I’m guessing that many of you who plan on attending the conference are in the query stage of your writing career. More and more agents are converting to email only queries and submissions. It’s very important that you consider the professionalism aspects of this process.
1. Create a professional email address. Most agents that receive your queries have never met you. Your email is their first introduction to you. If your email address is “smutwriter at sexy.com” or “thenextfaulkner at literarygiants.com”, you might not be taken seriously. Keep it simple and real. Something like joesmith at yahoo.com.
2. Make sure you read all submission guidelines carefully. Some agents want your synopsis as an attachment, some want it pasted into the body of the email. Some don’t want one at all. If you don’t follow the rules, there’s a high likelihood your email will just get deleted. Don’t take that chance. Attachments can be tricky, for lots reasons like viruses. If there are no specific instructions, it’s better to paste the requested material into the body of your email.
3. Pay attention to any directions regarding your email’s subject line. Many agents have their email accounts set up to filter queries. This requires certain keywords are included. If you follow directions, yours will go into the right folder. If not, well, then it goes straight into the trash bin.
4. Make sure you also check out the rules on multiple submissions. Most agencies have databases where they record submissions. If they prefer writers don’t submit more than one manuscript at once, or to more than one agent on staff at once, DON’T EVEN CONSIDER IT. This is the kiss of death. They will realize it. You’re not being clever and you’ll likely NEVER get representation with this agency.
5. Be patient. Agents have existing clients, deadlines to meet, and conferences to attend, and book signings and then there’s the. . .Get it? Agents are really busy people and they don’t want to be pestered. Especially if you’re not one of their clients. Keep it cool. They will respond and if they don’t, well frankly, they’re not interested.
Getting it published isn’t ALL about the writing. Sure, you have to be a good (or maybe great) writer to snag a deal, but you also have to be someone that agents and editors can work with—high maintenance clients, especially ones that can’t follow simple rules, are not what they’re looking to sign.