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?