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Why I’m not going to request your Vietnam-era Sex Memoir

pile_of_mail.jpgI will freely admit that I’m currently behind on my query reading. Instead of that two-week window I aim to respond within, I’m somewhere near the four week mark, and horribly embarrassed about it. So I’m trying to get caught up as quickly as possible, and that means long days of plowing through query after query, responding personally to every single one I receive — unless you sent an attachment, which means your query never came to me and went into spam instead, or you sent it multiple times and I already responded once. Within that ever-growing pile of queries, I often find hordes of letters about manuscripts that are patently and obviously inappropriate for me. I think I’m pretty clear on my own website about the genres I represent, and whenever I’m asked by another site or query service, I always say the same thing:

We are looking for:

  • brilliant, funny, original middle grade and young adult fiction, both literary and commercial
  • witty women’s fiction
  • pop-culture narrative nonfiction.

That’s it. That’s everything. But every high-tech thriller, epic adult fantasy, or Vietnam-era sex memoir still gets a personalized rejection, and honestly, it’s beginning to drive me up a wall. I contemplated a query service or web form I can put on my website that would ask queriers to select from a drop-down menu of my listed genres, and if their books doesn’t fit, they can’t submit to me. But I KNOW people would just select something else and submit anyway, and in the meantime, I’ve made it more difficult for those of you who can and do follow directions.

I don’t want to make it more difficult for great writers who write in the genres I’ve chosen to represent to send me a query. I WANT to hear from you guys!

I don’t know if I’ve found the best answer, but for now, I think I’ve found *an* answer, at least. I’ve adjusted my form rejection letter to specifically include “I don’t represent this genre” for those queries that are entirely off base, and those won’t be personalized — they will just say “Dear Writer” and “regarding your book”. I hope this will give me more time to spend on those queries that get it right.

Oh, and since it also seems to need to be said, I don’t personally respond to anyone who asks for reasons WHY I rejected your query. I do give my reasons when I decline a partial or a full, but I can’t for queries. Anyone who asks will just see their email go unanswered. The ONLY queries I personally comment on are my weekly About My Query posts, and you can get more information about those here. That post is also permanently hotlinked on the main Daphne page.

So that’s my little rant for the day. Now back into the query pile!

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