I don't normally post from other blogs but I thought this from Jen Jackson of Donald Maass Agency had some interesting statements about what wanna-be-published writer's will do that will sabotage their chance of getting a request from an agent.
For a direct read, go to: http://arcaedia.wordpress.com/
Here's what I cut:
Things that made me go huh in this last batch….
* The sheer number of people who can’t be bothered to begin a letter with a salutation. And the number of those who can’t be bothered to include a letter of any kind.
* Not sending the requested first five pages and stating only full manuscript requests will be considered (it would apparently be meaningless as the book can only be appreciated in its entirety). Closely followed by first novels that will not be finished for another six months.
* Sending a one-liner email with the full manuscript attached.
* Indicating that the query was sent because of a characteristic of two novels that I have sold where those two novels have not yet been released, and one of them is by a debut author, so claiming any sort of familiarity with the work seems unlikely. This really comes across as someone looking up the most recent sales on PM and using them in an attempt to personalize without actually doing real homework. Go figure.
So the moral of this story is...this is so simple it kills me to say it...follow the instructions!