I’m still getting a lot of questions on the post last week for queries, so I’m thinking I need a FAQ or something because I can’t tell everyone individually the fate of their query and lots of these comments are coming in anonymous which means I don’t know who you are or the title of your book, even if it was a query that stood out from the rest.
It certainly would be nice for authors if agents could track each query, but the volume simply makes that an implausible and inefficient use of time. I only track requested partials and manuscripts. When I post dates on my blog for queries that I’ve read, they are as of receipt on my desk (not just in the office). If you see the date and think you should have gotten a reply according to that date, then either the internet or the post office ate it. In which case, I invite you to resubmit the query.
In any case, here’s as much as I can think of about queries and responding via both snailmail and email — and please feel free to comment so I can try to make this as exhaustive as possible. Also, please note that this only applies to me specifically. Though it’s possible other agents might generally be close to my own process, it’s not necessarily so.
What your Query Should Include
According to the guidelines on maassagency.com — query letter, one-page synopsis, first five pages. (No headshots. No disks/CDs.)
Note: I recently said a 2-5 page synopsis is acceptable because I full realize a one-page synopsis is an ideal dream for agents.
Note: I emphasize first five pages. Not random pages.
Send an SASE (not a postcard). If you don’t send an SASE, you may not get a response.
(as per the Official Sidekick’s suggestion: SASE stands for self-addressed STAMPED envelope)
If you live in a foreign country, don’t forget to allow for more transit time.
E-mail to info [at] maassagency.com
No attachments. Period. (If I want them, I’ll ask for them.)
I also will not click on embedded links.
If you can, please use plain text. HTML is right out. I don’t like having to struggle to decipher the text.
Note: the DMLA official website says we will only respond if interested. I attempt to respond to them regardless myself.
As per our official agency guidelines at http://www.maassagency.com/submissions.html our usual response time on a query is two to three weeks (occasionally faster). That’s probably a safe estimate (but it is only an estimate). Due to the volume, I find that electronic queries can often take the same amount of time.