I get so many replies, Tweets, Facebook comments and such about the fact that I answer every email I receive from authors. And while that makes me feel fancy, and it lets me know that at least some of you think I’m doing a good job, I started thinking about the reasons that an agent might go with no response.
1. The sheer amount of email
I’m a newer agent. Let us say I get ten queries a say. That’s seventy queries a week. Two-hundred and eighty or so queries a month, and thirty-four hundred emails a year. It isn’t that hard for me to send a form rejection or ask for a full in that amount of email. But immediately multiply all of this by three for an agent who’s been around longer and is more well known. (I know math sucks.) It becomes incredibly hard to answer, even with form. You need to just move on down the line. If I get to a point where I’m reading 10,000 emails a year I can’t promise I’ll still respond to every query.
It is kind of hard to continue to answer every email when 4% of those emails come back (yes I make up percentages, just roll with me) with a rejection of your rejection, a YOU ARE SO STUPID MY BOOK IS AMAZING (and it may be this is sometimes simply subjective), threats of being ‘slapped around’, questions about how the author can improve the query, and a myriad of other things that keep you from reading new email.
3. They have no soul
I just made that part up because I wanted to have a list of three things. I’m sure all agents have a soul.