Tuesday, May 22, 2012

365 Days of the Query: Be a Squeaky Wheel, But...

While querying, I've always tried to err on the side of courtesy, mostly because agents tend to get bombarded--and I'm sure the last thing they want is more people banging on their door (or email inbox). And, thanks to Janet Reid, I have one more example of how not to get an agent's attention.

However, there is danger in being too much of a quiet mouse--bending over backwards until you get trampled (much like the mosh pit of the Rammstein concert I attended last Friday). So there's got to be a balance between the two.

One of the biggest lessons I took away from Desert Dreams is the importance of being bold; not just in my writing but in marketing myself as a writer. I'm pretty good about sending out email correspondence, but if I don't get a response I usually give up.

But there's no shame in sending a friendly reminder if you haven't heard from someone in a while. Don't be afraid to be a squeaky wheel.

Just don't get to the point where the squeaky noise annoys the recipient. The last thing you want is a potential author or agent contact wincing when they see your name in their inbox.

And this doesn't just have to do with email correspondence--leaving a friendly post on an agent or author blog (one that doesn't go out of its way to market your book) is also encouraged.

Because essentially, the main objective is to start a conversation. Conversations are give-and-take--two-sided. If your correspondence is a monologue on your side, it may be time to readjust your strategy.

 So go ahead and see where those darts land. But also know when to stop throwing them.

Question for all: Has being a squeaky wheel paid off for you? If so, how?


Angelica R. Jackson said...

Things can go awry with emails, that's for sure. One agent, I first sent her a query and got no response. Sent it again and she was glad I did; she ended up requesting a partial and then called me to talk about some revisions for an R&R. Sent those in and contacted her about 3 times but never heard from her. Then she came to our regional conference and I went up to introduce myself.

At that point, I was convinced she wasn't interested and intended just to thank her in person for her help walking me through the issues with the earlier draft of my novel--but she immediately said, "Oh, you never got back to me!" Apparently they were still having email issues, and emails both directions weren't reaching us.

So if I hadn't stepped up to introduce myself, she would have written me off as a writer who doesn't come through with revisions. Very glad I followed up!

The Writer Librarian said...

Angelica--That's a great story! Really good evidence of not giving up just because you don't receive a response. I need to make a list of agents to follow up with (ones I haven't heard back from for about six weeks or so), and maybe send a "friendly reminder" and see if they respond.