Your query says a lot about you, as the author and as a person, then I think most realize. When reading a query I definitely focus on the blurb. My first goal is a great book. In addition to that however, I also get a really good idea of who this author is to work with, which, in any business parternship, is as important at the product.
Recently I closed to fiction queries except for referrals. I’ve been busy with new clients, current clients and my work at BookEnds (watch for some fun new changes). So in an effort to continue to bring my best self to work (and not get overwhelmed), I am taking a break from fiction queries.
Any guess as to how many people still query and tag their book “fiction–referral only” without a referral? How about 3-5 every day.
The whole thing just irks me to no end. In my effort to be very clear and kind about my availability there are about 15-20 people each week who feel they’re above that. That they somehow are more special than everyone else who is moving on to another agent.
I have always been kind and generous in my letters, responding to every query I receive and these authors will get the same. A response, but not one that’s nearly as generous as those who show me the respect I show them.
In my response, I’m not offering that these authors query other agents at BookEnds and I’m not suggesting they query me when I’m open. To be honest, I’m not reading the queries at all and I don’t want to see them again.
What Your Query Says About You
If you show me that you have no respect for my time and my wishes with our very first interaction, I can only deduce that as we become more comfortable with each other you’ll also be more comfortable disrespecting my boundaries.
An author-agent relationship is a business partnership and as such there has to be a professional level of respect for the partnership to work. That means respecting boundaries, among other things.