Query Update

October 19th, 2010 • Kate

pile_of_mail.jpgJust a quick post tonight to let you know I’m doing my best to get through a serious backlog of queries. Unfortunately, I’m off my preferred two-week turnaround time by, oh, 2 and a half weeks. I’m just about through everything sent September 16th or earlier, but if by some chance you sent something before then and didn’t get a response, I’d be thrilled if you waited a few weeks before resubmitting (after checking your spam filters and making sure you didn’t include any attachments, of course).

I’m contemplating de-personalizing my responses, just until I get caught up. My usual email reply when I’m passing on a query includes the author’s name and the manuscript’s title — I don’t know if leaving those out (and just addressing my reply to “Dear Author”, re: your manuscript) will save a LOT of time, but it will save some. If you were waiting to hear from me, would you rather get an unpersonalized response sooner, or a personalized email after a slightly longer wait?

I know I also owe you guys a new status report for the third quarter of the year, and I’m hoping Intern Jenny and I will have the time to crunch those numbers this week. I’ve been spending a lot of time in the last week or so reorganizing my files, to make it easier to put my hand on my clients’ contracts when I need to, laying the groundwork for early next year when I expect my time will be slightly more frantic, what with Baby Un’s impending arrival.

So that’s the latest! What’s new with you? Oh, and just to make it interesting… what are you going to be for Halloween?

Filed Under: Slushpile


19 Responses to “Query Update”

  1. Michelle Picarella Says:

    Everyone gets backed up, and I am sure that we all understand a lit agent above all. Honestly, I would be more than happy for it to take a bit longer than to get an informal reply-

    The writers of this world need all the feedback that we can get, no matter how small. haha.

    As for Halloween, once again- my husband refuses to humble me and do a Rocky Horror theme. I so want to be Magenta, and to be honest, his legs and upper body are much more tone for the fishnet/corset ways of Tim Curry than I could ever dream of…So I am going as "Michelle" the mom "testing" all of the snickers because you never can tell what is peanut and what is glass shards…wink wink….I mean..nom nom… haha…

  2. Julie Weathers Says:

    I don't expect a response in two weeks. If I get one sooner than that it's icing on the cake.

    I haven't queried you, so I don't have a dog in the hunt, but I kind of like it when I'm addressed by my name. I know it's usually a form letter, but it still means something.

    The only thing I really don't like is the no response means no interest and even then I understand the necessity.

  3. Mike Mullin Says:

    You're still way ahead of most agents on response times. And the only time a 'Dear Author' response really bugged me was when it came from an agent who had just complained about 'Dear Agent' query letters on her blog.

  4. Sharon Johnston Says:

    I am someone waiting eagerly to hear back from you and understand that two weeks isn't always feasible. Following you on Twitter helps me understand the workloads you are juggling and puts my mind at ease.

    Of course my first preference would be a manuscript request ; ) I think a form email is fine. Not only will it allow you to get through queries quicker, but hopefully it will free up time for your most important work – your clients.

    Surprisingly Halloween isn’t big in Australia, even though we are often a baby version of the U.S. I’ve taken my kids out trick’or’treating a couple of times and we aren’t always well received = (

    Lucky you that there are lots of wonderful flat shoes out to wear during your pregnancy. It took me a bit to get back into heels after bub number 2, but had fun restocking my supplies. My favourites are a pair of red tiger stripped shoes that I get stalked by women in wanting to know where I got them from (a pic is actually in my blog).

    Have fun with your files.

  5. Krista V. Says:

    I agree with Julie on the query response issues. And as far as Halloween, the hubby and I have been trying to convince our three-year-old to let us make him a robot costume, but he took one look at the box we'd have to put over his head and didn't want anything to do with it.

    (Then again, it is a diaper box, so he might think the half-naked baby on the side is threatening. Maybe if we just up and spray-painted it silver, he'd like it a little more…)

  6. Stephanie Says:

    I don't really understand why authors get all bent when they get a form rejection. I don't see it as a problem at all- although, I *doubt* you'll win either way, either there will be complaints about replies not being personalized, or complaints about delayed responses. Do what is easiest for you!

    Halloween… The 9 y/o is going to be a witch, which the 7 y/o younger brother (who will be Harry Potter) says is the PERFECT choice for her since she already is one, and the 8 month old will be a garden gnome. I'll be the smokin hot, super-hero, mom of three dressed up like the exhausted, run down, stay at home mom. πŸ˜‰

  7. Shelby Rodriguez Says:

    I've sent quite a few queries. But when I send a personalized query I get a little bummed out to get a form rejection.

