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Mail Service Options - Fed Ex or US Post your query?

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Old 06-03-2009, 09:12 AM
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Icon1 Mail Service Options - Fed Ex or US Post your query?


Hello everyone!
I have noticed it seems that for many of the "rules" in the publishing industry, somewhere along the lines there is a contradicting example. So I have a question for all you agent savvy posters!

I have mostly read that it is always best to use regular mail to send a query to an agent (we are talking initial contact, and that is unless they specify otherwise). I have seen comments that using a service that requires a signature may annoy the agent and become a bad mark against you, even before they open your query.

However someone suggested reading How to Write a Great Query Letter by Noah Lukeman (free download on Amazon) and on page 59 he states:
I hate to advise writers to spend money, but this is one area where I do advise it. If you can afford it, query via Fed-Ex. First of all, the extra expense will make you think twice before sending your query to a particular agent, and will force you to do thorough research. Secondly,and more importantly, it will make your query stand out from the crowd. Agents receive dozens of queries via regular mail each day. When most agents receive mail, they look at the return address; if itís a name they donít recognize, it goes on a pile, where it can sit for weeks or months without even being opened. Agents receive only a few Fed-Exes a day, though. Fed-Exes have to be signed for, they have to be paid attention to, and are usually opened immediately.When an agent discovers itís only a query letter he might get annoyed, might throw it onto a pile,and it might wait with the others.

But then again, it might just get read right away. An agent just might take it more
seriously, as he sees that youíve gone to great effort and expense. The fact that it comes via Fed-Ex might give him the impression that itís timely, and the fact that you offer such a meticulous presentation might suggest your manuscript will also have meticulous presentation and effort.And because Fed-Exes are so expensive, it might make the agent think that heís one of few people receiving the query, which might make him want to take it more seriously. It just might give you an advantage. You have nothing to lose. The worst case scenario is that it gets thrown onto a pile with the others, where it would end up otherwise anyway.
I am curious what everyone's opinion is on this? Do you send via Fed-Ex as Mr. Lukeman recommends? Or are we better off to stick with good old regular non-signature post? I'm nearing the actual submission stages so this has been on my mind. I don't want to damn myself before my query is even opened but I would like to take every action I can to give my work the best possible chance!

I have found the rest of his article tremendously helpful. So I am curious if this is good advice or bad?

Also my apologies in advance if this issue is discussed in depth elsewhere on these forums. I did not see any posts about it so if there is something already started please let me know!

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Old 06-03-2009, 01:31 PM
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Lukeman has written a lot of books about how to get your novel published... but never had a novel published. A lot of advice like this is, I suspect, theoretical.

An agent may open your fedexed query first... and may think "Oh, just another query..." and toss it on the heap. Method of delivery doesn't really make any difference in my opinion; if it arrives by gold-plated helicopter, if the query letter isn't tip-top you'll still get rejected. And either way it's a problem that's slowly going away as more agents take email queries.
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Old 06-03-2009, 03:33 PM
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You make an excellent point, Mike C. I think I will have to further research the information, and probably other information I obtained from his piece. If any of you more experienced, published authors out there have read the e-document on Amazon I referenced I would love to hear your take on the accuracy of the advice given.

If it makes no difference I guess I could save myself some money and just do it the old fashioned way. I wish they all accepted email queries, I'm an email person lol.
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