do and don't

Etiquette when an agent requests

When an agent requests a full or a partial (such as first 100 pgs), they give guidelines for how to send. Most want it as an attachment, sometimes listing acceptable file formats. Almost all agents request you re-paste the pitch from your query letter to remind them which book this is. Follow all their guidelines.

There’s also business etiquette.

Don’t forward your original email back with the MS attached. Send a fresh email saying, “Here are the pages for TITLE you requested.” Past the pitch and paste/attach requested materials: pages, synopsis, etc. Don’t give more or less than solicited.

This is a business letter. Be professional. Be patient.

Irrational, entitled behavior sends up red flags. Requesting a manuscript means we’re considering working with you. If you act like someone we don’t want to work with, farewell.

The impetus behind this post came when I requested a manuscript for my agent. The author’s email to her was an unexplained copy-paste forwarding job. When we finally sorted through the mess, she wasn’t interested in working with him anymore.

For the nervous, quadruple-checking authors out there: you’re fine. Your anxiety tells me you read all the rules and edited your letter a thousand times. Care and effort show.


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