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letters from the query wars 9/3/2010

# of queries read this week: 203
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 1
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: urban fantasy


oldest query in the queue: 8/10/10


A few days ago while I was wondering around the internets, I happened on a discussion in which the topic was an attempt to determine if there was a way to increase the odds of requests by gaming the system based on things like submitting during times of year when there are less queries coming in. The theory being that a smaller quantity of queries means less competition.

Well. Not from over here. (Setting aside the idea that there is a "slower" period of the year, because I sure haven't seen one lately.)

To my mind queries aren't like writing contests. I've been asked to guest-judge many of the latter and when I receive the finalist entries, I have to pick a winner. Therefore, even if none of the entries are my cup of tea, I still attempt to determine which is the best crafted, the most marketable, or whatever other characteristics the contest committee wants included in the judging.

Otoh, with queries, there is no requirement to ask for the one that is better than the others on a given week. Some weeks I've requested half a dozen submissions. Others I end up with 1 or 2 or even none.

10 not-so-great queries = 0 requests
10 great queries = 10 requests

See what I mean? The query system isn't like a contest. From where I sit, the queries aren't compared against each other to determine a "winner" with a "prize" of having materials requested.

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