Ms. Snark, (1)
You have written many times that when you read a partial or full, you make your determination whether or not (2) to represent the author on the strength of the writing first and foremost.
But, just out of prurient interest, of the manuscripts you eventually chose to represent, could you estimate the average number of typos/grammaticals (3) that you recognized (4) as you read through the first draft sent to you? On average? Less than five? Less than 20?
I assume that anything that looks as if it has (5) been typed by a dyslexic chicken does not spend much time on your desk, but I'm curious as to your (and by proxy other agent's) threshold tolerance for the occasional "oops." Does a single misspelling or punctuation faux pas guarantee a trip to the circular file?
Well, you've got five here and I'm answering so it seems the answer is more than five and fewer than six.
The actual answer, to quote Mr. Henslowe, is "it's a mystery". I read more rather than less if I like the idea; if you came with an introduction from Grandmother Snark's cabana boy, or other published novelist; if I'm not in a really crabby mood; if there was a good sale at Barneys and I have clever new boots; if you're the only thing I have to read on the train.
It's subjective beyond quantification. The best I can say is don't rely on sliding by. Some days the answer is Z for Zero.
Mostly though, the typos/errors are just the leading indicator of writing that needs a good solid scrubbing. Your letter is a classic example of that. Here's a redraft:
Dear Miss Snark,
When you read a partial or full, you decide whether to represent the author based first and foremost on the strength of the writing - that's very clear from your previous posts.
I'm curious: of the manuscripts you eventually chose to represent, can you estimate the average number of typos or errors you see as you read through the first draft sent to you? An average? Fewer than five? Fewer than 20?
I assume anything that looks like it was typed by a dyslexic chicken does not spend much time on your desk, but what is your (and, by proxy, other agent's) threshold tolerance for the occasional "oops?" Does a single misspelling or punctuation faux pas guarantee a trip to the circular file?
1. Miss Snark. Getting my name wrong counts as a mistake.
2. Whether implies or not.
3. Grammaticals is not a word as far as I know. You mean "errors"
4. recognize, not recognized.
5. had, not has (and "was" instead of "has been" is stronger)
and of course I know you dashed this off, and it is not an accurate reflection of a query letter you would send. Think of this as a "floor model" query letter; not for sale, but good for a quick demonstration.