Friday, July 17, 2009

Let's review

You've sent a query.

You haven't heard back.
Not so excellent.

Here are your choices:

A: lie on the floor, drum your heals heels**, wail like a toddler;

B: email again asking if I've gotten the query;

C: email again, mentioning you haven't heard from me therefore I must not have received it.

What's the right answer?



It's a trick question of course.

It's the right answer because the other two involve emailing me, and that makes them the WRONG ANSWER.

Smart queriers, those of you who read this and other agent blogs, and pay attention, know that you give agents THIRTY DAYS on a query.

Even if they are super-speedy sometimes.
Even if they post tallies of queries received and answered.

This is an unbreakable rule: I do NOT want to hear from you about your query until 30 days have gone by. After that, email to say you haven't heard and include the query again.

There are NO exceptions to this: NONE.

If I've sent you a request for a full, and I haven't heard from you, I WILL followup. In fact, if I don't hear from you after several attempts, I'll post it on this blog, find you, sign you and sell you. Just ask Gary Corby.

I'm sounding rather desperate about this because I am. My email situation is making me crazy. Right now I'm at 416 unanswered emails and that does NOT include queries, fulls, and pending queries. 416 unanswered emails just about the actual day to day business of agenting.

** oops. tks for pointing this out.


Liana Brooks said...

At this point I'm content to send out queries and submission and forget about them until I hear something back. The only exception would be if I desperately wanted just one agent.

I'm not that desperate yet.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to Gary Corby? Does he have a book out?

Aimee K. Maher said...


That was so funny.

Janet Reid said...


This is what happened to Gary Corby

H. L. Dyer said...

Pssst... your website FAQ says folks should contact you after ten days on an equery and 3 weeks on snail.

I think thirty days is more than reasonable-- I would wait two months unless otherwise specified, but I found out the hard way that the FAQ guidelines on your site are outdated. ;)

Corey Schwartz said...

Ha! Ha! I almost got tricked. I was expecting "D" none of the above. But your answer was much better! :)

laughingwolf said...

do i get fingers wrapped telling the agent her spelling's wrong?

methinks the word you want is 'heels'

Mira said...

That's a great story about Gary. You know, all this talk about your queries lately is making me feel left out. I'm not sending queries out and probably won't for quite awhile.

But I don't see why you shouldn't get back to me in 30 days anyway. I promise I won't bother you until then, though.

Aimless Writer said...

Can I add a D?
D. Write your next book and keep too busy to think about it.

I'd never want to bother an agent with the "did you get it?" email for two reasons. One, I've heard about the amount of emails you deal with on a daily basis and wouldn't want you wasting time reading anything but my query.
Two, never piss off an agent. You never know...

Amy L. Sonnichsen said...

Janet, At the risk of sounding like a brown nose, I want to tell you how much respect I have for you. If I had that many emails to go through, I'd be lying on the floor, drumming my heels, and wailing like a toddler. Really amazing. Thanks for keeping on reminding us how involved this job is. It helps us with patience. Really, it does.

Aimee K. Maher said...

Brown nose!

I'm kidding.

There should be a class you have to take and a test you have to pass before you can send queries. Yes, I have said that before and received some stellar bad reviews.

Gary Corby said...

I can absolutely guarantee you, if you send Janet something she can sell, she will hunt you down no matter how well you hide.

I did my best, but she found me anyway.

If you'd like to see the same story from my side, read The Strange Case of the Missing Gary.

laughingwolf said...

no prob, janet... we all make booboos :)

dylan said...

Gary Corby's THE EPHIALTES AFFAIR, set in Periclean Athens, to Keith Kahla at Minotaur, with Kathleen Conn editing, in a

nice deal,

for publication in Fall 2010, by Janet Reid at FinePrint Literary Management (world).

Dear Ms. Reid,

I've seen a few of these items from Publishers Marketplace. There seems to be a set of descriptive phrases (in this case a

"nice deal")

that are used with suspicious regularity.

Is this an intentionally vague secret code that reveals something significant to insiders while leaving the shmendriks in the dark?


PS Have you considered changing your name to "Janet Read", to, you know, more accurately reflect your lot?

Anonymous said...

Ha! Thanks for that link, Janet -- I had never read the end to the story!