Thursday, July 20, 2006

To Email or Not Email: That is the Question

Your exclusive email queries in searching for Agent1 surprised me. Did you follow the same method in finding Agent2?

Yup. I'm an email-only type of gal. Whether or not I should admit this, email (and IM) are really my primary sources of communication (does that make me pathetic? maybe...), and when on my agent hunt, I decided that I wanted one who felt the same way. So...I stuck solely to agents who accepted email queries.

Now, before you jump up and down and tell me that I eliminated an entire batch of grade A agents, let me share a little secret with you: a lot of the agents who list "don't accept email" on
agentquery.com, do, in fact, accept emails. This doesn't mean, however, that you should fire them off at random, unless you want to incur the wrath of Miss Snark (who hates them and won't accept them), should you happen to fire one off to her. No. What this means is that you have to do your homework. Go to an agency's website. Is the agent's email listed there? If so, then have at it. Google said agent. Often times, you'll find interviews with him or her that cite his or her preferences. This is how I discovered that Deborah Schneider really and truly WILL NOT take emailed queries - no ifs, ands or buts - and thus, she received my sole snailed query. (I never heard back.) Go to writers.net, search the forums and see which agents other aspiring novelists have had success with via email. (Type in "e-query" and you'll find a thread that echoes much of my same advice.) Go to writersmarket.com and read archived Q/As with agents to gauge their preferences.

I also did some additional research and discovered, unsurprisingly, that people had higher response rates to e-queries. AND I liked being able to put a return receipt on my note, so even if I didn't hear back, I knew that the agent had received it, which reduced my anxiety. I mean, if it passed in front of their eyes, that's all I could really do. The rest? Out of my control.

Now, don't send this note to Miss Snark and say, "she told me to do this, and tell her that she's wrong." I know how much MS hates emails. I do. Really. And I know that what I'm telling you goes against her countless posts on the subject and thus, is ripe for controversy. But plenty o' agents say "don't email" as a way of weeding out the riff-raff. The question is: are you the riff-raff or are you going to dig deeper?

(And now, I'm going to duck to avoid flying tomatoes.) So - thoughts? Rants? Have I gone terribly astray by countering MS's advice?

7 comments:

Sara Hantz said...

Allison, I did exactly the same. And it worked for me - I now have a wonderful agent. I love the immediacy of email and msn (I'm a total msn slut). Also, because I'm based in NZ many agents let me email my full/partial - what could be better!

So, I'm 100% in agreement.

Allison Winn Scotch said...

Thanks, Sara! I'm so glad that you agree. And congrats on finding your dream agent.

larramie said...

CONFESSION: I've always wondered why agents say, "no email queies," then post their email addresses.

Now I realize that it's for brave and ambitious souls like you, Allson and Sara, who are unafraid to take the chance. Indeed you create your own success.

Manic Mom said...

I have totally done the same thing with my agent search, focusing on email-happy agents for this run!

By the way, don't you have some non-book related good news to share with your readers? I don't wanna out ya or anything... hehehee. Maybe Monday you can do a special post about "things."

Very excited for you, on all counts!

Sara Hantz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sara Hantz said...

Yay, Manic - fingers crossed for you.

Come on, what's this news..... spill

Alyssa Goodnight said...

Good advice on digging deeper. I'm always a little wary to step on any toes, but I soooo prefer email to the whole print-out, pack-up, run to the post-office alternative.

You may have mentioned this on a previous blog, but who is your wonderful agent--if you don't mind my asking?

Now I need to read up on all the info-packed posts I missed this week...