To link or not to link

So I’m busy with the work of sending out queries to potential agents for The Sleep of Reason. There’s nothing extraordinary in that, and the lore for how this must be done is both vast and contradictory, but that’s a different post.

I know that many agents do not want to receive attachments to email queries, and I understand that there is legitimate concern about the transmission of viruses this way. Fine. Still, it seems that as many agents will accept attachments as won’t. Fine, again. If their submission guidelines go one way or the other on this, I’ll gladly comply. But here is something I haven’t seen addressed.

Suppose your work involves an important scene that takes place in the Piazza San Marco. And suppose it is critical for an agent to have a picture of it in her head as she considers your query. Or suppose a key moment in your plot involves a hand-cranked apple peeler and, again, it is important for the agent to know what it looks like.

Do you dare provide links to visuals of these items in your query email? (Such as the two above.) Are links as potentially dangerous as attachments? And will agents automatically reject a query if a link is contained within it?

My novel does not contain any references to the Piazza San Marco or apple peelers, but it does involve more than a dozen real paintings. I mention two of them in my query and because one is peculiar and used to lure in the reader and the other is critical to the protagonist’s downfall, I think it is important for the agent to be able to see them. A harried agent may not take the time to look them up herself, but if I provide the link, a multimedia visual aid, she may simply click on them to take in their importance. That’s my thinking anyway.

So what do you think. Are links permissible or verboten?

Explore posts in the same categories: Humble efforts, Rants and ruminations, Sleep of Reason

3 Comments on “To link or not to link”

  1. Jenn Says:

    I wouldn’t put links in the email – I think if it’s important for the reader (agent, in this case) to be able to see objects and scenes in her/his mind’s eye as s/he reads, then the onus is on the writer to describe them in a vivid and evocative way. After all, when the book ends up in the shop, there may not (usually not, if it’s a novel) be illustrations included. The writer has to paint the pictures with words, not links.

  2. paullamb Says:


    Thanks for your comment. I’m putting the links in the query, not in the text of the novel, so I don’t have the space to describe the paintings vividly. And at least one of the paintings is not very commonly known, so I can’t count on the agent to be able to recall it from experience, yet it is crucial to the plot (and the pitch).

    I may have gotten an answer to my question. I received a request from an agent for the full manuscript based on my query that did not include any sample pages. Perhaps she clicked on the links and was intrigued.

  3. Jenn Says:

    That’s brilliant news. I’m not sure my opinion would be different for a query than for the writing itself, but you should value my opinion with the amount you paid for it – seems like it is working for you.

    Another way to do it might be to have a pre-publication promotional website for your novel with the pictures on that? I wonder if that would work, or would be too gimicky?

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