Concerning Agents and E-Mail Attachments

Q. I have been using Guide to Literary Agents since 2006 as a resource to find an agent for my husband’s fiction novel.  The one thing that confuses me is the submission area that most of the time will show query, synopsis, 3 chapters, bio … and so forth. My question is for those who accept e-mail queries do they actually want all of that sent e-mail or is the protocol on most to send the query first and if they are interested then the rest would be requested or if all are listed, that is what the agent wants to see with the query?
        – Sharon

A. Good question.
       Usually, it’s a no-no to send attachments to agents.  However, if an agent specifically requests a synopsis and three sample chapters upfront, and they take e-queries, then you can probably send an attachment after all. 
       Agents should tell you right off the bat if they just want to see the query first, or if they want the query plus more.  If they do want more than just the query, that applies to both snail mail and e-mail contact.
       Now, if you have to send stuff over e-mail, you could always just play it safe and paste it in the e-mail itself, in addition to attaching it.  First what you should do is combine the requested material in ONE attachment.  So when the agent opens your attachment, at the top of the first page, very quickly, it would say, “Synopsis: Pages 1-2.  Sample chapters: Pages 3-27.  Author Bio: Page 28.”  Then the agent could see everything in one big Word doc by reading and skipping around.  If you are pasting the information in the e-mail body, as well, it would look like this:

————————–


TO: agent@agency.com
CC:
BCC: sharon@email.com
SUBJECT: Query: “Novel”

Ms. Agent, because I’m not sure you review e-mail attachments, I have pasted my synopsis and three sample chapters below the query in this e-mail, in addition to including the material in an attached Word document. 

Feb. 18, 2009


Dear Ms. Agent:

[Query]
[Query]


[Query]

[Query]


[Query]

[Query]


Sincerely,

Chuck Sambuchino

[Contact info]

NOVEL: SYNOPSIS


[Synopsis]
[Synopsis]
[Synopsis]
[Synopsis]
[Synopsis]
[Synopsis]

[Synopsis]

[Synopsis]


NOVEL: CHAPTER 1


[Pasted novel]
[Pasted novel]
[Pasted novel]
[Pasted novel]
[Pasted novel]

… and so forth …

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