– Never include reviews from family members for your completed novel in a query letter.
“As my brother said, it’s fast-paced, intriguing, cogent and insightful…” or
“My wife appraises it as fact based, well-written…”
This makes you look desperate and you’ll definitely won’t land an agent this way.
– If sending a submission from overseas and want your material back, always include a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) and please do not expect to receive feedback. It is highly unlikely that you will receive some feedback as agencies receive hundreds of physical and electronic queries everyday.
– I stress this a lot but please RESEARCH! Research is key to knowing the kinds of authors the agencies represent and the genres they also consider. It’ll save you time. Oh and if you are rejected, don’t take it personal. There will be another agency that may like your work.
– If you do decide to include a review of your novel (if its self-published), make sure it’s a Glowing adoration of your work. Anything other than praise will only get your work tossed and a rejection letter in the mail.
– So you know someone at a publishing house. It’s not really relevant if the person used to work there. How much credibility does this name have if he or she is a former employee of Simon & Schuster? Think about it.
– Last thing. Never fax a query letter. That’s just stupid. Doesn’t make you stand out; it makes you look lazy. If you don’t want to spend money on a stamp, Email! An electronic submission saves you paper and ink to fax a sheet to an agency. Make it electronic if you cannot afford a stamp. Email is free; don’t be stupid.