I’m debating…

March 10th, 2009 • Kate

…A no-snail-mail queries policy here at kt literary. As it stands right now, I do get the bulk of my queries from email, but every once in a while, I notice the pile of unread hard copy queries to go through, that unfortunately sit and sit and sit. My promise of a response within two weeks applies only to email queries, and with those coming fast and furious, it’s only when I’m caught up on them that I can spare the time to look at a snail-mail query. And I can think about the last year’s worth of those submissions, and realize that not a single one has led to a partial request.
My submissions page here on the site is pretty clear about my preference for email (a direct quote: “If you have a luddite’s aversion to email, perhaps we’re not the best agency for you.”), so I’m usually only talking about a dozen or so queries a month. But still… think of the trees. And the stamps. And the time.
Given how my business is run, do I want clients who either can’t use email, or chose not to out of some perverse stubbornness? Your thoughts?

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14 Responses to “I’m debating…”

  1. Stephanie Perkins Says:

    Do it. Your life will be easier, and your office will be cleaner.
    It's perfectly reasonable — and logical — for you to want clients comfortable with using the same technology you use.

  2. Jamie Harrington Says:

    I already commented on FB and twitter, but I feel strongly about this… so here I go again haha!
    I think that it's silly to waste trees and just think about that letter's journey… driven to the post office, sorted through by employees who are in buildings filled with electricity, driven out to your business, a postman sitting there with the car running while he/she sorts through the mail… all for a letter someone could have just shot over the internet! So if they have said aversion… and they want you to rep them… then maybe they should learn how to use the email… seriously… my grandma uses email… these people should be fine!

  3. Julia Karr Says:

    I say go for it, too. When I was querying agents I looked specifically for those who took email queries. (I, for one, love instant gratification – and it's a whole lot closer to instant via email.)

  4. Kerry Blaisdell Says:

    Interesting question. On the other side of the coin, it never fails to surprise me when an agent/agency either does not accept e-queries, or (gasp!) doesn't even have a website or blog. I've heard from published authors at these agencies that their agents can and do communicate electronically with clients, editors, etc. But still, to me, if in this day and age you don't have a web presence, you're not the agency for me.
    I say GO FOR IT. Really – it's time to catch up, people. This is the digital age, and one way or another, we all need to get with the program!

  5. Shannon Morgan Says:

    I agree with email only. Doesn't Kristin Nelson have the same policy? You could check in with her about what effect that policy had for her office.

  6. Kate Says:

    Thanks, all! Yes, Shannon, Kristin has the same policy — though I also know agents who ONLY accept queries by mail.
    I'm definitely leaning towards email only — for all the reasons stated above.

  7. HeatherP Says:

    I actively seek out green agent offices. I just think it's the responsible way to go.
    And I think the same way you do… if my agent is going to require that everything is sent through the mail, is he really the agent for me?

  8. Amy Says:

    Like I said on Facebook, I firmly agree to move forward with email only. It's environmentally sounder, it's clearly easier for you, and it puts something else in place to ensure you will be taking on clients (and they an agent) who are on the same boat there.
    I only queried agents who took email queries (though the plan was that if I worked through all of them to hit the snail mailers) not only because it was faster and easier, but because I truly wasn't sure I felt comfortable working with someone who wasn't embracing (not even very) new technology.

  9. dust Says:

    Question – if you hit someone who has to have someone else e-mail for them due to complete Luddism or whatever, what then?

  10. jeanoram Says:

    Email is my friend. It could be because I don't live in the US and my post office doesn't understand the fact that I need to be able to send something back home from somewhere else. Oh the headaches of SASE!

  11. Jenifer Says:

    I'm a bit late to the commenting party here, but I'll cast my vote for going only with e-queries, too.
    Save the trees, and yourself the headaches.

  12. chocolateinspir Says:

    I love email. It's quick (I too live overseas) and saves paper. I can imagine your office must be less cluttered too.

  13. Nixy Valentine Says:

    Definitely go for the email only! It's hard to fathom that anyone wouldn't have access to email these days.

  14. davehill47 Says:

    Well, if you're hurting for submissions, constraining the options isn't a good idea. But that doesn't sound like it's the case, so I'd say do what works best for *you*. I really don't think you'll lose much, if any, business.