Last night, got back from NYC around 7pm, ate dinner and then read 107 queries — 65 letter ones and 43 unsolicited packages (including one that said it was solicited, but which I’m not counting since they “called my office” and our assistant would not have told them to send more than a query). I actually got a couple which are going in my keeper file for letters that exemplify to me how not to encourage my attention — well, the good kind anyway.
One of them I actually considered somewhat, um…full of attitude. Yeah, that’s a good way to describe it with such lovely thoughts as: “…I’m hoping my writing skills will outweigh your predilection to convention.” I could not help but be insulted by the implication. Especially since it made it obvious to me that he had no idea of the makeup of my client list. Anne Bishop conventional? Elizabeth Bear? I don’t think so. Linda Castillo? (The romantic suspense novel she just turned in brushes up against the snuff film industry.) Sure, I’ve sold a few traditional Regencies and a couple of mysteries that tend towards the classicist side of the genre, but still. I have a pretty variegated list and some eclectic taste here and there, imo. It ended with: “And please excuse the absence of a SASE, but I’ve never understood the wisdom in spending $.37 to receive a form rejection letter.” I don’t get many of these, so I guess they really stand out when they appear. *wry look*
The other was one of those woefully uninformed people that make me want to run to a tall mountain and somehow make my voice heard by writers throughout the world as I shout: “Money flows towards the writer!” It said: “I’m not too sure how the publishing process works, so feel free to take advantage of me the best you can…” Yes, it really said that. And more. I was dismayed. I get *far* too many of these. Or letters of similar nature. Or the ones where people relate their horror story of how a small publisher took advantage of them, or how much they spent on one of those evil agents who are not in the game to help writers but to make a lot of fast money. *sigh*
But here’s the one that left me the most, um, off-balance. A query from some kid (well, not a kid anymore) that my brother used to be friends with back when we were younger. My clearest and most vivid memory of the overweight, cruel, vindictive child is when we were at family camp retreat and he pushed me down on the playground and I was so badly hurt that I could not go swimming that day because of it. Add to that that my brother was ten times meaner to me when this person was around… I was just stunned to receive it somehow. Peculiar…
These few examples certainly do not take the place of that bit on queries that Tempest asked for posting to her site. I’m still working on that. And there were certainly many, many queries that were decently done (if not appropriate material for me). And there were a couple that were really, really, really *good* queries, though even in those cases I may not ask for pages to review unless I think I can get on board with the story. Passion for the work is part of my formula every time. So, I’m using these to try and draw up a list – though I doubt it will end up being as complete as it should be. And I never know how to account for those things that you just ask for on gut instinct – though I can tell how it feels when that occurs.
Well….this morning, I’ve been working my way through the backlog of emails, tracking payments, googling to see if one of my clients was published outside the U.S. without their permission, logging in requested materials, bringing my share of the accounting up to date (and paying bills)…and desperately attempting to remember those days of old (which really did not exist) when I spent an afternoon reading manuscripts and eating bon-bons. Heh. Anyway, speaking of eating….must eat lunch and plan dinner before I jump into other correspondence and editorial comments and so forth….