That's probably true.
If you know I'm not looking for SF and you write SF, well, you know not to query me.
I want you to query me. With anything. Agents who carp about writers querying them need to remember who writes the ransom notes** around here. It's not me.
What if you have the category wrong? At least 35.24% of queries have what I'd call the wrong category listed in their queries.
Aw c'mon SharkForBrains, you say. Surely we all know what SF is?
So, is Patrick Lee's The Breach SF? Is Runner SF or a thriller.
Is Steve Forti's account of his time in the flash fiction pits of Carkoon a memoir or a dystopian thriller?
This is one time where you really don't want to assume you're right.
And what if I say I'm full up on horror writers, repping as I do two of the very finest, but you're a writer with a contract in hand, and as it turns out I love your voice, and you're a pretty hilarious guy...well, yes, I want you on the list and aren't I glad you ignored "no more horror."
I think the don't query me for lists are helpful, but way too many of you self-select out of my query pile.
That's my loss.
Again, that's MY loss.
And if you think I like that, well, you're new here, aren't you?
There's literally no cost to querying me.
Even if I say no, you haven't shot your chances with any other agent here at New Leaf. We simply ask you to query us one at a time, with 30 days between queries.
"I don't want to waste your time/an agent's time" is something I hear when I've said this kind of thing before. Please pause for a moment so I can bop you on the bean with a nerf bat.
You're not wasting my time if you send me a thoughtful, well-written query. Not now. Not ever. Not even if it's for dino porn, kale haiku, or the Annotated Lyrics to Louie, Louie.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words:
when asked what writing paid best, Harry Zimm famously replied "Ransom notes"
which I think is so funny I try to work it into a blog post at least once a year.
Also if you don't know who Harry Zimm is, we can't be friends anymore til you fix that.