re: Should I Skip the Agent’s General Submission Address?

posted 1/13/16

Dear Editor…

I want to query an agent I queried two years ago, and I’m not sure who to address it to. She liked that first manuscript and asked if I could wait a few weeks to meet with her to revise it. In the end, we did not meet and she rejected it because she didn’t think she could sell it. Now I want to query her on a new project. However, the agency’s guidelines are to send queries to their general email. Since she probably remembers me (my name is unusual), can I send it to her email and the agency’s general email, and address the query to her? Or should I just send a general query so it doesn’t look like I am purposely not following their guidelines?

Thank you!
Anonymous

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Dear Anonymous…

This is about more than showing you will or can follow directions. For many agencies, a separate submissions inbox is a strategic workflow tool. By separating non-submission business from submissions, agents can quickly respond to things like editors’ offers over here, while they manage submissions over there. Often agentsĀ  instruct authors of even expected submissions to use the general address, telling them to note in the subject line the referral or other exceptional status of the submission. So, submit the new project through the agency’s general submission address per posted guidelines. Within the query, write to the specific editor and lay out your history together. If someone else in the agency sorts the submissions, they’ll get it to the correct agent.

Happy writing!
The Editor

P.S. For more on this topic, read Submissions
posted by: The Editor
under: Submissions
Comments to "re: Should I Skip the Agent’s General Submission Address?" | Add a Comment
    1. Bill wrote (on 01/13/16 at 2:47 am) :

      Knowing these etiquette issues is huge. Especially as I embark again on queries. I find agent email etiquette much more stringent than say your average company. I guess it’s a volume issue. I totally get the need to follow their guidelines. Even if I might wish for a short cut!!

      [Reply]

    2. Stephanie wrote (on 01/13/16 at 6:00 am) :

      I had the same situation happen. I sent the second query to the gen email, but addressed specifically to the agent, reminding him that he did indeed like and want an r&r of my previous work titled XYZ. He remembered me and sent a personal note.

      [Reply]

      The Editor replied (on 01/13/16 at 9:52 am) :

      Thank you for sharing your experience with this same scenario.

      [Reply]

    3. Holly wrote (on 01/15/16 at 7:32 am) :

      I had the same question-and asked it during the agent panel at YALL Fest 2015. Jo Volpe of New Leaf Literary and Sarah Burnes of Gernet said if you got a personal response from an agent in the past and they requested you send material to them again ABSOLUTELY use the personal email and not the general submissions. Hope this helps.

      [Reply]

      The Editor replied (on 01/15/16 at 8:49 am) :

      That does help. Thank you for sharing it, Holly. Yes, definitely send direct if there was a request. It gets murky when there isn’t a direct request but still a connection. And since submission workflow is distinct to each agent, well, it’s easy to see where the questions kick in.

      [Reply]

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