Sunday, February 24, 2008

Deleted without being read means just that.

Both our agency website and my own submission guidelines very clearly state that emails with attachments will be deleted without being read. Pretty simple concept, you'd think. When I want an attachment, I'll ask for one. Otherwise, your query goes in the virtual crapper. This is for two very good reasons: a.) computer viruses and b.) attachments fill up the server space. Almost no agent who accepts e-queries will accept an unsolicited attachment from someone they don't know.

So it amused me to no end today to watch the same fellow send me his query four different times, each time with some sort of attachment, and each time getting my auto-responder telling him that his email had been deleted without being read.

What counts as an attachment? Well, if you have to ask, you probably shouldn't be allowed near a computer. That being said, here are some things that I really don't want you to send me with your initial query:
  • Your headshot
  • Your suggested cover treatment for the book that you haven't actually sold yet
  • One of those stupid Outlook e-business cards that you attach to every outgoing email
  • Any kind of Word, Excel, Outlook, Entourage or Power Point file
  • Any kind of jpg or gif or tif or eps or pdf or anything else that has three letters at the end of it, frankly
  • Dancing animated cats, bunnies, babies, zombies or vampires
My computer sees these things and automatically eats your email for lunch, kids. I'm serious. Just don't do it. Ever.


Nathan said...

I periodically post job openings when I'm hiring staff for a movie. I always specify that I want the resume pasted in the email body and that I won't open attachments.

The most recent listing drew in 11 responses, 10 of them with attachments. I keep a list of who sent them though. Even if they get it right at some future date, I kinda assume that the inability to follow simple instructions is a defining characteristic of someone I don't want working for me.

Slimbolala said...

If, through some miracle of technology, they figured out how to attach Scharffenberger Extra Dark Chocolate, would that make it to your inbox?

Tangentially (as if my original comment wasn't tangential enough), I like chocolate, I like dark chocolate, but I've just never been able to hang with the extra dark. (Super dark bitter coffee? Fine. But to me, chocolate needs to be a bit gentler.) You extra-dark-chocolate-ites are a special breed.

Josh said...

Makes you think that if one of the query requirements was to write it in English, you'd get quite a few coming to you in Swahili and Binary code.

S. E. Ward said...

Slimbolala, try making a ganache from extra dark chocolate (a 2-3 oz bar) broken up and whisked into heavy/double cream heated to just below the simmering point. I use it on brownies (made with coffee beans in place of nuts), and they usually evaporate within minutes.

Yeah, I know. It effectively makes milk chocolate. You don't add any extra sugar, though, so it's not as sweet or mild as regular milk chocolate.

Molly Harper said...

What if the attachment includes a dancing zombie vampire baby bunny/cat?

No. (Dang it.)

MelodyO said...

Now I want a dancing zombie in my signature. Hee.

PS Here from Nathan Bransford's site - love your style! :0)