Published March 23, 2014 by swankivy

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Word to the wise:


Seriously, agents are not going to make a decision between signing you and not signing you if your paper is colorful or if you sent them chocolate. They will probably be more likely to think your writing is poor if you are resorting to attention-getting techniques that have nothing to do with your ability to entertain or inform.

Most agents are taking their queries through e-mail nowadays, and some take them exclusively that way. If you decorate your e-mail message with silly backgrounds or animated GIFs, you will look like you don’t understand that this is a professional proposition to work together. You will also be drawing attention away from your ideas/your writing and toward whatever non-standard fonts or goofy headers you picked, and they do NOT make the agent think you are clever. And if you send a paper query, yes, there’s a chance your paper will get seen sooner if there is something unusual about its presentation, but getting them to look at it isn’t the problem here. It’s getting them to like it.

And yeah, they’ll probably remember you. But not in a good way.

(And yes, listen to people who have actually done the thing you’re trying to do. I can’t even tell you how much bogus advice I’ve gotten from people who think their comments are innovative or revolutionary. No, man. Sit down and let people who know this business tell other people how to get what we have.)


5 comments on “Networking

  • So no glitter pens or scented paper? Dammit, I guess I’ll have to resort to writing something good if I want to get published?

    (seriously, though, are there people who actually think that doing these things will get them more attention? If so, that is hilarious!)

    • They’re usually people who think there’s a shortcut and that “getting noticed” is the biiiig secret. I ran into a guy like that once. He gleefully explained that he’d made his business card larger than normal and difficult to read because “It won’t fit in their Rolodex, so they’ll have to keep it somewhere special and they’ll keep running into it every time they look through their contacts. Even if they HATE you, they’ll REMEMBER you.”

      ::shakes head sadly::

      • If I got something like that I’d probably just throw it away immediately, like when someone hands me a religious pamphlet. I imagine most people would do the same.

        I wonder what leads people to believe that “getting noticed” is the secret to success? I guess the mindset that “no publicity is bad” thing, but really, I’ve only seen that work with things that become like, viral news hits or something. Doesn’t work so well on an individual level.

  • I don’t even get what the thought process is >_> You can’t *enchant* an agent into liking your work. It’d just be like, “well this has no voice, intriguing plot, or even passable writing…but I DID get peanut butter chocolate so WHY NOT?”

    • I think a lot of these people believe all the form rejections and lack of response can’t possibly mean the agents judged the project unworthy; no, of course not; they must not have READ it! I worked with a guy like this one time who insisted that the client must not have read our proposal at all because they did not pick our company, and he went on for quite a while about how “next time” we were going to have to make it more eye-catching and decorate it with more graphics. Not even kidding.

      So they believe the “secret” to getting an agent’s interest is related to getting them to read the letter. Of course once they give it a CHANCE, they’ll inevitably love it!


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