Down this road lies madness

From the comments line on a previous post comes this:

It doesn't matter to me whether an agent/editor accepts email queries or not--as long as they SPECIFY and stick by their own claims. I've met 3 agents whose websites say they take email queries--In person, Agent 1 and 2 said, "My website says that, but I don't read any that come in." Agent 3 said, "I prefer hardcopy. The agency I work for has a main page that says we take them, but on my page I think I say I don't accept them. At any rate, I ignore them." If agents/editors don't want email queries, just say so (like Miss Snark!) There are enough problems in the process without agents pretending to take a form of query they don't want.

Wow. No wonder authors think we're evil. I can think of nothing more likely to make an author nutso than saying "yes we take this" when that's not the case. This is a lose/lose situation. The author thinks they're rejected (and authors need more of that like New Orleans needs more water) and the agents who say they read this and don't might be missing out on some good stuff.

It says something about an agency if they can't be straightforward about their query process!!!


Feisty said...

Gee, and all this time I thought that my sundry and varied queries to agent's email boxes had dropped off into some black hole.


Bernita said...

I've sent a couple of "pre-queries" asking if they still accepted e-queries when the information was contradictory or unclear.
No answer.
Which is an answer.

Existential Man said...

To make matters more confusing, there are many agents at all levels on the status chain who write on their sites they will not accept e-mail queries but, in fact, will indeed respond to them if they like what they see. I had many who not only read it and responded but did so very quickly (within minutes or hours).

I have come to interpret this "no e-queries" in the same way I interpret agents saying "do not submit, not taking new clients"--as a way to discourage writers from barraging them with e-mail. But the reality is that if they see something they like--no matter how it comes to them--they respond.

G. Jules Reynolds said...

Well that's disturbing news. Meh. When I start querying again I'll have to change my default from "sending via agent's preferred method" to "sending via snail, unless no alternative to email is offered."

Here's a query question: when an agent asks for a partial and wants to know if any other agents are looking at the novel, how does the writer's response affect how they look at the work? "Yes, I'm shopping this around right now" -- versus "I'm sending a couple of other requested partials to other agents but I'm not querying new people just now" -- versus "I've only sent this to you, you are my Dream Agent, and if you take me on I will give you this fluffy kitten"?

I mean, there's an obvious answer in terms of what to say -- tell the truth, and don't threaten with kittens. But I'm curious: does this information make you more/less likely to be interested, or make you review it faster/slower? I searched your archives, but I didn't see much about requested partials and the cover letters they love.

Caryn said...

So for those of use who have e-queried agents, what happens if we don't hear back from them? I know you're not supposed to query again, but what if they fall into the category of simply deleting messages without reading them, and we don't realize this? Is it okay to, after a certain amount of time, send in a paper query? After how long? Thanks!