September 26th, 2008


letters from the query wars

# of queries read this week: 143
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 1
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: romantic suspense

Dear Authors:

Just this morning I was thinking about how long the odds are -- everyone who reads this blog knows from my posts each Friday what my percentages are for responses, and in my experience they're in line with many other agents (except when Nathan ruins the curve by asking for 50 partials). And, yet, every week there are more queries. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed for a moment by the never-ending tide. Sometimes I'm impressed at the fortitude of authors who keep trying and trying, despite the odds. It's an amazing testament to their belief in themselves and their story.

And I wonder, what makes a person look at those odds and take the shot anyway? I find myself thinking about that frequently. Not, why do they write? I understand some people just have to. But why do they pursue publication? If they've been reading about writing online and/or attending conferences, then it can't be the money -- only a small percentage of writers can live on what they make from their writing income. So, what is it?

And then I had a moment of clarity, and realized it could, to some degree, be the other side of why I read queries every week even though the likelihood of finding what I want to find is slim. Hmmm.... Maybe I'm on to something there.

Help me out. Enlighten me. Tell me why you write. But also tell me why you are then taking what you write and seeking publication.