Oooh, I feel so dirty, now. Last year I did multiple email queries. Personalized them, though. Sometimes I even queried three and four agents at the same agency. Worse, I didn't check to see if they accepted email queries!
But wait, it gets worse. One of the agents I queried emailed me back. She was aware I was submitting to other agents in the office! She didn't even accept email queries, she said. Wait again.
Now it gets good. I signed with her. Turns out she liked my book. You and your rules, Agent Cool. So not cool.
Look sometimes exceptions work. Sometimes. Not always, not often and not most of the time. When you post this kind of "I did the exact opposite of what Miss Snark said was industry standard" and I got an agent!!! you do a HUGE disservice to the 85% who will not be the exception to the rule.
This is the same kind of thing that ruined BEA: people went there, hooked up with a publisher, told eveyrone how they "broke the rules" and now every nitwit with a manuscript thinks its the secret way to success.
This blog is not about the exceptions. This blog is about how not to shoot yourself in the foot by querying sixteen agents at the same agency and getting nothing from any of them, cause that IS the norm.
There's a business book, I think one of the Guerilla books, that advises "at a football game, throw business cards in the air at every touchdown; you never know who you might contact." Sounds all innovative and shit till you think about it. When was the last time you picked up a business card off a sticky stadium floor and said "wow, this is great, I was hoping to hear from a life insurance salesman today". Sure it might work, maybe. But wouldn't your time and money be better spent calling people who have had a new baby and might now NEED extra insurance. Exactly.
The unsexy advice is: do what has the most chance of success.
I'm not telling you to follow the rules cause I'm some sort of thin lipped Prussian martinet with a yen for order (despite all evidence to the contrary). I'm telling you this cause it's mostly how things actually work.