letters from the query wars 5.13.2011

Fallen a bit behind on updating this. It’s been a crazy few weeks.

# of queries responded to week ending 4.22.2011: 168
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 0
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: n/a

# of queries responded to week ending 4.29.2011: 151
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 1
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: historical romance

# of queries responded to week ending 5.6.2011: 119
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 0
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: n/a

# of queries responded to week ending 5.13.2011: 155
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 0
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: n/a

A few observations…. and my deepest thanks to anyone following guidelines and making it easier and more efficient to evaluate what they’ve sent….


If I were to receive a query and politely decline to read the novel described therein. And if the author of said novel were to send back an email attaching chapters anyway in case I had the time to read them as that might change my mind, said author has pretty much guaranteed that I will not be reading this book or anything else from them. Of course, this is an entirely theoretical situation as no one would do that.


Sometimes it strikes me just how little some people know before they begin to send out queries. In response to a recent decline to read more, we received a message that said, among other things: “I’m getting very terrible service here.”


And in other news, agents do not decline works or authors based on needing to make payments on their Mercedes. (Yes, actual reply sent to me.) Many agents take public transit and don’t own cars. And even those who don’t live in NYC proper probably own something more like a 15 year old Subaru.


For the last several days, queries addressed to Donald Maass have been sent to my query.jjackson@maassagency.com address rather than to the email listed for him in our guidelines. If anyone knows where this erroneous listing on the internet might be found, please let me know. My google-fu is so far too Amish to have revealed it.

6 responses to “letters from the query wars 5.13.2011

  1. Oh man, I didn’t know I drove the agent car of choice. (I wouldn’t recommend it for struggling publishing professionals – it eats gas like a gremlin and my wallet cries.)

  2. I’m not sure, but I suspect that http://www.maassagency.com/agents.html itself may be the culprit — you are the first person beneath Mr. Maass’ “blurb” to have an email address listed, so people may be dropping down to the first viable email beneath his name.

    http://www.spywriter.com/litagency11.html also lists his name, then yours, then your email address, even more tightly bound. In fact, it says:
    Donald Maass,
    Jennifer Jackson AAR

    That’s the wrong email, but if there’s forwarding going on, then it does look like both his and your address are the same there.

    Those were the only potentially confusing ones I spotted on the first 2 pages, when I went to Google with query.jjackson@maassagency.com as the search term.

  3. I just bought my 17 year old daughter an old Subaru. Since then she hasn’t been helping around the house as much which is really bad service.

    So maybe it’s not the agent but the car. 🙂

  4. Perhaps the e-mail confusion comes from a site like this:


    With the entry:

    Donald Maass Literary Agency,
    157 W. 57th St., Suite 703,
    New York, NY 10019.
    Donald Maass,
    Jennifer Jackson AAR
    Rachel Vater
    Cameron McClure
    Stacia Decker

    At first blush, it looks like Donald Maass and Jennifer Jackson share the same e-mail address.

  5. I’m still laughing about the “terrible service” comment.

  6. I’m with Susan and having a good chuckle over the “terrible service” comment. I’m a part of several online author communities and the degree of ignorance or simple wrongheadedness displayed is shocking at times (and other times, downright hilarious). From the point of view of you and your inbox, it must be awfully frustrating!

    Thanks for taking the time to educate the masses. A shame that those “querying blind” aren’t likely to take the time to read your blog!

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