Some days back someone asked me if I was going to continue the query wars posts. I realized at that point that I’d somewhat inadvertently taken the summer off.
Bless me writers — it has been far too many queries since my last posting. I’m afraid I must admit that I became a touch discouraged at continuing this ongoing set of entries and talking about queries received as the number of them which don’t even make the vaguest attempt to follow guidelines seems to have risen dramatically. Some of them have been the usual sort — no sample pages, everything as an attachment, and so on. They make it harder to give each one a fair assessment, but one tries regardless. Others should have never made it to my inbox at all (e.g. the self-help dating book, the poetry, and additional categories that are listed online as not for me).
There’s also been an increasing number of what we generally refer to as “pre-queries.” Most of these fall into the category of those who would rather ask for guidelines than do a quick search online. Some of them of late have wanted feedback on ideas — before the novels are even begun. (Sidebar: Insert essay on the question of whether ideas or execution factor more highly into whether a book might find a publisher.)
Enough of this shows up daily to slow down responses to those who follow the guidelines and are seeking representation for projects that fall into my wide and varied genre interests. So I used to write about those that didn’t in what I intended as an effort to help everyone. It was supposed to get me more of the kinds of queries I wanted and less of those that I did not. It was supposed to help writers more expediently find a good match for their work and succeed in getting representation. Of course, the flaw in this plan in that those not taking the time to do the little bit of research to find guidelines desperately hidden in plain sight on the internet are in all likelihood also not finding these “query wars” entries.
All this is by way of saying I’m rethinking my approach. I’ve got some ideas and I’m mulling them over, probably for a few more weeks. However, I’d also welcome feedback from the trenches, so to speak. Whether you’ve already queried or are about to query or have just begun writing and may plan to query some day down the road. If you were on the agent side of the so-called query wars, how would you approach it?