Writing Wrongs

January 12, 2006

Thereís a big to-do on Miss Snarkís and J.A. Konrathís blog about, of all things, the SASE (Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope).

Mr. Konrath proposes that the SASE puts writers at a psychological disadvantage because youíre handing an agent the means to reject you. So, do you suppose thereís a big pile oí submissions at all these agencies, and the agents and interns stand around and point and laugh at the ones that came in with SASEs?

Newbie writers! Ha! I donít care if this is the next Great American Novel that will sell like The Da Vinci Code, the writer sent a SASE. He/she must not believe in his/her writing.


The lack of a SASE could signal a great many things to an agent, like the writer blatantly disregarded the submission guidelines and is arrogant or rude. Or maybe the writer is extremely forgetful and that may make it difficult to work with him/her. Iím glad that the SASE-less submission thing worked out for Mr. Konrath, but I fail to see the connection between No SASE = Sale. Did the writing and commercial viability have nothing to do with it? Perhaps more agents would have expressed interest had he included a SASE. We could speculate on this one all day long, Iím sure.

Personally, I probably benefit from the SASE as much as any agent or editor. The comment strings on both blogs point out the various benefits: tax records/IRS, personal rejections with feedback, requests for both partial manuscripts and full ones. The only time the SASE thing bothers me is when the guidelines say to include one, but theyíll only contact you if theyíre interested.

Huh? Are they collecting stamps?

Some of the nicest surprises have arrived in SASEs. Iíve received some very nice letters, personalized and specific, on a simple query letter I wrote. A couple of what Iíd consider A-list agents (well, my A-list) took the time to write back to me, stating my writing and credentials sounded interesting and to keep them in mind for future projects.

It wasnít just the words, but the tone and the time they took to write the letter. Thatís impressive. Thatís professional, to the extreme. It gave me a peek into who they are and how they run their business. These are agents I would love to work with some day.

And if I hadnít included that SASE? You do the math.

Charity Tahmaseb wrote at 2:12 p.m.