October 22nd, 2007


tales from the query pile (the never-ending subject)

Sometimes people do things that just plain confuse me. Here's today's story:

Checking my voicemail this morning got me a message that was left sometime before the sun came up on the East Coast which was apparently a follow-up to an email that was sent over the weekend. It's not that I never work weekends. There's conferences and reading and so forth. In fact, I almost always spend some time working on the weekend. But there's no guarantee that I'll be reading my work email so I thought this a bit, well, er, precocious (my initial reaction may have been slightly less kind). Then, I hunted down the email to discover it wasn't even exactly a query. It's someone who has (apparently) many ideas for many novels and wants to know which one I think is the best one for them to write. An interesting approach, but what might sell today, might not sell by the time they finish the manuscript, for one thing. And I feel like it's just a plain odd sort of question, or am I missing something here... Plus it makes it obvious to me that they don't really understand how the publishing system is set up or the protocol involved. There's a part of me that feels just a twinge when I think about how to answer this. Because I really can't help them. Even if I wanted to. It's just a practical impossibility. And there's another part of me which is vaguely put out and feels that this person is perhaps somewhat, well, attempting to take advantage of my time, and not doing the research and taking the writing endeavor seriously. And, to some extent, taking that aforementioned time away from writers who have. Otoh, I could just give them the benefit of the doubt, and conclude they are oblivious.

I wonder if they'd apply for any other position by telling the company in question that they aren't sure which department they want to work in and asking the HR person in what area they'd get the most benefit and then go out and get the appropriate degree. A little apples/oranges maybe....

The other one today was the person who sent a query by express with signature confirmation and a priority return envelope. This cost well over $10.00 total in postage. Unfortunately, to be fair and practical, I have to treat it exactly the same as the one that arrived in a regular #10 size envelope with just under $1.00 in postage.

Granted the 30-40 other queries received today looked perfectly normal and professional. But it's always these other ones that sort of stick out in your mind when you're telling stories. Ok, milk and cookies time is over. As matociquala has been known to say, back on your heads.