    For example, I told an agent that I'd been referred to her by a client of her boss. I mentioned that I have enjoyed following her blog, and gave her a reason why she might like my book based on an inside joke I'd only know if I'd taken the time to really attempt to get to know her. She sent back a form rejection.

    It kind of hurt my feelings. Although I know she's busy, she could have at least addressed it to my name. It's hard to get a rejection, especially if you actually like the agent. But in the end, finding an agent is like looking for a soul mate. She just wasn't mine.

  8. Wanda du Plooy Says:

    Even a form letter is apreciated! An ignore is so open. I always wonder if my query is lying under a desk or deleted by mistake. The "knowing" of a form letter is better than the "wondering" of a ignore and how long do you wait? Two months or Four, before giving up on a agent and marking it as "rejected" on your agent query list?

  9. Lynne Matson Says:

    I wouldn't sweat your response times. You do a terrific job keeping aspiring authors updated on where you are with queries — both on your blog & Twitter. Your communication is fabulous, like a great pair of Jimmy Choos. As an author looking in, your updates suggest you're probably a great communicator with your clients too, a great image to project.

    As for the personlization, I think it goes back to you: what do you like? If you like to personalize — because it's who you are — I say do it, and don't worry about the delay. Like I said, serious queriers know you are plugging along, and 2 weeks is mighty fast anyway. But if going the "Dear Author" route helps you catch up, try it; you can always go back. As an author with a query in your inbox (sent 9/17), it's just nice to hear one way or the other.

    Halloween: I'm going to throw on my oldest son's Tim Tebow jersey and call it a night. Now if my four boys would just stop changing their minds …"I want to be a ninja! No — Draco Malfoy! No — Percy Jackson!" "No–Zues!"

    Zues — really?!

    Thanks and good luck!


  10. Jennifer Kloss Says:

    One of the nicest, and also briefest, responses was: "Thanks for the look, but this isn't for me," and was signed by the agent. While it was probably a form response, it felt friendly and personal.

  11. Carrie Harris Says:

    I'm going to be a sparkly vampire. πŸ™‚

  12. Chelsey Says:

    I'm going to be a cracked-out 80s dancer

  13. Shannon Says:

    LOL – Chelsey. Been there – done that (not the cracked out part, just the 80's part) I have to say it's a strange feeling to have the decade I spent most of my time pubescing in be an "era". Weird.

    I'm going to be Rosann Rosanna Danna – I have the hair for it already. πŸ™‚ (I'm wondering how many people here even know who she is).

    Kate – although I commend you for giving a personalized response to ever writer who sends you a MS – give youerself a break. A form letter is a heck of a lot more than most agents send. Many say right on their website, no response is a no.

  14. Olivia Says:

    I highly prefer the personalized-but-late responses. They're like finding chocolate in an unexpected place when compared with all of the dead, not-even form rejections that may as well have been sent by a robot.

    I'm probably going as Bellatrix LeStrange.

  15. Rowenna Says:

    Maybe I'm jaded, but the personalization is really only of the form–fill-in-the-blank–so it doesn't really add much for me. I certainly appreciate it, but it's not a make-or-break. Giving a prompt response (and 2 weeks is more than prompt!) is the most respectful thing I think an agent can do for queriers, so you're going above and beyond. I'll take quicker over seeing my name on the form. The only exception for me would be a "real" personalized letter–in which the agent commented on something that didn't work or offered a suggestion. I'd wait longer for that πŸ™‚

    Not sure on Halloween…maybe Little Red Riding Hood. I have the cape already.

  16. Karen Says:

    I don't even know what the kids are going to be for Halloween. Someone tell me how it got to be October 20th already!

    Oh, and an unpersonalized response is fine with me, even if it is just a 'no thanks' — it's so nice to have something.


  17. Meghan Says:

    I think I would rather wait longer, and get a personalized response.

    My friend is having a Dr. Horrible themed Halloween party, so I'm going as Penny. Since she wears pretty much normal clothes, I'm being Mortally Wounded Penny, just so my costume is more interesting!

  18. Kate Says:

    Thanks for all your responses, guys. I'm going to try working with a de-personalized form response, and see if it helps me get caught up. I'll report back soon!

  19. Mary W. Says:

    i am just happy when an agent sends a response, even if it is a form letter. At least then I know they got my query, even it wasn't for them.

    As for Halloween, I'm going as an 80's Rock star, dear son (9) is going as a Ring Wraith, and dear hubby said he'd do an 80's rocker, too!