letters from the query wars

# of queries read this week: 97
# of partials requested: 0
genres of partials requested: n/a

This week I express my sincere appreciation to each person who took the time to research and follow submission guidelines. Thank you for sending things formatted in a readable fashion (and not using peculiar fonts or HTML-laden text). Many thanks for including the first five pages (and not a random sample). Most of all, thank you for your patience as it takes so much time to review each and every query, and thank you for your understanding when I find that I cannot offer you more feedback than a variation on “not for me.”

Even if you and I never end up working together on a novel, now, or in the future, I respect your professional presentation and wish you the very best of luck in securing representation with the exact kind of agent that is the best for you.

10 responses to “letters from the query wars

  1. You seriously are an excellent example of a well-balanced agent with a great attitude. And I know I already said this, but your “thanks, but not for me” letter is still the best, most personal, least insulting I’ve received.

  2. This warms me cockles, and I don’t even have cockles. 🙂 Thanks for being gracious and positive about a task that is undoubtedly exhausting on many levels.

  3. Hee, I just wrote a long entry on why it’s important to follow rules for agency submissions. Short version: professionalism. Very good to hear confirmation that such things are appreciated!
    – Tracey S. Rosenberg

  4. First queries are painful experiences. Shouldn’t one expect inexperience and cluelessness from new authors? Don’t many of them act in “an unprofessional way” because they are not professionals?
    Cluelessness is not rudeness. Is it? Being inexperienced doesn’t mean a writer lacks talent, nor does it indicate spite or hatefulness.
    I sell antiquarian books. I’ve always expected new collectors to be inquisitive and to want help. I understand that our situations differ. My business is built off answering questions from collectors and casual buyers. Yours isn’t.
    How do you balance cultivating new talent with the need to avoid detailed explanations? And how do you kindly explain that you lack the time or inclination to critique?

    • I don’t know. I get plenty of professional and well-written queries from new authors. The difference is simply that they’ve done their homework. And believe me, the homework isn’t that difficult.
      I just googled Jennifer’s name and the string “submissions guidelines” and Voila! Instant knowledge. Less than one second.
      With access to the Internet, there is simply no excuse for people not following guidelines.

  5. I didn’t mean and was not asking about query format. A business letter isn’t hard to write, and a query letter is just an engaging business letter with attachments. I’m certain that a misspelling in the middle of my first query letter doomed it to an untimely death.
    Writers new to the query process seldom understand that they will usually get no feedback beyond the rejection letter. If they ask for it, they sin grievously. I suppose the solution is simply experience.
    Oh, and tell Janet hello from the Pixie. She’ll know who that is.

  6. yay! No synopsis! Those drive me crazy! And yay e-queries as always. I always feel sad to see the little trees die.

  7. Congratulations on having this blog listed in Writer’s Digest 101 Best Sites! Me, I’m just one of the horde of writers friending you as a result.

  8. Wonderful post that I’m sure those writers that were rejected will respect and appreciate. :*)

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