Sorry I haven’t reported anything much the last month or so. It’s been very busy around the old agency and there just hasn’t been time to write here.
First and most important: I have set my spam filter to full on and I’m in the process of training it to recognize good stuff from bad. Consequently, for writers who want their queries read, please make sure that you put the word “query” somewhere in the subject line. I’m going into the filter and pulling out those letters from those who don’t do this yet (a small minority, by the way) but soon I’m not going to do that anymore. So, if you don’t want your query flushed along with all the spam that is filtered out, please put “query” in your subject line.
Next, there are reasons for rejection other a badly a written query. For instance, I receive queries from time to time that express a person’s religious or political beliefs—some agenda that he or she wishes the world to know about, a pet peeve or things that go in the “other” column. Personal bitches or belief might sell well if the person is a nationally known celebrity whose opinion would possibly mean something to others. However, if you are Joe or Jane Ordinary Citizen, your opinion (or mine) on subjects of this nature are not saleable. My advice is to write them in a letter to the editor or put them on your blog, because there is a very good possibility that no one cares. For those of you who are outraged by this, I put myself in the Joe Ordinary Citizen category, so I am not just being arrogant. I am sure that editors really don’t care what I think about the Middle East conflict or Botox, either. Books whose sole goal is to perpetuate a belief system or books that are just plain rants are beyond the scope of what I (can) handle.
One other reason that I will always reject your work is that, instead of sending me a query, you direct me to your Web site or to your blog. I won’t go, so don’t do it. Another automatic delete for me is something that I’ve been seeing more and more lately, and that’s writers who send me a blank page with their query as an attachment. I used to take pity on these folks and write them a nice note asking that they resubmit in the body of the email. No more. Why? Because of virus considerations, but also because of file size problems. Sharene recently got an e-mail with a huge attachment that caused a minor crash on her system. It wasn’t until she deleted it that her system started working properly. Consequently, she automatically deletes anything that comes in with an attachment, and so do I.
One last thing and then I’m gone: Please pay careful attention to what each agent handles, as posted here on this blog. We all have very specific areas. Granted, some do overlap, but please try to make sure that you query the proper agent. We do share at times; however, we are approaching our busy season so we might not be so eager to redirect queries if we get really busy.