All agents post a lot on our blogs about the things writers do wrong in their queries. Certainly we’ve posted the “rules” for writing a query, but since we’re constantly bombarded with new and creative ways to screw up a query, those are the things that you see most frequently. After one such post of what not to do one commenter wrote, “The fact that you (and every other literary agent) have to deal with this makes me angry, because it just makes it that much harder for those of us who follow guidelines and present ourselves professionally. Agents are burned out by those that don’t by the time they get to those of us that do!”
And I wanted to make a correction to this writer’s statement. In fact, these errors do not make it harder for you. They make it easier for us to reject queries and clear out our in-box. They make us want to see something great and those really awful queries mean that when something great crosses our desk we get that much more excited. There’s no doubt that agents get fatigued by the vast numbers of queries we receive. They are part of our job, yes, and we want to receive queries because queries mean possibilities, but in any job there are things that can easily become overwhelming, things that will seemingly never go away (my filing is another example). It doesn’t make them bad, it just is what it is. Queries are the last things on our priority list and yet they are the one thing that builds up the quickest.
Anyway, back to my point. Don’t get discouraged by the writers who don’t seem to want to learn how to go about getting published. Instead, look at what an advantage you have by making an effort that many don’t want to bother making.