Thursday, May 07, 2020

Dear Who?

When an agent requests on their website that all email queries be sent to their assistant, do you then open your letter by greeting the agent...or the assistant? Or both? 

Short answer: you address the agent. She is your intended reader.

Much like you start your letter to Her Majesty the Queen with "Hey Your Majesty" even though her long-suffering Lady in Waiting, Priscilla of the Pen and Papyrus, will be reading it first.

You may wonder why agents have queries sent to their long suffering Assistants.
Mostly it's to weed out the ones that don't need the agent's attention.

The ones where someone hasn't finished their novel and just needs a "quick assessment of whether they're on the right track."

The ones where the comps are Mickey Spillane and Harold Robbins.

The ones who request a reply this week, or they'll just self-publish.

And prioritize the ones that need immediate attention.

Any questions?
(copy my assistant Felix Buttonweezer of course)


E.M. Goldsmith said...

So are most form letter rejections sent by long suffering assistants? Just curious. Thanks.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Hey Felix, how the hell are ya?
Social distancing on Carkoon must be interesting, seeing as you are the only being from which you must distance yourself.
Oh BTW good luck culling through the Queen's queries. I understand that she's really upset because there's a chum shortage. Hang in bud. Fish processing is up and running.

Your friend and former Carkoon detainee,

PS Colin is breaking quarantine and bringing you one of his daughter's famous chocolate cakes. Say hi and save me a piece.

Brenda said...

Dear Felix,
There’s a tip in it for you if ...
Oh never mind, We both know that J is one of those agents who actually read the queries themselves.

Katja said...

When I emailed Harlan Coben, I addressed HIM. Then, right before I wrote bye, I dropped a line to his probable agent. "If it's YOU who's reading this... please could you tell Harlan? Thank you."

I know, Harlan isn't Janet. Or any other high-profile literary person... LOL.

AJ Blythe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AJ Blythe said...

I don't think I've seen that written on an agent's website before, but if I had, I would have had exactly the same question, OP.

I mean, I know many queries are first read by the assistant, but that isn't usually acknowledged on their website.

2Ns, is that why you didn't fight to leave Carkoon? Because that's where you can score some of Colin's first born's baking? Explains everything...

(apologies for the delete - proof read applies to everything, not just ms :p )

Craig F said...

I have been using only one subject line in e-mails. Query manager is different, but that isn't really and e-mail

Query: Mr/Ms. Agent, 97k sci-fi

I think my query has made it past the Dwellers on the Threshold a few times (based on the passage of time). Someday it will land in the right inbox.