In an attempt to further elaborate on the “ins” and “outs” of the query process….
# queries read so far this year: 138
# proposals/mss. requested: 0
That’s only 15 queries per business day so far this year, which means they are coming in faster than I am responding to them, at present. But I have client pages to read, contracts to review, etc. etc. Please be patient.
I’m looking — really, I am. I want some new and interesting projects, from either published or unpublished writers. I want to expand my mystery/thriller list this year. I want to fill in my romance and women’s fiction some more. And I am always looking for the next thing in speculative fiction.
I continue to wonder why people query with me with non-fiction when everywhere on the net it says I’m a fiction specialist.
It continues to amaze that some of the 17 year olds who query seem more articulate than the adults. And more polite.
Things you don’t want to hear your side-kick say while you’re reading queries: “This is more disgusting than cholera.” Ouch.
“Enclosed is an SAS post card for your convenience to repsond.” — Post cards are not convenient. I realize they save a dime per submission which can add up to a dollar for every 10. But they don’t fit through the printer. And the form rejection that I have labored for years to make (hopefully) not emotionally scarring, doesn’t fit on it. Also, they are more likely to get eaten by the post office’s automatic sorting machines (or so I’m told). If you simply must use a postcard, it’s helpful if you give me checkboxes. Oh, and you should probably put the agency name on it somewhere so you know which answer you’re getting from whom. Most time I notice, but I wouldn’t want to bet on it given the volume of queries.
Check your spelling. Especially your name. Having it wrong in the header of your sample pages is embarrassing, isn’t it?
Check your mail merge. Having the address right and then listing an agent who has never worked at our agency must be a software issue.
Several of the snailmail queries lacked the SASE. They are unlikely to get responses. And check your postage. If you use an odd-sized envelope, you have to pay an extra ounce whether it weighs that much or not (luckily, I had a spare 17 cent stamp, so that person will be getting an answer). Also — in your email queries, include an address and phone number in case there is a bounce or a spamfilter with an over-active imagination.
And, now, since I’m on the topic — you can ask questions about the query process (just queries, please) in comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.