Writing Books/Why an SASE?


Susan, hello again!
Regarding a literary agent's requirement for an SASE.  I do not understand the reasoning for this requirement.  If an Agent likes your "hook" and is interested in your project, wouldn't he or she contact you by phone, snail mail, or email?  Let's say I mailed a synopsis to 300 agents and included an SASE ... the postage would be double!  
Would an Agent turn down a good story simply because it did not include an SASE?
Also, I'd like to send you my one-page synopsis.  Your opinion is valued as always!  Thanks

Hello gericisk:

I must admit, I have often wondered the same thing. This harks back to the days when every submission went by snail mail, and writers had to type out a new copy for a new submission. These days, many publishers accept articles, stories, etc. via email. Under no circumstances would I pay to send anything to 300 agents via snail mail. Of course, I wouldn't send anything to 300 agents.

When I send by snail mail, I forget the SASE. Instead, I type at the top "OK to discard after use." There is always the chance that there will be no reply if no SASE is included. Thus you may wait for years not knowing the fate of your piece.

I believe most agents would contact you if they are interested in your project, but that is the least of your worries. The most of your worries is sending the right material to the right agent. They must be checked out carefully to make sure they have experience and contacts in the publishing field. This information can be hard to come by. I don't believe any agent would turn down a good story just because it didn't include an SASE.

I don't know what you might expect me to do with your synopsis. It is all but impossible to say anything other than "This is a good/bad story" about a synopsis. It would be like gathering the ingredients for a batch of cookies and then asking someone, "What do you think of this flour?" I do critiques of chapters, MS, etc., but I charge for the service. If you are interested, let me know.

I hope this helps. If it does, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 700+ questions.

And good luck with your writing!

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at http://pygmypress.com, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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