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letters from the query wars

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# of queries read this week: 196
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 0
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: n/a

Around 570 queries still pending.


Wishing for more needles and smaller haystacks...

The pace of arriving queries is still on the rise. Which makes gaining ground in terms of response time somewhat on the daunting side. Particularly when the percentage of those that don't follow guidelines also appears to be increasing. I'm not talking here about people who deviate in their definition of synopsis or something like that. Nor applying rules lawyering (which I'm not excessively prone to in any case). These are barely recognizable as a query letter at all and are usually only a few lines long. Given how easy it is to find our submission guidelines online and numerous articles and sites giving advice and information about the query process, these are puzzling at best. Too often responding to them and sending a link to the guidelines only nets an antagonistic reply.

It's almost inevitable to find one's self feeling that if a person can't or won't make an effort in this scenario, that they aren't a person with whom an agent or publisher will be able to work. After all, it's not as if it's done after finishing the novel, getting an agent, getting a contract, editorial revision, copy-editing, or even seeing the book on the shelves. This is not an easy pursuit nor a casual endeavor. Nor a quick path to fame and riches. It is not (as one person's letter put it this week): "something to try just for the hell of it."

But this is a calling for some. A creative and inspiring journey. Finding those stories keeps the search going...

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Jennifer Jackson
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