1.A QUERY ONLY between 7pm and 8pm Eastern
1. B Your query is date stamped when my mail server gets it. We've seen some queries disqualified because they were sent too close to 8pm and my mail server didn't suck them up in time. Send closer to 7 for best luck.
1. C In this one instance and this instance alone, you can requery the following week. Generally you will NOT requery unless I say to do so. This is querying for real, and you don't requery unless invited as a general rule.
2. MUST have "Chum Bucket" in the subject line.
This is your agreement you want a personal reply. The ONE person (so far anyway) who replied testily was a querier who queried during the time period but without the subject line. (I sent her a form rejection and told her to replace the email with helpful info with this new one--yes I was annoyed.)
3. Query only if you're ready to send a manuscript THAT MINUTE.
I'm reading these when you send them and replying soon after. Be READY.
4. Query for anything you want but here are the things I'm not actively looking for:
A. Anything YA. I've sold YA but it was for clients I signed for adult projects. YA is not a strong category for me, and you'd be better off with a hotshot agent like Suzie Townsend at New Leaf for your YA stuff. Or Holly Root at Waxman. Or several others who are Amazing.
B. Anything paranormal, or supernatural. I don't read enough of this category to represent it well. Look for an agent who does.
C. Science fiction or fantasy. Again, not something I read a lot of so you need someone who knows the category.
D. Horror. I represent one of the very best horror writers around too, but frankly, the writing scares the crap out of me, so one is enough.
E. Suspense. Psychological, romantic or otherwise. Again, it scares me. Yes I am a wuss. Sad but true.
5. Here are the things I'm actively looking for:
A. Narrative non-fiction, principally history and biography.
B. High concept crime thrillers
C. Astonishing-mind boggling-throw-your-hands-up-with-joy at the beauty of the writing literary fiction.
6. This experiment depends on a social contract that you will not respond to me with some invective laden email. You can write it. You just can't send it. If you want to reply, I'm glad to hear from you but I'd really REALLY appreciate it not being hostile.
And I mean it when I say it's ok to reply here. I've learned some valuable things and one of them led to yesterday's blog post about how to query memoir.
7. I'm not advertising Chum Bucket far and wide. I want to limit the people who participate to those who read this blog and follow me on twitter. It improves the chances the interactions will be civil, and also that the queries will be real. Thus, NOT talking about it on writer chat boards is strongly encouraged.
After almost two years, I think this is not an experiment!
I should also say I love doing this. LOVE doing it. It's honest to god fun to talk to you, and some of the things you write back are words I will treasure forever. It's amazing to be able to help people. It's amazing to break down some of the barriers that we've put up. It's amazing just to TALK to you when you aren't petrified and I'm not tired/annoyed/
Questions? Comments? Bar suggestions? Feel free to let fly in the comments section here. I'll add to the FAQ as needed.