions in an email. Is this improper? Did the agent want a hard copy response? Or is email just completely not kosher in this context? Because this is a far cry from "not right for my list." Thanks.

Respond to the questions with the same form. Paper begets paper. Electrons beget electrons. Lipsticked cocktail napkins begat ...well, never mind.

If you get something back in your SASE, and you respond in an email, there's a very very big chance the agent will not make the connection with what you've sent previously. Absent the direct instruction "email this answer to me", respond on paper. And if you're REALLY savvy, you'll include a photo copy of the page with the scrawled notes.

Not that I have trouble remembering things due to ...well, I forget what but...never mind.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the tip on sending a photocopy of the page with comments. I'll remember that!

Anonymous said...

Not that I have trouble remembering things due to ...well, I forget what but...never mind.

It's CRAFT--Can't Remember A Freaking Thing ;-)


Jena said...

The agent won't make the connection with what was sent previously? There's this little thing called a "subject line" in email, e.g. "Replying to your letter of 24 March 06 regarding my submission, NOVEL by Ima Writer."

The body of the email could begin with an introductory paragraph again reminding the agent of the submission details, her response, maybe a few of her comments.

Also, there are some of us who live in the boonies in another country, meaning that by the time the snail mail response arrived, 10 days would have gone by ... by which time the agent would have forgotten about the submission anyway, if her memory is that bad.

Are you going to tell me this agent also won't make the connection if an editor emails and says, "I love the book NOVEL by Ima Writer and want to buy it!"?

Come on, this ain't rocket science. Or the nineteeth century. Email (and I mean an electronic version of a well-composed business letter) is an accepted form of communication.

Miss Snark said...

Trixie, honeypie, the question was not from an editor or about the sale process. It was about query letters. You know..the things that number in the hundreds here and are not very high priority?

And the idea that you'll respond to quick questions with a couple introductory paragraphs is fun too. Can you think of any other ways to be annoying?

Disregard the post if you care to. I'm amused by people telling me how I should do things rather than paying attention to how things are done, and then using that information to be effective in their query letters.

Jena said...

Sorry, I didn't mean to sound like I was telling you what to do -- dog forbid! I'm just saying that if the agent only had a few quick questions, it made more sense to me that she might also want a quick reply.

I guess it works both ways -- email means I can still communicate with the outside world even when I'm 10 miles from anything resembling civilization and snowed in.