Do Agents Steal Your Stamps? (The SASE Conundrum)

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Q: Do agents steam off the stamps on self-addressed, stamped envelopes (SASEs) and resell them?! The agents demand pages, SASEs, that sort of‑thing, but—and I know this sounds cynical—many of my queries disappear.
—Don B.

A:Of course agents don’t steam off stamps from SASEs and resell them. They steam them off and use the stamps themselves!

Actually, they don’t steam off anything (as far as I know), and really do try to respond (unless, of course, they state specifically in their writing guidelines that they only accept e-querys and don't respond to snail mail). To gain further insight on the matter, I called Donald Maass, president of Donald Maass Literary Agency. He represents more than 100 fiction writers.

“If you’re certain that you wrote to the agent’s current address and the SASE had sufficient postage, then you can conclude one of three things,” he says. “Either the agent is rude, the agent is busy or the agent just isn’t interested.”

Now, I doubt that agents try to ignore you, as their profession and income are based on finding great writing. With the mounds of submissions they continually receive, they probably don’t have time to respond to everyone (though that would be nice).

Brian A. Klems is the online managing editor of Writer’s Digest magazine.

Have a question for me? Feel free to post it in the comments section below or e-mail me at with “Q&Q” in the subject line.

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