Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ceci n'est pas une query***

Hi Janet,
I wrote a great novel. Want to read it?

Hi Janet,
can I send you a query letter?

I am struggling to get my incoming email file under 200 unanswered emails. Right now it's a losing battle, and the only people who are more frustrated about this than I am, are the people waiting to hear back from me.

I've made a commitment to answer every query. It may not be the answer you want, but I will answer. I will not let silence = no thanks.

The flip side of our deal is you gotta send me a real query letter.

This half -assed crap doesn't cut it.

It has to say my name. (No"Dear Agent")
It has to be addressed only to me (no long string of bcc names)
It has to be a real query letter.

If it doesn't meet all three of those criteria, I reserve the right to delete it unanswered and with no apology.

This isn't complex.
This isn't unusual.

And I really don't think it's too much to ask.
If you do, query someone else.



Liana Brooks said...


Here, have a fresh baked cookie and back away from the computer. Where is the clue-by-four when you really need it, right?

Anne-Marie said...

As my French mother might say, bon sang!

Janet, you might need to publish a "Getting an Agent for Dummies" manual.


Sandra Cormier said...

I admire your determination to answer all queries but I wouldn't expect you to answer all emails, especially the ones that don't count as queries.

Some of those are probably just chit chat (I'm guilty of that) or half-hearted attempts to get your attention before the real query dribbles through.

Gina Black said...

Ceci n'est pas une comment.

Rick Daley said...

Je n'vais pas a la bibliotheque avec vous c'est sior, n'est pas?

I remember that from eighth grade French. I'm pretty sure it means "I am not going top the library with you tonight, yes / no?"

I also remember merde. Cussing in French was really cool in eighth grade.

I don't know how to say this in French, so here goes in English:

You deserve a Scotch.

Travis Erwin said...

Seems fair to me.

BJ said...

Janet a besoins d'un Scotch.

Okay, so it doesn't mean she deserves one. Just means she needs one. And it may not be the most grammatically correct. I last took French in 1984.

Je ne peut pas parle le francais tres bien. Pas du tout.

Unknown said...

People who send in query letters like the ones you mention deserve no better.

Sara J. Henry said...

Rick - I cannot help myself - I think it would be

Je ne vais pas à la bibliothèque avec toi ce soir, n'est-ce pas?

Or avec vous if it's more than one person, or someone you would use the formal vous with.

About Me said...

Je parle un peu francais, mais je sais seulement de mauvais mots.

Rick, is 'merde' all you know? I'm going to have to teach you more 'cuss words ;)

ryan field said...

Qu'est-ce qui se?

At least they could mention the title.

Sarah Jensen said...

Am I the only one here who does not speak or type french? I can ask someone to go to be with me, but have no clue as to how to spell it. :)
Anyway, I can't believe people still do that? Common sense people! Common Sense!

Margaret Yang said...

I think Chumplet said it best: answering all queries, yes. Answering all e-mails, not so much. Seems more than fair.

Jolie said...

Ceci n'est pas une snorfle!

Elissa M said...

Je ne parle pas Francais.
Ich sprechen kein Deutshe.
No habla Espanol.

And I pronounce them worse than I spell them. The response I've gotten every time I've used these phrases has been: "Ah! You're American!"

But I do speak, read, and write English in a manner that most English speakers understand. Which, apparently, puts me ahead of some of the folks who email you.

Anonymous said...

I will not let silence = no thanks. This is one of the reasons you = awesome.

lotusgirl said...

Seems only fair that you should require a real query before you will to treat it as such.

I just have to say, nice use of Magritte.

Kathryn Hupp-Harris said...

Itquay eakingspay enchFray.


Thank you for making the commitment to answer every e-mailed query.

If I query you, I will follow your requests.

amberargyle said...

I'll tell you what. I'll answer all of your emails for you for the next year. All I ask in return is representation.

A Paperback Writer said...

Wow. This just makes me feel so sophisticated. After all, I knew enough after taking 8th grade English to know that a business letter ought to be short, sweet, formal, and to the point.
Maybe some of these folks never had 8th grade English.

Janny said...

Rats! Amber Lynn stole my idea!
Can you use TWO of us to answer said e-mails?

(Sacre bleu!)