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Query Recap

Back by popular demand, another look into my query inbox . . .

In one day I received 61 emails that were either labeled “query” or “submission,” which automatically relegates them to my query inbox. Note, by labeling your query this way (as per our website) you almost eliminate any possibility of it getting lost in spam. I have set all guidelines on my server and my email program to push those through.

2 of those emails were thank-you emails for previous rejections.

1 email included a partial I had previously requested.

18 emails were for nonfiction, the rest were fiction queries.

Of the 55 queries, I rejected 54. Which means I requested the partial for one book. It was fiction.

1 query was rejected without being read because it was sent in an attachment rather than in the body of the email. Later in the day, the author re-sent the material in the body of the email (I had sent an email response explaining our guidelines). As per our website, I will not open unrequested attachments (query letters). I do, however, insist that all requested material come as an attachment. This allows me to transfer it to my Kindle for reading.

1 email did not contain a query letter, only a synopsis. It was rejected.

1 pitch stated facts about our agency incorrectly. The author said that she was querying because she knew we focused primarily on YA. Not true. This happens frequently and I don’t really care, just find it interesting. If you’re going to make a statement about an agency please make sure you have your facts straight. I imagine that during the query process it’s easy to get agents confused.

3 queries sounded very, very familiar. I suspect the author was either resending in the hopes I would reconsider or had not kept very good records and forgot she had sent before.

And last, it took me two days to get through all of these queries. I sat to review them in three different sittings. Each sitting lasted anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour.

Jessica

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17 comments

  1. On the day in question 55 people sent an email along with the hopes and dreams getting published imbues. When they tapped send, many thought of how different 'the writing life' would be after obtaining an agent.

    Some really didn't give much hope because they had tapped send many, many, times before.

    A few pinned it all on that email because Jessica is their dream agent.

    A couple of them actually believed this was their moment and they could look their friends and family in the eye and say, 'see it's not all a waste of time.'

    One and only one got VALIDATED,and a chance for another day…WOW!
    I hope that 'one' realizes how lucky, and GOOD they really are.

    Usually I have some sort of smart-alec comment, but not today. I wasn't 'the one' because I got rejected weeks ago.

    I think I'll tap 'publish your comment' now.
    See…I told you I'd be published.

  2. I always find this so interesting. We send out queries but most of the time can only imagine what the agent on the other side is doing. And when it's been months without response- we have to wonder if they have been lost to an uberuniverse. It's reassuring to know that in most cases, there's just too many to get to but they are being seen.

  3. Thank you for taking the time to explain the process from your view.
    This provides the writer with an understanding of how hard you work.

  4. Hi Jessica!
    Does that mean if I sent a query on 5/24 and haven't heard back yet, it means you didn't get it?

    It was sent with query in the subject line, and contained a query embedded in the body of the e-mail…

    Thanks for the stats again, it's always interesting (and dare I say, encouraging!)

  5. wry wryter, way to add a personal emotional touch. We all go through them hoping that, eventually, we will be that ONE. Keep refining, editing, and above all trying.

    These post do serve to give an understanding and respect for what the agents, whom we relentlessly query, go through every day.

    Thank you for sharing, Jessica.

  6. Thanks for sharing Jessica. 1 out of 55 is very intimidating. I can't help but wonder if there are certain days or seasons where you get less queries. Like a Tuesday? Or during the summer when people are out more? Just a thought… 🙂

  7. I love these "behind the scenes" posts that allow us a glimpse into the life and work of an agent. Sure, the statistics and numbers can be intimidating, but I also think they can be motivating. Posts like this also drive home how much you and your colleagues must truly love what you do.

    Thank you for sharing this with us!

  8. What about proposals/partials, or fulls? I’m curious how many of each of those you have, and how far they date back.

  9. Thanks for the recap, Jessica. Altho I am also confused in regards to your YA policy: on the BookEnds submissions page, it does say you accept Young Adult manuscripts, but I know you've said in previous posts that you do not personally rep YA. Is that Kim? I did not see it mentioned in her agent blurb.

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