Monday, July 25, 2011

Reader question - Snail-Mailed queries vs. Emailed queries

I'm still kinda zonked from Comic-Con, so I'm just going to take an easy question today. Greg asks:

I'm about to send out query letters to a bunch of production companies, so I've collected all their contact details. But I'm wondering if I should send these letters out via e-mail or regular mail. E-mail would certainly save on paper, ink and stamps, but physically mailing letters seems much more professional. What do you think?

A few years ago, you might have been right about physically mailing the letters being more professional, but I think these days they're accepted as a legitimate way of querying people. I used to do the physical mailings but I actually got more read requests off my last spate of email queries. Perhaps I just had a better pitch with this later one, but I'd like to think that since it takes little time to open and read an email, maybe that makes it easier for a recipient to give it a quick glace. A letter from a dubious sender might sit on a desk for weeks, unopened.

One thing I would stress with an email query is to be very concise. It takes so little effort for someone to press "DELETE." Be brief. Pitch your idea succinctly and don't ramble. Don't tell your life story - just get them interested in reading your script.

I've heard anecdotally from enough people who had luck with e-queries that I'm inclined to believe it's no less likely to succeed than actual mailed queries.


  1. Email is a better, more efficient way to go. I once sent out 250 query emails over the course of a week and saved a fortune and a lot of time by NOT using snail mail. I got about 20 requests to see the script within a day of sending, so another benefit to email is an almost-immediate response.

  2. What do you recommend putting in the email subject line? The title of the script? The premise? The reason for the query?

    I can imagine production companies getting hundreds of emails per day and some will probably not even bother to read the email message unless the subject line is appropriate.

  3. Definitely don't put "query" in the subject line. I usually put the title of the script and the genre.