Sunday, February 22, 2009

Updated Submission Guidelines:

I've updated my submission guidelines, both here and on AgentQuery. If you're a writer thinking about querying me, please do take a moment to look them over carefully. The primary change is the addition of this sentence:

Queries that disregard my submission guidelines will no longer be guaranteed a response.

I'm currently receiving more than 500 queries per week. With so many of you working hard to write good queries that actually do take my submission guidelines into account, it's unfair of me to spend any time at all on those writers who don't bother to do their homework. This is my way of thinning out the herd.

Also, if you do receive a rejection from me, please don't email me to ask me why I passed, how you can fix your manuscript, or for recommendations to any other agents. I simply don't have time to answer your questions, period. Additionally, it's not necessary to email me a thank you. While I appreciate the sentiment, it's just another unnecessary email taking a chunk of time out of my day.

Now, back to the in-box!

11 comments:

deltay said...

Ah, that definitely sounds more than fair.

And it's great that you've cleared up the "no need for a thank-you" -- I always wonder about those. On one hand, it feels right to thank somebody for their time, right? But on the other, I don't want to bother them more times than necessary, especially if they're already so busy...

Melissa said...

Yeah, I've always wondered about that. I don't want to add to agents' inboxes but I do want to be polite and thank people for their time. Querying is the one situation where I've learned to just leave well enough alone when I get a rejection.

The exception being the rare occasion when an agent is considering a full, then I get a bit more chatty. (Writing to thank them for their time, asking for clarification if I have any questions about how to send the materials, etc.)

notanotherexit said...

Deltay you can always throw a thank you right into the salutations of your query letter, to help assuage guilty tendencies. Does that sound about right, Colleen, or are you opposed to that?

Elissa M said...

I haven't queried you yet, but to avoid filling your inbox with unnecessary thank you's, I thank you now for your lovely form rejection.

Stephanie Gunn said...

Personally, I really love it when agents do reply, even if it's "just" a form R. But with the amount of queries you get, I don't blame you at all if you end up deciding to not reply to queries you have no interest in - it's something that could be easily reported on the blog (such as, you've caught up to queries sent by 1st Jan, if you haven't heard it's a R). Ultimately, you have to keep yourself sane!

Magaly Guerrero said...

Fair is fair.

Sherry Ficklin said...

You could always adopt a 4wks=no policy. Some agents use this, and I don't mind, as long as I have a time limit. It would seriously save on your inbox lifespan!

clindsay said...

Sherry -

I'm trying to avoid that. Right now it's taking me as long as three months to get to some queries, simply due to the sheer volume.

C-

selestial-owg said...

I think what you are doing is more than fair. Too many people are sending queries randomly and filling up agents' boxes with junk. That isn't fair to the agents or to the people who are sending in more thoughtful queries.

Personally, I prefer this over the no reply route for the simple reason that with no reply, the author can be left wondering if the query even made it to the agent (or if it was sucked in by the dreaded spam filter). Which, in the long run, could feasibly lead to more e-mails to check on queries.

I hope people start getting a grip and things start levelling out.

danceluvr said...

Ms. Lindsay,

I read your guidelines and have one question. When you say YA, does that include middle grade?

Thanks!

Rene said...

Thank you. I found this very helpful in terms of the different approaches to non-fiction. But a question, the guidelines changed right after I sent in my query...should i requery in the correct fashion or is it grandfathered in?