Monday, June 16, 2014

pay f/ing attention!

Any guess what this is?

It arrived at the top of a query today.
Followed by the querier's address.
Followed by something that said Chapter 2.
Later there was a query, and then something that said chapter 1.

In other words, mail merge gone wild.

You can be the best writer in the world here but my initial impression is you're a sloppy one.  Am I looking for that in a client? No I am NOT.  I am looking for writers who sweat the details. Who are meticulous. Who would no more send an email like this than cut off their left ear.  In other words, writers who TEST their mail merge queries several times before sending for real to their target audience.

HOW you query says a lot about you as a writer.

Pay attention.
I am.


Anonymous said...

That just looks weird. And like spam. I would have File 13'ed it...immediately.

Colin Smith said...

Mail merge a query? Hmmmm. Would this same writer complain about form rejections? I hope not.

Using mail merge for a query is not something I would do. Sure, it might take longer to manually copy-and-paste the body of the query, type the agent's name, personalize the query as best as possible, type the subject line, proof-read a few times, then finally copy-and-paste the submission address to the "To" line (doing this last prevents accidentally sending too soon)... but isn't the time and effort worth it to be sure it's correct?

Heck, even doing all this I've managed to misspell an Agent's name, so I wouldn't trust querying to any automated process. :)

Ellipsis Flood said...

I've seen too many computer-generated scewups to trust a program with something as important as a query.

Artemis Grey said...

Okay, I've never even HEARD of 'mail merge' but it just SOUNDS like a bad idea. The same way drive-through dental surgery sounds like a bad idea. Never mind not doing multiple tests before actually sending it to agents.

But maybe that's just me.

Mary Ellen Quigley said...

Wow! This person wasn't very smart.

Rachel Menard said...

Who even does mail merge queries? Yes, I copy and paste certain elements, but each query is customized to a particular agent that I have researched more than once (almost to the point of being creepy.)

Dan McFadden said...

Now what do you have against the Phillies???

InkStainedWench said...


I'm hoping to delurk here. Haven't managed to jump through the verification/moderation hoops.

Adele said...

From the ESPN banner, I infer they're using an Internet-based mail merge like maybe gmail? Oh my. Use something you can control completely.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

1 of 944, am I supposed to be impressed?
I've heard of 'mail merge' but if I tried that on my poor pitiful computer it would spurt sparks and die.
Copy, paste and send has gotten me in enough trouble on my own, I don't need some cyber-geek-thing to dig my hole any deeper than the six feet I live with.

french sojourn said...

I can see why you're annoyed. I clicked on the link, like three or four times, and the story never appeared.

I presume it was a lifetime hit mark. Good for Rollins.

cheers Hank.

Anonymous said...

Plus, one should not send out enough queries at once to need a mail merge. Send five or ten, see what the response is. If you're not getting nibbles, revise.

DLM said...

@Rachel Menard - yes!

@Carolynnwith2Ns, "Spurt sparks and die" just sounds so much like the teenage insults I used in the 80s. Can I steal that? :)

@InkStainedWench, it looks like you made it! :)

In closing: "Mail merge! For when you want to show how little you care!" *Headdesk* The easy way out is certainly the way OUT - of a good agent's inbox. Cheez-its.

Susan Bonifant said...

If people like this are factored into the mix of writers who can't find an agent or become traditionally published, I'm feeling a little better about those stats.

Ilex said...

Sheesh. I "hand-crafted" every single one of my queries, and still managed to make a few mistakes ("Dear Agent" anyone? Oops). I would never have had the nerve to try anything like a mail merge.

On top of which, a merge sure doesn't say "I have carefully read your submission guidelines and followed them to the letter, and considered whether and how my book might fit into your list." I really feel for all you agents and interns weeding through "submissions" like this.