October 13th, 2006

books

back in the query mines

So, this morning I got an e-query (well, okay there was far more than one). Yes, I still prefer the snailmail ones but that's no nevermind apparently. I keep having an urge to sit down and write out the pros and cons and see whether I'm simply clinging to something because it's more comfortable, but then I see other opinions about them and I'm not so sure. Read Jenny Rappaport's post on query response time, in which, among other things, she mentions how much easier it is for e-queries to be out of sight and out of mind as opposed to those that are taking up extra room on the desk. On the other hand, there are those who swear by e-queries (not that I'm saying any names that start with N and end with -elson *g*). To some extent, I suspect it's all personal preference in the end and what is a more comfortable way for a person to work. And, after all, when you're reading 100+ per week that can become an issue after a while.

But the e-query this morning that got me back to thinking about this has a couple of problems. First it was a forward of one that I had gotten before. They did wait a reasonable amount of time. But there's no introductory sort of sentence (e.g. I sent you a query before and was concerned perhaps it got caught by a spam filter so I'm resending) which somehow leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Additionally, our official website says we only answer e-queries if we're interested in pursuing the material. But, still, given the unreliability of the internet, an email going astray is possible. I'll let that issue pass. Besides, they've been known to do that when sent by post as well. Witness that urban legend of the postal employee who dies and they discover bags and bags of mail in his/her house. Or the fact that people apparently are still sending them to the address we moved from a year ago (it was in fact a year this week I believe) and any minute now the NY system will stop forwarding things. But that's not even the most serious problem with the one I got this morning. The problem is I can't reply. And I mean can't. Because of where my computer sits in the world and which ISP I'm using and the fact that comcast.net feels that due to these factors, I'm a high spam risk. Therefore they have blocked any attempt I make entirely. Even through web-browser access. It's my outgoing tag that's the problem apparently and there's nothing I can do about it. Of course, the final problem with it is that it's an area I don't personally handle so it would be a no anyway. Given that factor, spending time and/or money finding another way to get a response to this person isn't efficient when I could be spending it instead reading other queries or, perhaps, writing this blog entry. Or, ya know, doing work my clients expect me to be doing.

In any case, since I'm opening up this can of worms, I'm open to hearing arguments, persuasions, etc. Both for and against. Snailmail vs. email, that is. Is the difference between sending the query by email vs. by snailmail really such a wide chasm that it should be a determining factor? And if someone inevitably turns that question back at me I'd suggest that most people aren't querying 100+ agents per week nor do they, I suspect, respond to 100+ unsolicited emails per week which it seems to me is what agents are being expected to do (in other words, the issue to me isn't why authors think it's a benefit for them). It's become such an odd hot-button topic. It just seems peculiar that it is one.

And the song currently playing has such an appropriate opening line for right now....

I learn many things the hard way
I learn many things the easy way
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    Happy Rhodes - Because I Learn