Jennifer Jackson (arcaedia) wrote,
Jennifer Jackson

letters from the query wars

# of queries read this week: 134
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 0
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: n/a

350+ queries still pending....

Recently someone asked rather curiously what percentage of queries that I receive per week are dead in the water before they even get off the ground (mixing mediums a bit there). I'm not sure it's quite that simple, though there are a handful every week that are genres I don't represent (for example: nonfiction, poetry, children's picture books) or where the entire query is less than 4 or 5 lines long (with no pages or synopsis). Overall, though, I do my best to give everything a fair read. But with that person's question in mind, I tracked a few more things this week.....

So, now some extra! stats!

# of queries that neglected to include the first five pages: 16, which is roughly 12%

In the case of these queries, I still take a look, but, for the most part, these don't pass muster. Unless the idea knocks me down and steals my lunch money, I'll pass. I'm not blown away by them that often. And too frequently these also fall into other categories, such as the aforementioned genres I don't represent. Conversely, there are people who send *way* more than five pages, often accompanied by phrases like "I've taken the liberty" (which as you might guess doesn't get them any extra points).

# of queries that were attachment only (with no accompanying text): 3

Sometimes (depending on how buried I am) I will respond to these and send a link to our submission guidelines which clearly state no attachments and mention the first five pages and synopsis. I am then puzzled to receive replies still lacking those pages and synopsis.

# of queries shorter than five lines total: 2

# of emails with no query, just pages and synopsis (not even a salutation of any kind): 6

# of people who apologized for the formatting in their query: 5

# of people who trashed the genre they were writing in: 7 (this really gets on my nerves)

# that were in genres I simply don't represent: 8 (I think I usually get a lot more of those in a week)

# that were just plain weird: 9 (we're talking really strange LSD-land stuff or author has been drinking so much political/religious/gender/racial-related koolaid the novel is drowning in it)

winners in the really long manuscript category: 190K fantasy (at least it was epic), 189K author listed 3 different genres, 250K YA (wow, that's a doorstop)

Doing this really slows down the pace of reviewing queries and responding so I don't think I'm going to keep this close track that often. But I might do it once in a while just out of curiosity. Should I go this route again, what type of stat would be interesting to see?
Tags: query wars

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