August 29th, 2008


letters from the query wars

# of queries read this week: 155
# of partials requested: 6
genres of partials requested: YA SF (2), epic fantasy (1), YA fantasy (1), women's fiction (1), mystery (1)

Bless me authors, for I have sinned. It has been five weeks since I last requested any submissions based on a query. Granted, for one of those weeks I was attending the RWA National convention in San Francisco, and for two of those weeks I was on vacation with no access to queries at all. However, in those other two weeks I read 371 queries and made no submission requests. Apparently, this week I am making up the gap with 6 partials requested, though 2 of those are from the same author.

With the exception of the 2 proposals from the same author (which was a referral from a client), the other 4 were all requested because the pitch was compelling and when I read the 5 pages (included as per our submission guidelines), they were promising in some way. With regard to that, I am particularly noticing this week the number of people who do not take advantage of the opportunity to enclose the first five pages. (Conversely, I am also noticing people who take liberties with that invitation - like the person who included 30 pages, and said that 5 were not sufficient for me to make a judgement.) In any case, presuming they have read our submission guidelines (while it's clear from some of these queries that some people don't), why would a person not paste in those five pages?

Well, it's looking like it may take a bit to get back to the 2-3 week response time posted on our website (which apparently does not take into account vacations or holidays). I hope most people will be patient. But I have already seen some doubles show up and they will slow me down too as I have to sort them out when they appear and be sure they are, in fact, duplicate queries (some people mention it's a requery, some don't). As reported on Monday, I had 455 email queries in the queue. However, due to the continuing tide of incoming letters, I have only made a net gain of 37, and the holiday weekend may very well negate that. I still haven't counted the total snail mail queries though I am answering them as well, and those I've read are included in the numbers above.

Good night, and good luck.