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When an Agent’s Inbox is Empty

One of my goals for 2017 was an empty inbox, and I succeeded. By the end of 2017 I had answered all queries and read all submissions. I was pretty proud of this goal and, I’m not going to lie, I might have bragged a little about this feat. Now though, I’m paying the price for that bragging.

What I hadn’t expected coming into 2018 was how depressing an empty inbox would be for me. Every day I open it and seeing only a handful of queries and submissions, and being on top of them all, bums me out. My Query Manager is like a treasure chest for me. It’s full of discovery and potential, it has stories and authors and dreams. You know how you feel when you walk into a library or bookstore, that heart-filling feeling of excitement? That’s what my query inbox is for me. Every day I think that somewhere in there is my next great read, my next discovery, my next client, and my next sale. These days though, it feels a little like walking into a bookstore that’s closing for business. It’s empty, with only a few scattered books here and there, and not a lot to browse or explore. It makes my heart sad.

Authors hear so much about the downside of queries, the wrongs they make when querying, but those queries are everything to an agent. Without them we wouldn’t have clients, without clients we wouldn’t have careers. As the year goes on I know my inbox is going to fill up and there will be days when I fall behind and am a little slow to respond. I can’t wait.

Category: Faust



  1. I’ve a few mg books and a couple of picture books and haven’t sent many submissions for a while. Will get my act together.

  2. Thank you for your words Jessica. The authors who work with you are very fortunate to have someone with such integrity and honest to goodness passion for the art of writing.

  3. Oh, that’s so sad. I’ve followed your blog for a few years now and you’ve always been a positive energy to aim towards.
    It’s one of the things I love about Bookends.
    That you’re sad because you don’t have piles and piles of submissions to play in speaks so highly of both you and bookends, all your authors are very lucky.

  4. Yup, what 2NS said. Although I would bet after posting this you won’t have an empty inbox for long…

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