Hello. I am looking for an experienced agent, with an outstanding track record of publishing with major presses. Only serious responses, please. I have prepared a book proposal, for those of you who want to read it. I will not pay any fees. I am not interested in self- or electronic publishing.
I don't want to embarrass the author of this query, but I thought it could be used as a good example to provide some guidance on querying. I'm not going to address the substance of his project, nor any grammatical errors.
First, I don't accept e-queries unless they are sent via my agency submission form.
Second, do not address your query to multiple agents at once. It doesn't take much to cut and paste your query in multiple emails and add personalized introductions. Imagine if I wrote an email to a bunch of editors at once about your book!
Third, start off with a sentence that brings us in, not one that turns us off. In addition, there are multiple resources now available to authors, so with a bit of research you could verify in advance whether an agent is experienced and has sold books to major houses.
Fourth, this is not a personal ad. No need to tell us to be serious - this is our job, our livelihood. Of course we're serious.
Fifth, you should only be submitting to agents who have made it clear somewhere that they don't charge fees. This author has done just enough research to know that he shouldn't pay fees, but not enough to know about the Association of Author Representatives, agentquery.com, etc.
Sixth, we're not interested in representing you if you want to self-publish or e-publish your book either.