letters from the query wars 9/24/2010

# of queries responded to this week: 257
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 1
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: YA paranormal

oldest query in the queue: Sept 4

A few random things that struck me as ironic this week….

* Queries that request no reply unless interested because it bogs up the sender’s email– included in multiple queries for multiple works. And, of note, since many writers around the blogosphere hate/despise/otherwise denigrate “no response means no” policies.

* A terse follow-up about how it’s been 3 weeks since a query was sent but there has not been the courtesy of a reply… when the listed response time for the agent is 4 weeks.

* Queries that indicate the sender would very much like to submit a sample of their work when the query doesn’t include the first five pages as indicated in our submission guidelines. Irritated replies to same asking how a work can be evaluated without reading any of it. (It’s a fair point so it’s why I ask for the five pages.)

* Letters with no name in either the sender field or any of the text but wanting a personal reply. (So I’m stuck with Dear ihatekittens at yourISP dot com)

* Queries complaining about how mercenary and awful agents are while soliciting representation for new novel. Similarly, queries offering to pay fees or higher commission rates.

* Anything that includes the phrase: “I know you’re extremely busy, but….” or some variation on that theme.

* Not being able to go back in time to tell my younger self who had such a ridiculously limited book budget that a day would come when I would be torn about which manuscript to read and critique on the weekend and that the 700+ books in the TBR pile would have to wait.

Happy weekend….

7 responses to “letters from the query wars 9/24/2010

  1. Queries complaining about how mercenary and awful agents are while soliciting representation for new novel.
    This may be the professional equivalent of negging? And probably equally wise as a strategy.

  2. Wow, I’m amazed. No offense to agents, but I hate the no response means no interest. I assume that’s what it means, but as Janet Reid posted a while back, what it really meant was two agents who were very interested never received the manuscript. I can’t imagine an author being that busy/important they don’t want a response.
    I love it when I get a response from an agent, even if it’s negative and a personal response is awesomesauce.
    Re the other things, intriguing and indicative of writers who aren’t readers, apparently.

    • *nod* I had the Internet eat a query to an agent (a re-query, actually), some 6 months ago. (Since that agent has a policy of “If I reject you, I will say so,” I managed to catch one of her other authors and ask if the agent was really busy or if the thing’d been lost. Yeah, the thing’d been lost. I think the Internet ate the synopsis she asked for, too, a week ago, so I just asked about that tonight. Curse you, Internets! Stop eating my mail and making me look like a total flake!!!! *sob*)

  3. Just wanted to say how much I love these blogs. Keep ’em coming!

  4. On whether it is better to send than to be not received… 🙂
    Oh, well. Since I went that far – :-).
    Imagine I sent something to someone. Purely for the sake of discussion, let us suppose it was a Query.
    Let us further imagine that the ‘someone’ responded to all received items received and responded within a specific time window.
    Let us imagine yet further that the sender did not get a reply in the window. Possibly what he or she sent was simply too awful for anybody to bring themselves to reply to, or possibly technology lost it. It got buried in the Spam file. It was intercepted by Alien Aardvarks from… um… Alcatraz. Or something. But, in short, it was never received.
    Let us then imagine that our Idiot sender sent it again, in case it wasn’t received. Now here’s the thing. If something in the message allowed technology to reject or lose it, then sending it again will likely suffer the same fate. As would sending it another 99999999 times because, as mentioned, the sender is an Idiot :-). How can our Idiot identify whether that he ( or she) falls into the ‘I got you but you have ugly shoes so I’m not talking to you’ bucket, or the ‘I never got you, so I never replied’ bucket?

  5. Exception Rejection
    There is a learned treatise on agents’ “Exception Rejection” at http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/billstephens

  6. A thought just struck me that I’m surprised I never thought about before — when submitting queries that ask for x amount of manuscript pages, should you submit that amount from a double-spaced or single-spaced manuscript? I’ve always done the former, simply because that’s how I’ve been instructed to format a manuscript, but of course if I were to submit from a single-spaced manuscript, the agent would be able to read more pages and potentially have a better understanding on the novel. Any tips/advice/answers/etc?

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