Should I include my manuscript with the e-mail nevertheless?
All literary agents say the same thing: WE DO NOT WANT TO SEE YOUR MANUSCRIPT (OR DRAFT).
Why? Because they have no time to read your manuscript. They want a sales sheet!
The correct terminology would be a query followed by a proposal. They whole deal behind "we do not accept unsolicited proposals" is because they want to see a query first. Basically, a one page version of the combination of your proposal plus your manuscript. They want to be able to make an accept/reject decision in seconds.
Is there a way to throw a wrench in this crazy process? Maybe by attaching your manuscript (or draft) to the e-mail? Unfortunately, the answer is "No". You will just anger the gatekeepers if you send someone an e-mail with a large attachment. Multiply the size of your attachment by a thousand. That would be the size of incoming e-mail to a typical agency, in a week.
I suggest the following. The traditional process (query first, wait for response, proposal next, wait for response, get a rejection) is crazy. You have very little chance. I propose the following:
1) First, read submission guidelines on the website of that agency.
2) Split your e-mail into three or four parts. The first part will be a personal statement (...per your submission guidelines, I am attaching a query and a proposal for my book...). Put in a few blank lines, and follow with your query. Place in more blank lines, and paste in your proposal. If submission guidelines as for a sample, then paste that sample at the bottom of your email (yes, the e-mail will be very long. Don't worry about that -- you are following the rules).
3) Attach the query, the proposal, and the sample chapter as three separate files to your e-mail, even if submission guidelines tell you to include this information in the body of your e-mail. Note: if the guidelines say "no attachments allowed" then you should not follow this advice.
4) Under no circumstances attach the full copy of your manuscript to the e-mail address. Besides the large size, the likely rejection, and so on, you are entrusting your work to someone you have not even met.
5) There is only way to bend the rule on attaching the manuscript. You can put a link to your manuscript (stored online) in the e-mail with a statement such as "Should you wish to be able to review my full proposal, it is available online at the following link...".
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Page last modified 11-Apr-12 23:22:54 EDT
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