do and don't

Query subject lines

As in all things, when you query an agency, follow their guidelines.

However, if an agency leaves things open-ended on what to put in the subject line of your query email, here are some rules of thumb:

  • Don’t put your name. I get queries from so many people every day, many with similar names, that I don’t even notice names anymore. The way I’ll identify your query is by the TITLE OF YOUR MANUSCRIPT.
  • Do put your title, for the reasons above.
  • Do put the word “query.” I get foreign rights emails, requested manuscripts, and other correspondence–not to mention spam–in the query inbox all the time. It helps to know upfront what kind of email I’m dealing with.
  • Do put the name of the agent you are querying. I cannot stress that one enough. Many agencies have a single email address where all queries go and an intern like me will sort them out to each of the agents. If you tell me in the subject who the query is for, I don’t have to hunt through the email for their name.

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