This is just what the name implies: Each week, I ask someone interesting a question and request that she/he respond in 50 words or less.
Or somewhere in the ballpark of 50 words. That’s why there’s an “-ish.” I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but this site isn’t exactly a bastion of rigidity.
Joining me today is Elise Capron (@EliseCapron on Twitter), an agent at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency, which is known for guiding the careers of many bestselling fiction and nonfiction authors. A graduate of Emerson College, she has been with the Dijkstra Agency since late 2003.
Elise is interested in fiction that has unforgettable writing, a terrific narrative voice/tone, and memorable characters. She loves novels with an unusual or eccentric edge, and is drawn to stories she has never heard before. On the nonfiction front, Elise is looking for many of these same qualities: fascinating true stories told in a compelling way. She aims to work with writers who are getting their work published regularly in magazines and who have a realistic sense of the market and their audience.
That’s what she wants. Which is great. But I had a far more-pressing question:
What’s the quickest way for a writer to get on your bad side in a query?
Two words: “Dear Sirs.”
Unless, of course, the agent is also running an Internet phishing scam on the side, in which case this might be right up his or her alley. Better include your Social Security Number in the query just to be safe, though.
Huge thanks to Elise for hanging out with me this week. And if you’re a writer reading this, seriously, please don’t send her (or any other agent) a “Dear Sirs” query. If you do, I’ll feel like I’ve personally failed her.