I've posted ad nauseum on why I don't take e-queries but I always feel like I’m on the defensive about it. Well, no more!
In today's issue of the New York Times magazine, an article about interruption science (who knew!) MEET THE LIFE HACKERS by Clive Thompson (page 43) offers up this:
In 1997 Microsoft recruited (Mary) Czerwinski to join Microsoft Research Labs, a special division of the firm where she and other eggheads would be allowed to conduct basic research into how computers affect human behavior. Czerwinski discovered that the computer industry was still strangely ignorant of how people really used their computers. Microsoft had sold tens of millions of copies of its software but had never closely studied its users' rhythms of work and interruption. How long did they linger on a single document? What interrupted them while they were working, and why?
To figure this out she took a handful of volunteers and installed software on their computers that would virtually shadow them all day long, recording every mouse click. She discovered that computer users were as restless as hummingbirds. On average, they juggled eight different windows at the same time -- a few email messages, maybe a Web page or two and Power Point document. Most astonishing they would spend barely 20 seconds looking at one window before flipping to another.
The bolding is mine, to highlight what I see is the critical point.
I’d be very interested to hear from agents or editors who take e-queries about how long they read something, or how much they read, or if they batch all the emails and read them at a certain less-busy time of day.
I know there are agents (good ones too!) who prefer e-queries, and those in fact who take ONLY e-queries. Given a choice, with this information, I'd send a letter.