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  1. #1
    Simon Andrews
    Guest

    Querying the Submissions Dept.

    Hi,

    For some of the agencies I want to query, their submission guidelines ask to send the query to Submisssions Department (not to a particular agent). In that case, do I write a generic "Dear Agent:" in my query letter? Is that acceptable, or how else do I get around it?

    Also, in case I do know the names of some agents in that agency is it ok to write specifically to her and thus ignore the submission guideline?

    - Simon.



  2. #2
    Savannah Thorne
    Guest

    Re: Querying the Submissions Dept.

    I would advise against it. Are these submissions guidelines on the websites, or in a reference book? Either way, do some double-checking first. It always seems more polite and better researched/prepared to say Dear So and So, and know whom you're talking to (and don't presume Mr. or Ms. on a gender-neutral name unless you know for sure). A little research can go a long way on this; a personal salutation is more likely to get straight to the person whom you addressed. Good luck!

  3. #3
    Savannah Thorne
    Guest

    Re: Querying the Submissions Dept.

    (By "I advise against it" I was referring to your first paragraph, not your second).

  4. #4
    Keith .
    Guest

    Re: Querying the Submissions Dept.

    JMO, I would never do that(again). While Q'ing my first ms, I did this -I think with WM Morris-as per guidelines and received a form rejection from a name I hadn't seen on the agent list. Live and learn. After doing the research I should have done earlier, I called to confirm the mailing addy and the switchboard was answered by ...the guy who had rejected me! He told me he judges the untargeted queries and logs them into their database. I had to change the title when sending to a specific agent. Still got turned down, but this time by the targeted agent's assistant.
    km

  5. #5
    June Casagrande
    Guest

    Re: Querying the Submissions Dept.

    I think you're worrying too much.

    A simple "Dear Madam/Sir," "Dear Agent," "Dear ABC Agency Representative," even "Dear Mr. Morris."

    I used to work at a newspaper where people would send us press materials and some would stress so much over the question of who to address it to. But at the end of the day there were so many in a stack on our desks we didn't care. Stuff addressed to people who no longer worked there, stuff that used our wrong titles, stuff with "Dear Sir" ultimately received by a woman - none of it harmed a sender's chances of getting press.

    The odds your recipient will be persnickety about that are very slim.

  6. #6
    Keith .
    Guest

    Re: Querying the Submissions Dept.

    I respectfully disagree. Simon, I strongly suggest you read agent blogs, articles by agents in Writer's Market, etc. Many agents have written books on querying. Go to the library and scan through them. I don't recall ever seeing one that didn't list a generic salutation as a pet peeve. They want to know you've targeted them for a specific reason-not shotgunned. Mention a similar book they've rep'd. Compare yours to something he/she lists as a favorite on their blog. Assistants look for reasons to reject quickly. They have to whittle down the 100 or so they receive per week. Don't give them a reason to toss it into file 13 before they've even seen the hook. My opinion.
    km

  7. #7
    June Casagrande
    Guest

    Re: Querying the Submissions Dept.

    I agree wholeheartedly that submissions should be tailored to agents as much as possible whenever possible. But when the agency specifically asks writers to send to "Submissions Department," the question of which word to put after "Dear" becomes a lot less pertinent.

  8. #8
    Savannah Thorne
    Guest

    Re: Querying the Submissions Dept.

    I must disagree with June, and wholeheartedly back up what Keith said. If you do your research, Simon, you will see exactly what Keith is describing: many of the agents disregard generic letters, while others will actually find them offensive. I believe "submit to submissions department" may possibly be, in some cases, a way for them to separate the wheat from the chaff (eg. those who read about them somewhere slushy vs. those who know whom they're addressing). It shouldn't be hard to find, though. The AAR website, Jeff Herman's guide, and some other listings should make it clear whom to address.

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