from the mixed up files of Agent Manners

Dear Agent Manners,

Aside from remembering to send you a paperclip worthy of your attention, I would like to know another preference you might have regarding submissions.

If someone were to send you an SASE with a small reply slip in it with ‘liked, but not for us’, ‘not interested’, or ‘liked, please send sample pages’ choices, would this be considered a faux pas?

Some query information says to use a reply card for agent-needed expediency. Other information says the agency might have a form rejection letter and will need the SASE. Is it wrong to provide both the envelope and a small paper for the agent to use at her discretion, provided the reply slip is mentioned in the query as a courtesy offering?

Not Wishing to Offend in Texas


Dear Not Wishing:

Many thanks for choosing an appropriate paper-clip. It’s greatly appreciated.

As for your question, in Agent Manners experience, there’s nothing wrong with sending a reply slip, but you may just receive the standard reply regardless. Any agent should be capable of making such a decision on their own (or having a minion trained for such tricks).

What not to send are the ones where declining is not included as a choice (Agent Manners has received these). And also, some people send very clever ones which can be humorous and a smile during query reading is always to be desired. But some people think they are clever, and find humor difficult to master.

If in doubt, follow the instructions on the agent’s website.

5 responses to “from the mixed up files of Agent Manners

  1. I also hate the reply slips that have options that say “Am not interested because _______________” or the ones that say “Am not interested; instead try __________ editor.”

  2. I love Agent Manners:) You’re like the reverse Dear Abby for us idiot writers HA!

  3. You have my thanks, Agent Manners, and I will dutifully follow your advice.
    Will Not Offend in Texas

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