letters from the query wars 9.16.2011

# of queries reviewed this week: 262
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 0
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: n/a

Agent Janet Reid recently posted about the no response means no policy that some agents/agencies have. This was somewhat in response to Rachelle Gardner’s post on the same topic in turn commenting on this one from Jill Corcoran. For another opinion, there’s this one from Kristin Nelson.

Plain and simple, here’s how to get a response from me on your query. Send the query letter, first five pages, and a synopsis to query.jjackson@maassagency.com. Put the word query and the title of your novel in the subject line of the email. Do not send attachments of any kind. (Hint: Before clicking on that email address and sending off a query be sure to read my submission guidelines and take a look at the ones on the DMLA website as well. Note that I do not represent non-fiction, memoirs, poetry or children’s picture books.)

And I will make my best effort (barring holidays and unexpected hurricanes and the like) to respond in DMLA’s posted 4 week response time for queries. As it happens, right now, the oldest query in my queue is September 3rd.

As for the kerfluffle about YA LGBTQ, I strongly support diversity in fiction, whether YA or not, whether LGBTQ or not. I do not limit my reading based on gender, orientation, race, culture, or any other characteristic. I’m about the storytelling. Which really, imo, should go without saying.

7 responses to “letters from the query wars 9.16.2011

  1. I love your policy and Janet Reid’s solution is so amazingly simple it is shocking other agents have not figured it out themselves, or at least acknowledging that, “hey, that’s a good idea!”

    As someone who is searching for an agent the idea that I should wait 6 weeks to 2 months to assume that the answer is no means that is an additional 2-4 weeks I could have been querying other agents. It is hardly a secret that a ms one agent hates could be loved by another. I would love a personalized response explaining all the details of why my ms was rejected, but I’m a realist, and a simple 1 second signature form rejection would at least let me know to move on.

  2. For your synopsis, should it be of a particular length?

  3. I have been finding inconsistency in agents listing YA or YA/MG. Some mean YA to include both and some specify. It’s hard to tell which they mean. Querying adult is much easier. 🙂

  4. Agents who respond rock my socks. 😀

  5. Since Jill Corcoran put up that post, she’s also closed herself to submissions outside of referrals, conferences, and published authors. With a strong implication that those who criticized her policy are the reason.

    Her policy and her reasoning (And her polite explanation about why she doesn’t use autoresponses to let people know their submissions did not get caught in a spam trap) all made sense to me, and seemed reasonable and transparent, so this seems like a pity. At best.

    Then again, I haven’t let a “No response = no” policy stop me querying an otherwise suitable agent, even though I strongly prefer a response. Because this is a business and I’ve dealt with enough businesses to know that sometimes policies make more sense from the other side of the desk.

    Still, it’s a shame she decided that being criticized about her reasoning meant she had to change policy entirely.

  6. I’d always thought it was acceptable to query multiple agents at once (but not good practice when submitting to editors for magazine submissions or book publishers). This way, if there is no answer, it is just no answer from the ones who have passed. I’m still free to submit for as long and to as many as I like while waiting for one to ask for an exclusive time-period to review it deeper.

    If there is one particular agent I’d like to pursue, then waiting and not receiving an answer would be more problematic, but only because it disappoints more.

    I’d love feedback on this, in case I’m way off base 🙂

    • I have also heard it is okay to submit queries simultaneously to agents. Another thing I heard recommended if you do, to limit it to groups of approximately 10, so that if you get feedback from any, you can take the time to consider their suggestions and make any changes before submitting to another group.

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