I’m not sure if it’s a recent phenomenon or a coincidence, but in the last few weeks I’ve received a number of questions about agents who apparently include advertisements for their books in with rejection letters. Two questions specifically asked what I think of this practice and what I think of these agents.
Well, I don’t like the practice. It seems sort of odd to me. While I haven’t written any books on publishing or literary agents, I’m not sure I would advertise quite that way. I might put the title of the book in my signature line in both email and snail mail letters, but that’s the most I think I could comfortably do. It just seems like a double hit if you’re getting a rejection letter and then an advertisement. I also wonder what’s next. An advertisement listing all of the agent’s clients? Would that be as bad? And what about the fact that they are using your postage costs (SASE) to send you an advertisement? Does that bother you? Ultimately there is probably not a right or wrong answer to these questions, but what’s right or wrong for you.
As for what I think of these agents, I was never given the names of any of the agents who follow this practice, but I think I’ll leave those impressions up to the readers. If it leaves a bad taste in your mouth then I think that’s enough for you to know how you personally feel about the agent and whether or not you want to work with that person. If the advertisement doesn’t bother you then continue to query this person. Putting an advertisement in your SASE doesn’t necessarily say anything about a person’s ability to be a good author representative. It might however say something about her ability to be your author representative.
I would imagine anyone who has received an advertisement might have their own opinions, and certainly I’d be interested to hear them.