I put together a short list of do's and don'ts when you are communicating with industry professionals. I pulled from my own experience as a writer who has queried agents and publishing houses and as a literary intern.
- FOLLOW submission guidelines. If the agency/editor ask for the first 10 pages and you send the first 10 chapters or the entire manuscript, it DOES NOT increase your chances of receiving a bigger request. (Disregarding these guidelines communicates the wrong thing.)
- Don't forget the important info: word count, audience (MG, YA, NA, etc), genre, etc.
- Do tell relevant info on yourself: organizations you belong to, degrees, prior published works.
- Don't give a synopsis unless they ask for it (see next bullet).
- Give enough about what the book is about to entice the agent/editor to want more - to read the sample pages included.
- Remember to not attach a document unless it is requested/stated.
- A query letter is one big "communication" with an agent/editor or their intern. Take the time to communicate all the right information in a clear, concise way.
- It's okay to send a short, simple thank you to interns, agents, editors for their time or consideration.
- It's not okay to insult the intelligence of above people or be rude.
- If an agent/editor (or even an intern) takes time to give you feedback, even if they aren't requesting more pages/offering rep, thank them.
- Don't say anything to authors, agents, etc on their pages that could be embarrassing.
- Don't ask for free swag, books, etc from authors, agencies, pub houses, imprints, etc.
- Do connect cordially, professionally, even be funny - just appropriately funny. It is public!
- Again, mind your manners. Say thank you (TY) for any retweets (RT) or a spelled out "thank you" if an agent answers a question.
- The polite way to ask an agent or editor a question is not to just ask it, but ask if they will be involved in an #askagent or #askeditor chat soon OR if you can ask them a question (before you actually ask it.)
- Don't be a creeper. Sure, we all check agent/editor feeds, sometimes obsessively, to see what they say about submissions, if there are ways we can chat with them, but don't bug them over & over again.
No matter how you are communicating with publishing professionals, even if it's in a more casual "environment" like Twitter, be genuine, polite, and professional. Even if these professionals end up passing on your work or don't request (more) pages, you never know when your paths may cross in the future!
Do you have any "reminders" to add to the "communicating with pub professionals" list?