QueryTracker Blog

Helping Authors Find Literary Agents

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Tips To Make Sure You Receive Agent Replies

In the past I’ve talked about ways to ensure your email queries actually arrive in an agent’s inbox. [Don’t be Spam

But recently I saw a post from an agent where she described loving a query and requesting a manuscript, only to be disappointed when her request bounced back as undeliverable. Frustrating for the agent, for sure. But what a huge loss for the author. And I know you don’t want this to happen to you, so here are a few things you can do to avoid it.

When querying through a form, make sure you enter your email address correctly. Double and triple check. Maybe even read each letter out loud one at a time. I know this may sound extreme, but it really is that important. One little typo and you’ll never hear from that agent. I’ve seen it too many times.

If you’re using a new email account, make sure it works. If you have multiple accounts, send yourself an email and make sure it arrives. 

Check your spam folder regularly. Especially if you have your email client set up to automatically delete spam after a certain period of time.

Don’t use an email address provided by your internet provider. This one may sound odd, but the problem with these is that they tend to change. What if you are using a @verison.net address, but then change your carrier to AT&T? Or switch from Charter to Optimum for cable. Suddenly the reply-to address you used for all your queries no longer exists. A lot can change with your carriers in the many, many, many months it can sometimes take for an agent to respond. So do yourself a favor and sign up for a more permanent email address, such as gmail, yahoo mail, or any of the other popular solutions.

Don’t use spam blocking services such as Boxbe. If you’re not familiar with it, these services will require anyone sending you an email to first verify they are legitimate and not spammers. The way it works is the service sends an automated verification email back to the sender. Sure, all they have to do is click a link in the email to be verified. But what if hundreds of people are using this service and the agent doesn’t have time to verify them all? Or, what if the verification email lands in the agent’s inbox like another query, and therefore sits there for another few months while she works her way through her inbox? Your email will not be delivered to you until the agent clicks that verification. Don’t take the chance. If you get a lot of spam and want to avoid it, create a special email account just for queries. If you limit its use to just queries, you won’t get much spam at all.

Another thing I see way too often is authors intentionally marking an email from an agent as spam. Maybe they’re upset about being rejected and this gives them a little satisfaction. But don’t do it. At the very least, it could mean that any other emails you receive from that agency will go to your spam folder. But that isn’t the worst case. Many email sending services have a policy that if you mark something as spam, they will not allow that sender to ever email you again. It doesn’t even go out, so it doesn’t go to your spam folder. It just never sends. So, no matter how upset you get with an agent, don’t mark their email as spam.

I hope these tips will ensure you hear from an agent when the good news comes.

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