Though I can see Miss Snark's point most of the time, the reluctance to consider e-queries is one thing I just don't get. To me, it sounds like someone saying they would only consider a letter written with quill and inkwell after the typewriter was invented, or who kept their coach and horses a while after noisy, intrusive, new-fangled engine-driven vehicles were available. I totally understand why you wouldn't want something written as informally e-jokey as most emails are, but if it's a nice-written appropriately formal e-letter - why e-not?
I recently had drinks with a colleague who does take e-queries. I asked how many she got a day. Answer: 50. Amount of time spent reading each one: 3 seconds or less. Auto form rejection sent to 49/50.
I don't know about other agents, but if you send me a letter, I'll read it, AND the sample pages. Elapsed time: longer than 3 seconds I assure you.
Also, I need to see your writing. Your query letter/cover letter is not how I evaluate whether I want to read something. If you send an e-query, you'll have to send pages, or I'll just have to email you and say "send pages" to everyone.
And email format is NOT NOT NOT the same as page format.
Look at this post.
Three line paragraphs. Short staccato sentences. Lot's of white space. It's more like a power point presentation than a paragraph.
I do this for a reason: it's easier to read on the screen. Reading big blocks of text on a screen is harder than reading it on the page, particularly if you're just trying to get a sense of whether it's what you're looking for.
And email programs don't always send material in the same form or font you wrote it in. About half the mail Miss Snark gets here on this blog have to have the font size increased. Lots of others have weird ass hieroglyphics cause you used a font the Snarkomputer doesn't consider worthy of recognizing.
And of course, there are the nitwits who poison the well:
the ones who don't take no for an answer and want to engage in dialogue
the ones who write back very very angry letters with threats.
Email makes it easy to respond quickly. That's not such a good thing from my perspective on this slush pile.
Lots of agents take e-queries. If you think Miss Snark is behind the times, so be it. Don't query her.