Thursday, April 22, 2010

If You Attach, Go Phish.

In this morning’s inbox messages I have already received five queries with something attached to them. I call what’s attached “something” because I have no idea what was attached as I deleted these queries and their attachments unopened.

The only reason I even mention unsolicited attachments in this post is that it still amazes me, with all the information about how Trojan Horses and other computer virus forms that infect computers, writers still insist on sending unsolicited attachments to their query letters.

Of course, those who do insist on attaching things actually make it very easy on us. They make our task easy because all we do is delete the query, unanswered. Some might wonder why we can’t just send a canned response. What would it hurt to answer and let these folks know that they shouldn’t do this? Wish it were that simple. However, those who would infect computers with malicious thingies also hope that human nature will drive us to do exactly that. That’s exactly the natural, kind and helpful, response they want. They expect a response. They expect the innocent computer user to try to educate others by answering these messages so they can see if addresses are active. This process is called phishing. Phishers (pronounced fishers) mass mail addresses, some with attachments, hoping to get returns so they can do other naughtiness to those who take their bait.

Some who phish do so to send out spam, but others also phish to initiate virus attacks. As has been said, venturing out on the internet is not for those who aren’t aware of the dangers that lurk beneath the surface. So next time, as a writer looking for representation, you are tempted to save time by attaching your hard work to your query letter, consider what you send will be treated as spam mail and quickly deleted by its receiving agent or his or her assistant. Also consider that not only will you never know whether your query reached its destination, but you’ve wasted valuable time in and of itself, not only in the sending but also in the waiting for a response that more likely will never come.

Ever agent I’ve spoken with and whose blogs I read regularly treat unsolicited attachments the same way we treat them—as spam. They delete unopened. So if you don’t mind screwing up your querying process, please continue sending unsolicited attachments.

Disclaimer: If you put your mind to it, you will find spelling and grammar errors here, so please do us a favor and read for content and not for unintended errors.


Scott Jensen said...

The only time you should send an attachment is when the receiver requests it. I send attachments all the time but only after I has asked if I should and the receiver has said to send it.

Sending attachments unsolicited is the mark of someone VERY new to the Internet. The first words of advice anyone gets when getting onto the Internet is never open unsolicited attachments received via email. Period. Second word of advice is never send on unsolicited attachments. Robert, these unsolicited-attachment senders are likely old people that very rarely use the Internet so they don't understand acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

Chazley Dotson said...

Every agent I've ever heard of agrees with you on the subject. It's so ingrained into my brain at this point that I get nervous attaching requested partials to emails, even when the agent has specifically requested that it be sent as an attachment. I'm always sure that they're going to see the little paper clip and delete it, and I'm never going to hear anything from them again!

Kimara Blessing said...

Ur genius I have no idea what you solicit but I laughed for the second time in 3 months and am very impressed. You also are very gifted!
Peace Be Unto You,

Kimara Blessings