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Name dropping in a query or pitch: Good or Bad?
Bart Leib
Posted: Sunday, March 13, 2011 8:25 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 2

This is a question I've seen a lot, and I'm curious about other opinions: When is it a good idea (if ever) to name-drop when querying or pitching?

Also, there are different types of name-dropping (for example, "[Famous author] loved my book and blurbed it" is different from [Famous author] recommended you to me"). Is one more appropriate than the other? Or is the name-drop always a bad idea? Do agents, editors and publishers care?

Michael R Underwood
Posted: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 2:27 PM
Joined: 3/3/2011
Posts: 74

I think recommendations from noted authors are preferable in queries, especially if that author is a client of the agent or writes for the publisher in question.

Theoretically, the work should stand on its own, but an opinion from a known quantity cannot hurt. If you have a connection to a noted author and they want to give you a blurb to help, double check the wording with them and then use it only where you are sure the recommender is well-known, and even then, I'd say that it's no replacement for a strong query or pitch.
Ellie Isis
Posted: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 6:28 PM
Joined: 3/4/2011
Posts: 60

I did a lot of name dropping in my query, and at least one of my offers of representation came from someone who commented on one of the names I dropped. Of course, the work and the query must stand on their own, but I believe that agents prefer to have confirmation of their beliefs that something is good. It's such a subjective business, it's nice when you hear someone feels the same way about a manuscript as you do.

In mine, I drop two editors' names who judged two contests I won. I also drop two authors' names who have agreed to blurb me, and my former agent's name as well.
Colleen Lindsay
Posted: Thursday, March 17, 2011 4:03 AM
Joined: 2/27/2011
Posts: 356

Actually, the plain truth is that agents and editors don't care and probably would prefer not to have you name-drop in a query. Name-dropping is not a referral, and most agents find it a little annoying. Think about it: they have no way of knowing if the querying writer simply made it up (and most of them do).

What agents and editors actually do pay attention to is if a published writer/editor/etc sends a note to the agent or editor on your behalf, or if that published writer or publishing pro specifically says to you "When you write to so and so, tell him that I sent you and have him contact me." Something along those lines. But it only works if the person referring you is someone the agent or editor already has a real relationship with! Really important to remember.

Robert Dean
Posted: Thursday, March 17, 2011 4:22 AM
Joined: 3/11/2011
Posts: 6

Yea, I was told to not bother with name dropping anyone in my query. I just worked my ass off making sure it was solid. Well, solid enough that it's been rejected a lot.

Ellie Isis
Posted: Monday, March 28, 2011 11:03 PM
Joined: 3/4/2011
Posts: 60

Well, I will say that most of the names I dropped could be easily verified by any agent who wanted to Google the contests.

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