Thursday, February 26, 2009

Five things not to send to agents

1. Ostrich feathers
I could see these being relevant if the writer was pitching, say, a book about seventy different things that could be made from ostrich feathers. But under any other circumstances, what’s the agent going to do with the feathers?

An exotic dance, maybe?

2. Fruit
Lynn Price of Behler Publications has a story about a writer who included a stamped, empty coconut as a return envelope.

He even included a baggie to protect my letter. Sadly, the poor coconut held a rejection letter. If only his writing had been as clever as his choice of envelopes.

The phrase “the poor coconut” always makes me giggle.

3. Glitter
Nothing with glitter! I can't tell you how humiliating it is to show up at a business lunch and discover you have glitter on your blouse.

Hopefully if that happened, all you’d to do is mention that you were going through the slush pile and the editors would understand.

4. Bribes
Some people try cold hard cash and some use gift cards. Neither one works, which is good – who’d want an agent who could be bribed?

5. Lingerie
And, lastly, do not send lingerie with your query letter. Just don't. Not ever. Even pretty lingerie.

I was just thinking, the lingerie probably wasn’t even in the agent’s size.

Then I realized just how creepy it would be if the lingerie was.

Either way, bad idea.


Anonymous said...

I try to convince myself that all these stories are true. I know they must be true, and so I look furtively among my writing friends, trying to figure out: would any of them do such things?

Jane Smith said...

When I worked full-time as an editor I was once sent a banana. No note, no card, no return address: nothing. It was followed up a week later by a card with a picture of a gorilla on it.

I was also sent author photos on numerous occasions and yep, four or five of them were photos of naked authors. None were particularly my type but one was quite incredibly flexible. Eugh.

Jewel Allen said...

Darn. I was just about to send off a coconut to go with my horror story.

*scratches publicity stunt off list*


Marian Perera said...

Hey Pink,

When I first read the coconut story, it made me think of castaways on a desert island sending off messages in floating coconuts, in lieu of a corked bottle.

Could be a cute way to drum up publicity after the book sells. Before, just a waste of shipping money.

Marian Perera said...

Hi Jane,

I'm still trying to figure out what the message of the banana was. That the book (which you don't seem to have received) is about the care and feeding of large primates?

That it was authored by Koko, maybe?

Just ugh on the naked pictures, too. I can kind of understand the other items, but not that one. Unless whoever's sending them is really into imagining the recipient's reaction, and the submission of work is just a cover-up for that.