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Every Submission Deserves Attention

Recently this query came through our transom (great word).

Thank you for viewing this query. I have a request, if this query, and the contents of this package has been put in a slush pile; please stop reading. This material isn’t for you. Here is why, what I’ve written, what I’ve sent is very special, deserves attention. It does not deserve to just be thrown into a pile and forgotten about. Thank You for your understanding.

Almost every query is in the slush pile. Slush pile by its definition is the place where unsolicited material lands. Unless you received a request for a query or we reached out to you, you start in slush. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s where almost everyone starts.

At BookEnds we believe strongly in giving every query and every author the attention they deserve. That does not mean we read the entire query or the entire manuscript, but we do read enough to make an informed decision. If you’re sending me a “children’s picture book” reading those three words is enough attention. I don’t rep that, I’ll reject it. If you’re query intrigues me I’ll request more material. And I’ll read it. I’ll even respond because at BookEnds we always respond.

Don’t start out your query on the defensive, assuming that every agent is out to treat you badly. We’re not. We want a fabulous client list and to get that we need authors and to get authors we need queries. We even need a slush pile. Instead of telling us your work is special, show us.

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6 comments

  1. …I’m pleased that someone wrote to you concerning his/her work as being ” very special and deserves attention ” and I also like your polite and clear declaration that the writer should not begin a query letter on the defensive.
    I believe agents know that writers do not just send out query letters to any of the staff ( I certainly don’t ) of a company they find in ” Guide to Literary Agents ” or Google agent etc.
    For instance,I chose you,Ms.Faust according to your credentials and receptiveness to consider thrillers,mystery,psychological thriller,and strong female protagonist.
    These categories are the heart of my book, “UNDER THE OVERPASS ” intertwined at a relentless pace.
    On April 25th you wrote back that ” You just weren’t hooked enough to ask for more ”
    Should I have carpet-bombed the query letter with enough adjectives to light up the page…NO ! I take my work seriously enough to not try to be a professional dust jacket hack.I wish you would have gotten through chapter 1 and 2
    You might have been very surprised………..

    Jose

  2. Cold querying starts you off in the slush pile–that’s a given. Unfortunately, sometimes writers can get so emotionally attached to their story, it becomes their baby. I can understand how this writer feels. The only way out is to write something else while querying that (hopefully) finished novel. It helps cut the umbilical cord.

  3. Jessica you have hit the nail on the head. One of the biggest problems, I certainly have, authors have is grasping show don’t tell. Clearly that goes for querys as well.

    Jose
    I haven’t read your work and I’m not a thriller type of girl. However if you say Jessica needed to get through the first two chapters, that tells me you know, at least on some level, there are problems with them.

    Maybe look at why that is, jiggle things around a bit and try again.

  4. Just a quick comment from an author who makes sure she has edited her work very carefully before submitting anywhere. Please read, VERY CAREFULLY, your own paragraph above that starts with: “At Bookends, we believe strongly…” There is a glaring grammatical error in this paragraph that immediately creates suspicion in my mind about the professionalism of the writer.

    1. Thank you. As I’ve pointed out repeatedly in the blog, I am not a writer. My number one priority is to represent my authors, negotiate contracts and sell books. If you want to scrutinize you will see a lot of errors throughout the blog. Posts are often written at 4 in the morning as my coffee is brewing and my day is starting. All I can do is apologize and hope that people will accept that I’m working without a net (no editor, no beta readers, and not a lot of time for careful review). Just as I excuse typos and errors in queries and manuscripts, I like to assume that authors will excuse the same from me. If not, we’re not a good fit.

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