Happy Agent Monday… What? It’s TUESDAY? Okay, I know that. But I just spent a wonderful and very busy three days at the NJ SCBWI conference, so Agent Monday turned into Agent Recovery Day. (BTW, if you are looking for a great writer’s conference for kidlit, keep your eye on your regional SCBWI conferences. They always do a phenomenal job.) Today, I thought I’d cover something you should all know: I ALWAYS respond to every query I get, except for when the person querying me has made some serious errors. Errors that merit a delete instead. For example:
1. They have mass mailed the query to me
Signs of this? There is no Dear Ms. Lamba. No greeting at all. The entire query is generic with no reference as to why they specifically sent it to me. The email has clearly been sent to multiple agents at once (sometimes every agents’ email address is even there in the send-to field). Delete.
2. The query is sent as an attachment or has attachments
And I haven’t requested an attachment from this writer, as I might if I’d met them at a conference. Would you open this? I won’t. Delete.
3. The writer has sent this query to me before
Sometimes the writer changes the details of the query, or the title, or even the email it is sent from. I’ve even gotten the same query 3 or 4 times from a writer. Guess what? I remember. Delete and block sender.
4. The query has a greeting that is generic and/or wrong
Recent queries that have been sent to me have been addressed to Dear Sirs, Dear Agent, Dear Mr. DeChiara, Dear Publisher. Delete!
5. The query and/or querier scares the bejeebus out of me
Threatening language, creeps, etc. Delete, block and wash hands!!!
You get the idea. So, if you have queried me and haven’t heard back in a few months, and you haven’t done any of those crazy ass things I’ve mentioned here, then check your spam folder. Chances are you’ll see my response there. Because if you are not a crazy-ass querier, I will respond.
FYI, if you are querying me and I’ve met you before or you have a personal reference, then I might take a bit longer to respond to your query than the average time you’ll see on a site like querytracker. That’s because I know it will take a more personal response from me and I need to set aside time for that.
*Marie is an Associate Agent at the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency in New York City. To keep up with all her posts, subscribe to her site by clicking on the Follow link located on her page on the upper left margin.