Monday, April 20, 2009

Queries

I must take a moment to talk about Queries.  Because the internet is big and wide and endless and there is conflicting information about whether or not I respond to e-queries that I'm not interested in.  I wish I could blame this inconsistency on someone else, but it's my fault.  In a blog post from a year ago I wrote:

"I don't respond to e-queries that I'm not interested in. This is because at least 1 in every 5 writers e-mails me back to argue with my form letter, or to ask indignantly, "did you actually read my query?" and I have this stupid urge to write back and say something like "Read it? Your query and I have run off and joined the circus together. We are very happy. I hope you find similar fulfillment." Clearly, this is a vicious cycle that must be avoided, and I can't always trust my professionalism to win out over my idiotic creative impulses."

This was true at one time.  But not anymore.  I have been responding to every e-query I receive since last summer or so.  Because it makes me feel better about myself.  Really, I don't want to be that person who doesn't respond; I don't want to leave people hanging.   But there are rules.  You have to address the e-query to me.  And the e-query has to be for a book.  Simple rules, but they disqualify about 10% of the e-queries I receive.

Our agency website is and always has been up-to-date when it comes to what we do with e-queries.  But I want to be consistent, hence this post.

Writers have pointed out that I have exceeded the 4 week response time as stated on our agency website.  Sadly, this is true.  As the astute blog reader will have guessed from my previous post, I have a baby.  For the time being, I am no longer working nights and weekends. This has really cut into my Time for Queries.  My response time is currently closer to 10 weeks, but I am catching up.  There is some really great stuff in my inbox. If you are a writer who has sent me a query letter, or is considering it, I ask for your patience for the next month or two.

If you are a reader and wondering if I'll ever post about a book you want to read again, (i.e., a book that has nothing to do with pregnancy or babies), I will, and in the meantime, I promise not to say a damn word about The Happiest Baby on the Block.  

21 comments:

Travis Erwin said...

Congrats on becoming a mom.

magolla said...

What? You mean you don't breast feed at three in the morning and answer queries? Pfftt! You'll never be uber agent. :-)
Congrats on being mom--it's a tough job. Oh, I discovered old Julia Child shows on the Food Network running in the middle of the night, but that was eight years ago.
Check word: Cyantine--of bluish color or used to kill someone. You pick.

Dawn said...

Congratulations on the little one. Great post.

Nixy Valentine said...

When you and the Query Circus come to the UK, will you be sure and let me know? I'd love to see it in action. =)

JMK said...

There is so much chatter on the web, blogs, PMP, and any vehicle that "runs on writing and publishing" about what's happening today. Very little of any "words of wisdom" pertain to what to gear up for in the coming months. By coming months I mean 2011, 2012.
The car's that are on the drawing pad in Detroit, Japan, Germany and everywhere else where "plans for the Auto' are dreamed and set into motion are for product several years from now. One of the admonitions I hear from the "blogging agents" is start you next book now if you are having trouble selling the one you've been working on for the past years. Start it for what market? Plan for the publishing/agenting business to be the same lack luster organ it is now? Come on, publishing moguls, tell us where you're going to be in 48 months. What will a query letter look like then? Or will it be the current agents who are querying for positions in the future.

Anonymous said...

JMK--

If it's so difficult, how is it that so many other writers have found success? Maybe they spend more time creating the future than complaining about not being able to predict it.

darkened_jade said...

I don't understand why someone would send an email arguing about a rejection. Send your query, get form rejections letter, move on. What are they hoping to achieve by arguing? Do they really think that somehow their beligerent belly-aching will make you change your mind? Sorry, don't get it.

Justina said...

You mentioned the Happiest Baby on the Block...a friend of ours gave us the DVD when I had my daughter. Srsly, I almost fell over laughing when he started Shushing at those poor babies. And the parents' faces were priceless.

It didn't work at all for my daughter, but at least the video was thirty minutes of chees-tastic hilarity.

nkrell said...

Good for you on reading up on baby books. I am ashamed to say that I actually read more about how to train my new puppy than how to raise my children. The funny thing is...several tips in The Dog Listener have actually worked on my children. Go figure.

Jordan said...

You could connect your e-mailers to other outlets, like writing contests and such. Narrative Magazine is offering a few different contests right now and I'm sure your readers would like to submit something.

Jim said...

Come on...query's have been discussed and discussed...isn't there a step two?

Flavio Q Crunk said...

You need to blog more, woman.

Anonymous said...

My son is now 3...I loved that book (VHS) which were gifts from my shower...did I mention I'd never have gotten through his first few months without it?

JMK said...

Wow a blog about queries..how quaint

dailydialect said...

Congratulations on your baby! My little guy is almost two and that happiest baby book didn't work on him either--but the happiest TODDLER on the block does work and I highly recommend it. Take your time catching up. It is stressful enough having the baby. I nursed and watched movies for months when he was little. I even finally saw Laurence of Arabia.

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AchingHope said...

Awwww... Babies! :) Babies are much more important than query letters. And they are cuter, and messier (sometimes), and... ahem. Good luck on the parenting and the answering queries! :)

Nick Saw said...

Cheers to you for responding. Nothing is worse than nothing.

Richard said...

As someone who is still refining his novel, it is nice to know that you are committed to responding. I'm sorry that people argue with you. I feel like that's useless.

Even if it takes you longer than 4 weeks, I'll be happy to hear from you after I query! Anything is better than nothing.