I'm not reading queries this week; I'm catching up on partials and fulls. I am however keeping my emailbox organized by putting all the queries in their own separate folder. That means I'm glancing at them to make sure they're queries, and not really for QueryShark, or replies to old queries, or something other than A Query.
So here's what happened today:
I received a query date stamped 1:10pm. It had an interesting title. I thought "ok, that looks like one I'll want to read." I glanced at the query and it was a total frigging mess. "Dear Sir/Madam", taglines, issues covered, themes covered, and godhelpus, an attachment.
Now, what did I do?
Pause for the theme from Jeopardy to play.
Did I (a) instant reject?
Did I (b) throw it away?
Did I (c) call up the author and berate him/her for being stupid?
For all of you who voted for (d) None of the Above, you are our Grand Prize Winner.
For exactly 72 minutes anyway.
What I did was put the query in my to be read stack.
And then 72 minutes later I got this from the same author:
Subject line: For those liiterary agents who do not even look at the work (sic)
Email: I am still writing 4 more books you will keep getting these queries about every 2-3 months block this email address I will use another one
And that author friends is when the query went to junk. I can and will forgive every single mistake in the query. I will coach you through the query process as much as I can bear. I will do damn near anything to help you if you are writing something I want to read. But I will not extend even a modicum of help for someone who threatens to spamquery me before I've even had a chance to read and reply to the first one.
Here's my guess about what happened: Author sent a pile of queries out today. He got a LOT of auto-responders saying "we're closed to queries till such and such and your query has been deleted."
He got annoyed.
He emailed while annoyed.
And he emailed everyone. Not just the auto responders.
He emailed everyone, including the (at least) one agent who was interested in his book.
The very definition of what-not-to-do.
A quick refresher: I make my living, my ENTIRE living, finding good writers and selling their work. I read every query. I WANT to read your query. But I only want to read it up to the point you haven't demonstrated you are an asshat. For some people it's sooner rather than later. 72 minutes isn't the world's record, but it's certainly the record for this week since I'm not even READING queries!