Friday, June 02, 2006

Q & A 30 Reason for querying agent?

You took out the part of the letter where I said why I chose this particular agent. Is this a suggestion that we shouldn't be including such things? I was under the impression that it was important that they didn't just think you hauled them out of a list of agents. No? Yes?

You're referring to your opening sentence:

After reading through your site, and having enjoyed the books by your author Joe Blow, I believe that my first novel, Life, Love, and a Polar Bear Tattoo, would fit in nicely with your list.

1. That you enjoy Blow certainly doesn't indicate that Blow's agent is right for you.

2. Your opinion of whether your first novel is right for an agent's list is irrelevant.

3. You did haul them out of a list of agents.

4. You never heard of Joe Blow until you saw his name on the agent's website, and even if that's not true, the agent thinks it is.

5. You're sending the same query letter to several other agents, and changing the name Joe Blow to John Grisham or whatever, and even if you aren't, the agent thinks you are.

I don't see much point in telling an agent why you're targeting him unless you were referred by someone. Then again, maybe you should be asking an agent instead of an editor. Evil Editor doesn't need to be told why you're submitting to him; it's because he's the only editor who handles books about Norwegian lemon farms.


Anonymous said...

Some agents do mention on their websites that they want to know why you've chosen them...I only put something there if I've met them in person -- and only then if I'm fairly certain I didn't totally embarrass myself when I did meet them!

Anonymous said...

I believe one should also leave off "I've chosen you as all the agents I really wanted have already passed. I'm pretty much down to the bottom of the list. If you don't take me on I shall hurl myself onto a rusty fountain pen in despair."

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the esteemed Evil Editor on this point. Even though it's a form letter, filling the blanks correctly requires a bit of research, and willingness to do a bit of research is hardly a negative. Perhaps it should go in the closing, rather than opening, paragraph, to mitigate the sycophantic element, but I don't see anything wrong wih personalising a query.

none said...

Oh botheration, mine's set on an orange farm. Back to the wordprocessor.

Brenda said...

Gah - more conflicting advice. Is it any wonder we're such a mess?

Anonymous said...


haha, first time I read your comment, I thought you said "met them in prison." Which, is suppose, would be a pretty big in.

And thank dog, now I know where to send my novel. I'll just have to change all references of Sweden to Norway, and I'm all set to go.