1. Bill35
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    Bill35 New Member

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    Querying Etiquette

    Discussion in 'Publisher Discussion' started by Bill35, May 28, 2016.

    Hi,

    I've recently completed my first novel and have been sending query emails to smaller presses who allow unsolicited submissions. My question will probably reveal my general ignorance of the publishing process, but I'm curious if it's considered rude to query if a press specifically states they are not taking submissions at the present time. I obviously wouldn't email a copy of my novel to these presses, but I'm curious if it ever hurts to send a brief query. So far I've only been sending queries to presses who specifically state they are taking submissions. I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts on this.

    Thanks!

    Bill
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2016
  2. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I don't know about rude but it would be pointless. If they're not taking unsolicited submissions, they won't make an exception for you.
     
  3. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know about rude, exactly... I mean, I can see it being rude to be persistent, but a simple e-mail? Unlikely to be effective, but I wouldn't classify it as a question of rudeness, myself.

    It might be unwise in that if the press rejects your submission without even looking at it, now, and then they open their submissions and you want to resubmit to them, they may already have a record of having rejected that MS. This would depend on the level and format of record keeping at the individual press, of course.

    ETA: Hilarious that @Tenderiser and I not only crossposted--we used almost exactly the same wording! Shared brain powers, activated!
     
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  4. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I knew we shouldn't have got in that machine. I was worried about a fly contaminating it, but I wasn't expecting this...
     
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  5. Bill35
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    Bill35 New Member

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    Thanks, Tenderiser and BayView. I really appreciate your input.
     
  6. JLT
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    JLT Active Member

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    I don't think that it would hurt to send them a quick note or email asking if that policy is still in effect. But I wouldn't enclose my query letter, because that would imply that their policy should be broken in your case, or that their decision not to accept query letters was wrong. The most I would say was that I had a work of such-and-such length on such-and-such a topic, without elaboration, and ask politely if they could recommend another publisher who might be interested in a work like that.
     
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  7. Bill35
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    Bill35 New Member

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    Thanks, JLT. That's a really good suggestion. I'm going to go down my list of presses who aren't taking submissions and give that a shot. Nice profile pic!
     
  8. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Why wouldn't they update their website if they'd changed their policy?

    Writers would get much quicker replies, and more helpful replies, if we didn't disregard agent and editor instructions all the time. No wonder they start to ignore us when we ignore their helpfully maintained websites and write to ask if they're REALLY SURE about their policies and submission guidelines.

    It's also not their job to recommend other publishers for us.

    Don't make yourself look like an amateur or, even worse, a special snowflake.
     
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  9. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I enthusiastically disagree with @Tenderiser! Well, not that enthusiastically, but a little bit...

    I agree there's not a lot of chance of success from this approach-I agree that they've probably not forgotten their website includes a statement that they're closed to submissions.

    BUT... you do hear the odd success story from people who broke rules and went for it. And I don't think it's that important to keep yourself from looking like an amateur or a special snowflake... I agree that's probably what you will look like, but who cares? I don't believe in the mythical black list of authors who've ruined their reputations, at least not for tiny infractions like this one. If you start stalking people, they're going to remember you and you'll ruin your reputation. If you send a submission at an inappropriate time? They're going to roll their eyes and delete your e-mail. You won't see the eye roll, so... no harm done?

    Again, I don't think this is likely to be a productive use of time. I think it should be way, way, WAY down on your to-do list. But if it's important to you? Whatever.
     
  10. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think there's a blacklist either. It's more that collectively we should stop wasting agent/editor time so they wouldn't be forced to adopt "no response" policies because of 50 emails a day that don't meet submission guidelines.
     
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  11. Bill35
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    Bill35 New Member

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    Thanks again for everyone's thoughts! I have one more newbie question that I was hoping to get a little feedback on. I recently sent a query to a press that I have not heard back from. I noticed the other day that they happen to have an imprint which may actually be a better match for my particular story. Would it be okay to send a query to the specific person who runs the imprint? I don't want to come off as pushy or do anything that could create a potential conflict.
     
  12. JennaPeterson88
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    JennaPeterson88 Member

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    How long has it been since you sent the first query?
     
  13. Bill35
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    Bill35 New Member

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    Hey, Jenna. It's been about two weeks. The person I sent it to actually emailed me a few days after the initial query, requesting that I elaborate on something I wrote. I promptly responded, but have received no further emails.
     

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