Snail mail queries are still the preferred method of contacting an agent, accompanied by the SASE for the unwanted rejection. Most agencies have entered the modern era, however, and do utilize the convenience of e-mail for correspondence. Dream agent receives the query, printed on good quality bond and enfolded into a matching envelope. After the first sentence does not grab, said agent turns to the computer keyboard, enters the author's e-mail address and pastes in the standard "not right for us" or "list is full" dismissal. What then happens to the SASE?
Dream agent's accountant counts beans with precision, knowing that a penny saved and all that will pad the bottom line. Slap a label over the author's address and voila, dream agent can correspond with a savings to the agency of $0.37 plus the cost of a #10 envelope. For a company that receives one hundred submissions per week, the savings add up quickly. Undoubtedly there is a black market in New York City where stamped envelopes are sold below par, perhaps next to the bond pit on Wall Street. In an industry where competition is tight, the bottom line must be closely monitored, and costs cut wherever possible. Now, where did I put those SASEs for today's batch of queries?