Monday, September 4, 2017

Mass Mailing Queries Will Equal Rejections

Simultaneous submissions is a normal practice. In other words, sending one query out at a time is not necessarily the best approach. However, far too many authors are making huge mistakes by how they approach this concept. Sending your story to everyone who is an acquiring editor or agent is not going to get the results you want. Unless, of course, your goal is to go for the record number of rejections.

Before you even start sending out those queries, I cannot scream enough about the importance of doing your research and knowing why your story is being sent to that particular person. Your story does not fit with everyone out there.

Why do I bring this up? I sent out a message on social media at the end of August noting that I was re-opening Greyhaus for submissions Sept. 1st. I also noted that it was important to review what I was looking for, what I want in particular, and more importantly, the things I do not represent. On August 31st, my in box was flooded with submissions. Now here is what was funny about this.

  1. I said not to send anything until Sept. 1.
  2. Every submission, with the exception of one, was a project I do not represent. 
Clearly these people are working on the record for number of rejections.

So, how do you handle simultaneous submissions? The answer is quite easy. Treat each and every query as if this is the only one you are sending out. Review exactly what that person wants and then tailor your letter just for that person.

Every letter needs to be drafted individually, highlighting different things about your project for every editor and agent. As I always tell people, your query is just like a cover letter for a resume. You want to showcase your experience.

I would also add that you cannot just put standard generic phrases in those queries. For example "I am very impressed with the work you do with your clients and would love to have your expertise." Really? Do you even know who those clients are? Why do you think you and your writing would fit with me.

Finally, and this is a really big one. Including everyone in an email is an automatic rejection. Adding, to whom it may concern or dear agent/editor will also get that rejection. 

These are not hoops to jump through and ways we try to trick you. Editors and agents view this as a business and we expect our writers to also view their writing career as a full time job.

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