Monday, June 15, 2009

QUERIES 101

First, let me thank Deb Schubert again for giving us such an insightful view of her experiences at two writing conferences. This kind of information is invaluable for writers, agents and editors.

I'm knee-deep in emailed queries this morning. It's my own fault. I have not been as diligent as necessary. I've endured several more queries about the "abused woman composer." I sure would like to know the back story there. I'm working through queries sent in May and should be into June by the end of the week. Progress is being made.

I'm still receiving queries for the following genres. PLEASE DON'T SEND THESE TO ME:
  • Fantasy. If they are not contemporary, I'm not interested.
  • Science fiction. Send them to jon@ktpublicrelations.com, not me.
  • Attachments. If they are not requested, I won't open them and will delete the entire email.
  • Loooooong queries in tiny print with no paragraphs. Ugh.
  • Thrillers (with lots of car chases, espionage, and explosions). Ugh. Send them to Jon. (See above.) He's a real guy and often enjoys this stuff.

Sorry to keep harping on this kind of thing, but it makes the entire process much smoother if we all understand each other.

2 comments:

Reason Reanimator said...

Hi. I've always been a fan of Rodale's books and information. Years ago I found an old copy of Make Compost In 14 Days squeezed in among my husband's grandparents' books--I immediately asked if I could have it. And I've still got it! I think that you worked there for years is very cool.

I'm confused over how you can wear both agent hats and publicist hats; they seem conflicting roles in at least one way. Publicists tend to take on works easier than agents could because publicists are typically paid ahead of time. So, theoretically at least, as an agent you could reject representing a manuscript but as a publicist wind up representing that finished book in future.

I should say that I'm down on agents (sorry about that), but I'm not down on publicists; especially because of the increased "noise" in society, good publicists are probably needed now more than ever.

But simply put: someday you could find yourself publicizing a book you'd previously rejected as a manuscript. Wouldn't that be a little like, well, eating crow (so maybe you ultimately wouldn't publicize a book like that then lol)? ...Hmmm, maybe more agents should become publicists too. Maybe they'd learn more humility about what "quality writing" is, how well they know publishers--and especially how well they "know the reading public"! Everyone probably wishes they crystal-ball knew what would sell, but I think comparatively few people even come close to guessing with high accuracy.

Your blog seems low-key, personal and more writer friendly; I cannot say the same for most others. I'm curious if your place will remain the same the longer you're at the agenting role. I do think that the nicest agents tend to be the newest ones. In general, publishing burns out most people pretty fast. WHY has always been beyond me. Publishing's hardly air-traffic controlling! I worked in and for a large nonfiction house myself--quite a tiring job at the quarter ends, but other than that, not much stress.

Anyway, good luck to you!

javascript:void(0) said...

This comment is in response to your complaints about some of the queries you receive. Of course authors should learn how to spell an agent's name and 'query' before contacting an agent. No argument there.

Perhaps if your web site described the sort of books each of you are interested in, and if your web site gave the names of the authors you represent (not just your PR clients), maybe you'd get more targeted queries sent to the right individual?
Just a thougth