Last week was not the best.
Jon received an email from an author whose chapters we'd requested in April. The author was simply asking if we'd received his materials.
As new literary agents, we've devised our own system to insure that all requested material is recorded in a written log. It works well for us and has saved us countless headaches. We record the author's name, date of receipt (in log and on package), and book name as soon as we receive the material. This time, however, we couldn't find any history of this author's chapters.
We've concluded that the material was truly "lost in the mail." We had to go back to the author and tell him his baby had not arrived. He was not happy and is sending us a new copy of the chapters. Jon assured him that he would not lose his place in the stacks. We've reserved his original spot and his chapters will be read as if we'd received them in April. We're still scratching our heads and hoping this doesn't happen very often.
Note on Queries: We receive SO MANY of these and we do not keep track of them in any way, unless we love them and ask for more. Please don't write (or--shudder--call) to ask if we've received your query. We'll be clueless! You'll hear back from us, one way or the other, in good time. We answer every query we receive. Exceptions are: no SASE included in mailed queries; gang email queries to every agent in the book; or really offensive and creepy queries. (Don't ask.)