The invaluable Meredith answers the phone in the Lair. If you call me, you get her. Our desks face each other, so I can see her as she talks on the phone.
This morning, I set down my coffee cup about ten seconds into this call:
Meredith: well, we set a goal of answering queries within 30 days, but often times it's much sooner.
Meredith: yes, we understand Important Editor gave you Janet's name
Meredith: well, yes, I review the queries first, and Janet reads them as well.
Meredith: you're welcome to send your query again. It will go through the same review process it did before.
Meredith: Yes, I think you're right.
*nice southern belle phone cradle replacement*
Turns out Querier was CALLING (error #1) because we responded too QUICKLY (error #2) and thus concluded The Shark Herself had not read the query (ERROR #3.)
Compounding her three errors, she wrote back to Important Editor (#ERROR #4) to complain about this foul disrespect of Important Editor's name and referral. Important Editor, who is nothing but the soul of kindness, replied she didn't have any insight on why the querier had been rejected.
And then the Querier forwarded the entire string of emails to me (ERROR #5)
You probably know the basics of why the errors are errors. What you may not realize is that editors don't have any more insight into what agents are looking for than you do. In fact, some editors may have substantially LESS. They aren't tracking our sales, our blogs or our tweets. They're seeing what we send *them* not ALL the projects we're sending out.
I can count on one hand the editors who'd be able to tell you correctly what I'm looking for.
The way to handle referrals is like a bit of a leg up. You mention it in the query. That's IT. It doesn't get you a pass on calling, complaining, or cluelessness.
The last thing the querier said to Mer-Bear before she hung up was "well, I guess you're not the right agency for me" and that, author friends was NOT an ERROR.