Friday, January 02, 2009
So, How can I drive you crazy today?
I've spent quite a lot of time ranting and raving about things that make me crazy in query letters.
Let's start 2009 off right with a little list of the things agents do that drive you nutso. These are responses to a question I asked on Twitter a while back:
1. Agents who do not respond to queries. As in, silence equals "no." This is especially annoying when there's another agent at the same agency whom you want to query next, and there's no way to be completely sure how much "black hole of silence" time needs to pass before it's kosher to query the next agent. (every single person who answered me mentioned this one)
Agents who don't answer equeries they aren't interested in should have an auto responder so that we writers know our query was actually received and not lost into cyber-ether.
Agents who say they do respond to all queries (even equeries) never respond. When their web page says that they respond and they don't I feel snubbed. When they say they don't respond unless interested I assume rejection. You'd think that it would be in the best interest of the agent to respond in some way, even if it is an auto response, to prevent writers from requerying them over and over, assuming their mails were getting lost.
2. Agents who do not respond to status checks on requested material. I don't mean neurotic emails sent only three days after the partial was mailed off. I mean waiting a decent interval, politely status querying, and receiving nothing.
3. Agents who do not respond to requested material. Ever. As if they'd never asked and you'd never sent.
4. Agents who use form rejections for requested fulls. You've come this far and can't plug in the author's first name, at the very least? Rejection's part of the game, but this is beyond the bounds of decency. Especially if the full was hard copy. I've paid for you to read it -- can you at least call me by name when you tell me "no thanks?"
5. Agents who do not accept e-queries. I'm sorry, it's time to move into the millennium.
6. Agents who request some sort of release form (usually electronic) before they'll read your submission. To someone well-seasoned, this isn't a big deal. To a newbie who's already nervous, this is a stumbling block. And a bit stupid.
So, what else should be on the list?
Fill up the comment column.