Sunday, June 08, 2008


One of the purposes of a cover letter is to remind the agent you're sending stuff to that she met you or requested pages.

I received manuscript pages in the mail today with a green sticky that said "here it is.".

Great. Who are you? I searched for both your name, your email and the book title on my hard drive. Nada.

I looked at my Excel spreadsheet listing all the people I met at the BEA pitch slam. Nada again.

I have no clue who you are, what this novel is, or if it's something I want to read. And frankly, I'm baffled as to why anyone would think this is the way to send stuff.

It may very well be that we did meet, or correspond, and I do want to read this, but right now I'm not reading 20 pages to find out if I remember you.

Be smart: remind me how we met. Even if I emailed you and asked for pages. Even if I met you at BEA. Just say "following up on our conversation on 5/30."


H. L. Dyer said...

If only your new submission guidelines had gone into effect... you could have just asked one of those nice men with the machine guns.

Julie Weathers said...

If only your new submission guidelines had gone into effect... you could have just asked one of those nice men with the machine guns.~

Agreed. Plus, bright green wouldn't go well with red pleather anyway. This might be a fashion and writing disaster in the making.

Wasn't me. I don't even have green ones and my scotch label sticky notes aren't here yet.

jovic said...

It sounds like those "deals" we sometimes got in the mail that were actually junk mail and they had a sticky note stuck to them that said, "Kelly said you'd be interested in this." in handwriting. Upon closer inspection, it was a pre-printed sticky note. Not to mention, I didn't know any Kellys. Maybe someone's trying to trick you into thinking you met?

Jessica said...

I'm glad you posted this. Not because I'd use a green sticky note, lol, but because I got a request for pages and was trying to figure out whether to resend the original query letty revised. You know, to remind the agent who I am. Thanks for the post. It definitely helps.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Even a Pixie couldn't solve this mystery. ... Did you enter a key portion of mss text into search to see if some version of it is on a critique site? It might take you to them ....

Gary said...

I find this little story something of a relief. It means I'm not alone...

Sha'el, you did ask for another mystery, after all! But if you can solve this one then you're a detective genius.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Hi, Gary!

I doubt I can. I'd need some sample text, and Mr. or Miss or Mrs. Clueless (we're related; I just know it!) sent her mss to Janet hard copy.

I'd search fragments of text to see if it was posted on a critique site.

I'd examine the envelope with a magnifying glass to see if there was a post mark, the scent of cinnamon roles, or any other clues such as a name written in lemon juice ... say .... I wonder if Janet held this over a heat source to bring out hidden writing.

I'd check to see if the sticky note was new or reused. ... for signs of thrift (you gotta be married to a Scotsman to understand) or simply messiness. ....

And ... finally ... I'd sniff the envelope to see if it was sealed with Goat spit, just in case, mind you.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Me: Bill? What are you doing??

Bill E. Goat: Nothing. Go away.

Me: Don’t be rude. What, exactly, are you doing?

Bill: Hiding my stash.

Me: ???

Bill: Of Green sticky notes … I have uses for them.

Me: Such as? … And were you using my desk again.

Bill: Only when you’re asleep … I use them to remind people of things. I leave notes on them. It’s what they’re for … to leave notes.

Me: … and to whom have you sent these notes ….

Bill: You don’t send them. You stick them. I stick them on things. Phone booths. Convenience store doors. Car doors. I remind people of life’s essentials. Such as … umm Goats are brilliant. Goats care cute. I leave my number in case a really hot French Alpine sees it. …. Umm and I stuck one on my novel just to remind someone they should read it.

Me: I read it, Bill …

Bill: Not you! Janet. She’ll think she asked for it. Then she’ll read it. She’ll fall in love with my writing …

Me: That’s not honest, Bill. … And did you include an SASE? With a return address?

Bill: I’m sassy enough. I don’t need an address!