Re: Re: How many agents are looking?

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Mikala Engel
Participant

keno99 – 2011-02-21 8:54 AM

Jamesaritchie – 2011-02-03 1:30 AM

I use 24 lb 100% cotton paper with matching envelopes, and it just speaks of quality, caring, and investment.    It ain’t cheap, but it’s always been worth it to me.  I even used it back in typewriter days.  I know some editors pulled it out of the stack long before it’s rightful time.

If you wouldn’t mind elaborating . . . a short story gets mailed flat in an 8.5×11 envelopes with a standard SASE enclosed. Is it fair to say that you use the “good stuff” on all of the above? Even the SASE? Does this also hold true for partial and full novel requests? Hundreds of pages? As long as we’re going down this road, if a markets accepts both electronic and snail mail subs, would you opt for snail mail with the high end paper? And do you include a cover letter with your short story subs, whether it’s requested or not?

 

Actually, the only SASE I use these days is a number ten business envelope.  It’s so cheap and easy to print another copy that I rarely want the old copy back in case of rejection.

I send novel manuscripts using the same high cotton paper.  When I first started writing, using a manual typewriter, I bought 100% cotton parchment, and the stuff was incredibly expensive.  But while I send out novel manuscripts this way, I don’t think it’s really necessary.  Just don’t use the cheap WalMart 20lb copy paper.  Use at least 24lb, the brighter the better, and 28lb is also very good.

When a market accepts both snail mail and e-mail, I greatly prefer snail mail for two reasons.  Three reasons, depending on how you look at it.  1.  I think it’s easier to look professional with snail mail.  2.  It’s easier to stand out in a small crowd than in a large crowd, and when a market accepts both, my experience is that at least ninety percent of writers choose the e-mail option.   3.  Going along with reason two, e-mail submissions, especially when the grow huge, all start looking alike, and are just too easy to skim and reject.

As for cover letters, well, my take on a cover letter is that they work, they do good things for you, only if you have something worthwhile to say.  I know from being an editor that when a writer has nothing to say except “Here’s my story”, it means they have no credits, no experience or credentials, worth listing. 

This means I do always include a cover letter, simply because I can always list three good, appropriate, sales.  Whether it should or not, this does make a difference with editors.  Editors certain do buy stories from writers with no credits, or no writer would ever get published, but all things being equal, we have higher expectations when a writer has good credits, and we like having a fan base that comes along with the writer.

Writers with enough of a name, the superstars, go into one pile, writers with good credits go in another pile, and unpublished writers go in a third pile.  The superstars are pretty much guaranteed most of the slots.  The writers with credits get most of the others.  At any really good magazine, the unpublished writers have to be spectacular to make a sale.  They not only have to be as good as the writers in the other two piles, they have to be, in some way, better

This means that once you do have good credits, you need to use them, you need to get yourself into the second pile. and the cover letter is the perfect place to do this.