Sunday, May 11, 2008

Wishful thinking, or query marathon over!

Well, I didn't quite make it to every query submitted prior to April 15th. But I did end up reading well over 200 queries this weekend. The rest will have to wait until after next weekend, as I'm going to focus on partials and manuscripts this week.

Patience, gang. There are only so many hours in a day and reading queries isn't the only thing I do.

What I did want to point out is this: of the 200+ queries I read this weekend, more than half of them bore no resemblance to an actual query letter. Meaning that it was apparent to me that little or no thought had gone into writing them. A fair number of them began with "Dear Sir or Madame". And three of them were simply letters telling me how totally awesome the writer's book was and could I please write back and tell them how to submit a query? (Dude, if you can't be bothered to Google me and find my submission guidelines, you really don't deserve a response.)

Sigh.

However, while I often share agent Nathan Bransford's dismay at the state of dreadful query letters I've been receiving, I do want to thank those of you who not only put real thought into writing your queries and pitches, but actually made a genuine effort to research my submission guidelines and personalize your query letters a little, too.

Maybe you think I don't notice. I do. Even if you received a rejection from me, I did notice all the effort that went into your query. And ultimately that effort is what will help you finally land the right agent for your project.

Okay, I need chocolate now. And I have to (shudder!) iron a pair of slacks for a meeting tomorrow. God help me, this is job forces me to iron! Whiskey tango foxtrot??? There oughta be a law...grumble grumble...

11 comments:

hldyer said...

Hmmm... a slacks-level meeting sounds important. Good luck. :)

My condolences on the ironing though.

leesmiley said...

You're quite welcome, and thank you in kind for the wonderful (not to mention speedy) response.

Arachne Jericho said...

Sounds like the lessons of Miss Snark fade quickly.

annathepiper said...

Thank you for keeping us posted, and count me as another reader interested in agent query stats. Those sorts of posts here as well as on other agent blogs I visit have helped give me a much better picture of what exactly agents do, and I very much appreciate the enlightenment.

Karen Duvall said...

The rest of us really like bad query-writers because that cuts back the competition. Bwahahahahha! 8^) But seriously, these folks need serious help and it's a good thing more conferences are offering query-writing workshops, and there are finally contests coming about that focus only on the query and synopsis. Both of these resources are going to be a huge help to the clueless querier.

Lily said...

Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot!! I laughed so hard when I read this. Oscar, Mike, Golf!

cindy said...

wow, that's some query reading streak! and don't they make no-need-to iron materials in this day and age? ironing is against my religion. of laziness.

Adaora A. said...

LOL! Query Stats help the blogging agent's world go around.

Drink some chardonnay (if you prefer white) or manchewitz (if you like a sweet red). Will probably take the edge off of the ironing. This is why I don't wear pants. My dreses and skirts don't need ironing. The shirts to accompany my skirts require no fuss at all. Not that I'm trying to rub it in your face or anything. ^_'

KingM said...

Having once read slush, I think the only way to stay on top is to read a regular amount of time every single day. Otherwise, you will eventually get to a time when you will get lazy for a few days or weeks and then you're overwhelmed.

The other thing is the old early bird chestnut. If a good query goes out to ten agents, five request fulls and three offer, the agent who waits 6-8 weeks before responding is going to lose out to the person who responds to queries in 3 days and fulls in 2 weeks. The amount of time spent on reading is the same for both agents, but the slower agent gets the leftovers.

Wilhelm said...

The query stats are really interesting. Thank you for posting them.

Justin said...

Hey Ms. Lindsay,

I just wanted to say that even though I get a rejection letter from you this past weekend, this post helped soften the blow. It's really discouraging to spend hours, days, or even weeks refining and repolishing a query to get a rejection in response, but it really makes things easier knowing that some agents can at least see the genuine effort put in, and appreciate it, even if they do turn it down. So thanks a bunch, and good luck. Maybe I'll have better luck next time.