Query Quiz: What Gets an Immediate Deletion vs an Email Rejection?

imagesI’m in a bad mood. But I’ve made a commitment to myself to try to blog weekly. So. Here’s a quiz. Doing which of these things will have me just delete your query unanswered, versus me sending you a curt email? Answers are below.

  1. Send me a query with an attachment
  2. Query me with multiple projects
  3. Query me on Facebook Messenger
  4. Query me with a genre I don’t represent
  5. Query me with an age level I don’t represent
  6. Add me to a cc list with a bunch of other agents
  7. Get my name wrong or do a Dear Sir/Madame or To whom it may concern
  8. Send me a query that, if printed out, would go on for a few pages
  9. Re-query me with something I recently rejected
  10. Query me even when I’m closed to all queries
  11. Send me a query to an email other than my querylinda email
  12. Query me when I’m closed to queries, except for post conference, for a conference over a year ago, unrequested.

untitledOk, here are my responses: 1,6,7,9,10 all just get deleted, unanswered.


imgresThe others get curt responses, such as: “All queries should go to my querylinda@ email address” and “I only represent children’s literature” and “Sorry, but I really am closed to queries.”
imgres-1But just so you know, here’s what goes on in my head:

  1. Delete, mother fucker! Bwa ha ha!
  2. Why? Why would you do this? Why don’t you know not to do this?
  3. Really? Just. Really?
  4. You clearly don’t know anything about me. Ugh!
  5. Why? Why don’t authors do their research?
  6. Another delete! Yes! Yes! Bwa ha ha!
  7. What, the actual, fuck? Delete.
  8. Skim, skim, skim, skim.. sigh… form rejection.
  9. I can’t even. Delete.
  10. Delete. Just delete.
  11. How would someone think this is ok? Why would they think they’re special?
  12. Holy moly. Really?

Ok. So, I’m sorry I’m blogging while grumpy. I shouldn’t do that. But I haven’t actually given you any misinformation. I’m sure I’m not the only agent who’s thought these things. And I’m sure there are much nicer people out there than I. But I know you guys count on me for being a straight shooter. And I know you guys know I sometimes lack a filter. So. There you have it!

For the record, I am currently closed to all queries, except for the Open Call to Muslim Writers (who are not exempt from having to follow my submission guidelines).


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10 responses to “Query Quiz: What Gets an Immediate Deletion vs an Email Rejection?

  1. Chris Dwyer

    Haha great post. Very insightful as well, thank you. (Yes! These things should be obvious to anyone serious about trying to get an agent.)

  2. Linda…there are not many agents out there who take the time to personally respond to each query and it is amazing to me that despite how frustrating and exhausting it must be, you are working your way through each of the queries (minus the ones that don’t follow guidelines 😉 ) to give us the feedback. Please know that there are admirers and hopeful representees out there that greatly respect your vision and expertise ;). Thank you, thank you!

  3. lololaffan

    Well, this is clear! I’m envisioning a mama bear guarding her cubs, and suspect if you are this open and detailed (guarding your process and rules), probably do the same for your cubs…er, clients. I’m in the woods in the snow, really influences.

  4. HAHAH! I love asshole Linda.

  5. I had to laugh at your honesty. Perhaps it’s the NYer in me, I could hear myself having these thoughts. I stopped laughing though when I reached #12. I did this recently. As a writer, I would personally rather wait to submit a manuscript until I’m really happy with it than submit earlier just to make a post-conference submission deadline. But if I made a connection with the agent, I hope that they’ll remember that and forget that I’m late. Thank you for helping me see the other side!

    • I agree! Don’t submit before a ms is ready. And if you’ve made a connection, and submit after a deadline, when the agent is closed to submissions, there’s a good chance it will get read. But I’m sure you can understand how getting a ms a year after a conference, when closed to submissions, can be… annoying?

  6. I know some authors bristle at this kind of thing, but I think it’s a mistake. It always made me respect an agent more. I think following guidelines to the letter is part of the process. It shows attention to detail. AND an agent who respects attention to detail is going to deliver it back, that is exactly what you want. Now, as for grumpy, is it jet lag or already out of London Turkish Delight? 😉

    • Ha ha ha! And THAT is why you’re my client! (Umm… and the amazing writing and all…) I don’t get jet lag when traveling west, usually. And I’m rationing the Turkish Delight! I’m grumpy because… I don’t know. Because I am.