A colleague received an email query. Like Miss Snark this agent does not accept e-queries and the website and listing at Publishers Marketplace are clear about that.
In a fit of generosity (never to be repeated) the agent responded to the query --which opened with "I read your website carefully"-- by saying "I believe you missed the part about no e-queries".
Herewith the response:
I didn't miss it. I ignored it. And here's why:
I am a soccer mom in suburban hell and writing is my only outlet. Because it fills my passion but not my pocket, the only way I can afford to stay writing is to be very tight with spending. Snail mail queries are expensive and wasteful. After spending two and a half years writing- realizing no income, I don't feel it is out of line for agents to at least take a quick look at the writing via email to see if suits them. This saves the writer a lot of time and expense. Please don't make the writing community a self-selecting group who can afford the entrance fee.
Ah yes. Silly us. We forgot you're the one with the dispensation to be treated differently. You've gone to all that time and trouble to write it, to research the agents, why shouldn't they do you the simple courtesy of a quick look.
Because you sent an attachment?
Because we ask you to submit work in the way we want to receive it?
Because this is a business, not soccer league where "everyone plays"?
I'd like to have Office Max give me printer ink for free too. I mean...don't they WANT me as a customer? It's the least they could do. We all know ink is overpriced and ink is how HP actually makes money since their hardware is a loss leader. Surely Office Max doesn't want to limit their customer base to a self selecting group who can afford the entrance fee.
And that entrance fee. Gosh darn. It's $2 per query. And if you query fifty agents, thats $100. It's such a burden, but nevermind, we'll bend the rules just for you; you're entitled being a soccer mom in hell and all. What were we thinking, asking you to behave like this was a business. Silly silly us. Please, send your work. In fact, we have your response letter all ready. We'll even put our own stamp on it to save you 37 hard-earned cents.
Dear Soccer Mom:
Thank you so much for sending me your query letter and sample chapter via email. Today, at 10am when I received it and downloaded the attachment, my computer crashed. No matter, I was GLAD to get your work. My computer technichian had us back up and running in a jiffty. He charges $85 an hour to do diagnositc work and he was here for two hours, but you know, we had lots to do while we waited. We read those boring snail mail queries from people who aren't really special enough to know the rules don't apply to them.
And your work: it’s breathtaking. Awe-inspiring. I don't think I've read a novel that made me shiver in just that way before. Of course we'll be offering you a contract. Before you sign it, you need to send me fifteen copies of your 1500 page novel. I'd like them shrink wrapped and mailed separately. I know you won't mind because of course, you wouldn't want something as vile as expense to come between us would you? Of course not.