Should I Skip the Agent’s General Submission Address?

Dear Anonymous…

This is about more than showing you will or can follow directions. For many agencies, a separate submissions inbox is a strategic workflow tool. By separating non-submission business from submissions, agents can quickly respond to things like editors’ offers over here, while they manage submissions over there. Often agents  instruct authors of even expected submissions to use the general address, telling them to note in the subject line the referral or other exceptional status of the submission. So, submit the new project through the agency’s general submission address per posted guidelines. Within the query, write to the specific editor and lay out your history together. If someone else in the agency sorts the submissions, they’ll get it to the correct agent.

Happy writing!
The Editor


  1. Knowing these etiquette issues is huge. Especially as I embark again on queries. I find agent email etiquette much more stringent than say your average company. I guess it’s a volume issue. I totally get the need to follow their guidelines. Even if I might wish for a short cut!!

  2. I had the same situation happen. I sent the second query to the gen email, but addressed specifically to the agent, reminding him that he did indeed like and want an r&r of my previous work titled XYZ. He remembered me and sent a personal note.

  3. I had the same question-and asked it during the agent panel at YALL Fest 2015. Jo Volpe of New Leaf Literary and Sarah Burnes of Gernet said if you got a personal response from an agent in the past and they requested you send material to them again ABSOLUTELY use the personal email and not the general submissions. Hope this helps.

    • That does help. Thank you for sharing it, Holly. Yes, definitely send direct if there was a request. It gets murky when there isn’t a direct request but still a connection. And since submission workflow is distinct to each agent, well, it’s easy to see where the questions kick in.

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