Friday, September 28, 2012

Query Sabotage

Gmail is wonderful. It really is. I've used it for more than ten years and I won't use anything else. Still, little did I know that beneath those fancy, seemingly organized paragraphs of 13-point Arial was career sabotage in disguise.

Here's the deal. When you're querying, some agents want you to paste the first 5-10 pages of your manuscript into the body of the email. Attachments can be evil, and they take up mailbox disk space, so it makes perfect sense considering an agent could receive one to two hundred query letters a week.

So here I am, happily querying my little list, happily moving a fresh 'no thanks' to my special Don't Open Me Unless There's Chocolate folder, when I notice something funny. Below the agent's message was my query letter, except not my query letter. The synopsis paragraph was a completely different size and font. So was my signature. And those oh-so-important sample pages? Different font, and no line breaks between paragraphs.



I clicked into my outbox. Located the query in question. Stared in disbelief at the blatant lie in front of my face. My version showed everything the same size and font, with paragraphs an appropriate distance apart. Irked, I forwarded the message to my Yahoo account and said something angry at my screen. There was the version of the email the agent had received, looking like I'd thrown it together in two seconds. And I had certainly spent much longer than that getting it ready.


Forward your queries to a different email provider first so you can see what they (really) look like. I've started using a WYSIWYG editor (What You See Is What You Get) where I can switch to the source view of the html and take out all the super funky stuff Gmail inserts when I copy and paste. Then you can copy that back into Gmail and it should behave.

Don't let query sabotage happen to you!


  1. Have you had any good partials?

    1. Yes, I've been quite lucky! I have three partials out right now. Keeping my fingers crossed.

  2. Wow, for 10 years! I got my gmail invite in 2005 and thought I was pretty special but you've got me beat! :)

    1. Well, you know. I was a computer geek by 2000, so heaven forbid I used MSN or worse, AOL....



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