Monday, June 16, 2014

Five Things to Look for in Submission Guidelines

When querying, you should read the submission guidelines for each agent carefully. While the basic process is typically the same, some agents do have some preferences on how queries should be sent and what they should include.

1. How?
Some agencies use an online form for queries, so keep an eye out to see if this is the case. If it's not, then check to see how queries should be sent. Most agencies seem to accept e-queries these days, some of them exclusively. However there are still some agents that only accept snail mail. Whichever method you intend to use, make sure you're finding agents that accept it.

2. Agency policy on submitting to multiple agents
There are some agencies that ask for a query to be submitted to only one agent at the agency. Therefore, a no from one is a no from all. Other agencies allow submissions to multiple agents, but not simultaneously. I keep notes on which agencies are "no one, no all" to make sure that I don't accidentally query them twice.

3. Submission emails
Some agencies have one email account for all queries and others have individual accounts for each agent.

4. Special instructions for subject line
I don't see a lot of these, beyond including "query," but they do happen. Some agencies where all queries are going to the same email will ask that you include the name of the agent you're querying. Many agencies ask for "query" to be included, otherwise the email might end up in the spam filter.

5. Extra things to include
Agents will ask for a wide variety of things to be included with the query. Typically sample pages (ranging widely in length) and/or a synopsis. Most agencies I've seen won't accept emails with attachments, but there are some that request sample pages as them.