When I send you a note and tell you that I have decided to pass on your query:
Okay, taking my curmudgeonly and sick self to bed now.
- Do not write back and thank me for the rejection: While I understand that your mama raised you right and I do appreciate your good manners, a thank you isn't necessary. My in-box is full of enough things for me to read and those half-seconds that it takes me to open and then discard your email really add up. The whole point of e-queries is to expedite the process, for you and for me. [Caveat: It's not that I hate being thanked; it's just that I think you should wait until I have done something to actually deserve your thanks.]
- Do not write me to ask me why I am passing on your query: The fact is that I've made my decision. Deal with it and move on. It certainly isn't a value judgment on you or your book. And your life will be all the sweeter if you just take a deep breathe and let it go. Seriously. Also? You'll find that a pint of Ben & Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk often helps.
- Do not send me passive-aggressive notes hinting that perhaps I haven't read your query deeply enough and if I'd just take a second look...: While this might make you feel better, it only annoys me and then I will be forced to amuse myself by adding your email address to my spam filter.
- If I have taken the time to actually point out that you really need to work on your query letter, it means exactly what it says: Don't ask me for an in-depth analysis of your query letter. I am not your writing instructor. I am not your therapist. I am not your girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, partner, dom, squeeze, insurance salesman, hedgefund broker, grandmother or life coach. I'm just an agent. My job is to find those writers whose work is already professional and polished so that I can do my best to present that work to an editor at a publishing house in the hopes of helping those writers start a career. Your job is to get your writing - including your query letter - up to that professional and polished level. Before you hit "send".