Friday, September 28, 2007

It's time for a filter change!!

If you’re not getting answer on your e-mail queries from agents, I might know the reason. If in doubt, you can always e-mail to check on the status of your query. However, if you don’t fix the problem first. . .

Lately there are loads of query responses not reaching the intended writer because they are being blocked by active spam filters through AOL, Hotmail or the many mail programs out there that utilize the spam protection built into them. Therefore, if you’re going to send out email queries to agents and you want an answer back, please either use an alternative email address for returns (one without a spam filter) or put the agent’s name in your address book (you can remove these later).

I would advise the latter because most agents, myself included, hit the Return button when either requesting or rejecting.

One last tip: If you query via email, ask a question via email—don’t telephone the agent. Most agents, including myself, will not call you back. Reasons are twofold: the first being that it’s unproductive and second is cost. No, we’re not cheap. Most will call a writer and spend a minute on the phone to tell him or her that they needed to fix their e-mail problem; however, those one minute phone calls usually become 30 minutes while the writer insists on not only talking about every book he/she has ever written, or attempted to write, but also refuses to hang up until he has described all future projects he intends to write. It’s just too much of a temptation to talk. Remember, agents are salespeople and we love to talk. It’s just too easy to get into a long conversation, and that costs us in both time and money.

3 comments:

Michael S. Hugh said...

Reading this, I have to smile. Perhaps, we do want the reject letters to be filtered out (just kidding) - I don't envy you your job - really don't, but from the passion with which you wite about it - I hope that it is lucrative and passionate.

All the best

Michael

Patrick McNamara said...

Unfortunately it's impossible to tell if e-mail is getting filtered or if the agent just hasn't responded. And there are a lot of filters that take the throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater approach by blocking free e-mail providers such as Yahoo and Netzero because a lot of spammers use them.

Erik said...

The only trick I can tell ya is to go through the spam filter (quickly) once in a while. I have over 1200 spams a week now, so I look it over about 3 times a week.

It's pretty easy to scroll over the mail and quickly see what is real spam (especially if it has "viagra", or better yet "viagakra" in the subject).

I can scan 400 or so in just a few minutes, and I usually find one or two that are at least worthy of a closer look.

I don't think there's any substitute for the human eye and brain in the long run.