Tuesday, November 15, 2005

How not to get an agent

Ever wondered why some agents don't like e-queries? Wonder no more. On November 1, Jennifer Jackson posted about the problems with e-queries, including the comment, "Personally, I wouldn't mind them if they weren't so prone to casual mistakes or unprofessional behavior." Examples of unprofessional behavior she cited included "the automatic spray-gun approach," meaning e-mailing every agent in the country all at once, regardless of whether or not they represent your genre. Two weeks later, she got a shining example of "unprofessional behavior," which she relates at her blog:

"I received an e-query for a type of book that I don't represent, and that is worlds away from anything I might represent. It was copied to 11 1/2 pages (printed because I was curious) of other agents and editors. Nearly 600 different people. Two hours later that same email began arriving every 15 minutes."

Let's assume that the repetitive messages were a glitch, rather than deliberate. Even so, it amazes me that anyone would take the time to hunt down 600 different agent email addresses, and then not do enough research to find out that s/he shouldn't cc a query to all of them at once, or take the time to discover which of them represents the genre he or she writes. Truly mind boggling.

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