Email! I love you, I hate you, I want to be your frenemy

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.

2. Feedback
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.

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3 Responses so far

  1. Gravatar

    In my limited experience querying and hob-knobbing with writers hoping to be published, I can only imagine how stuffed those email inboxes are. I commend you!

  2. Gravatar

    After losing a sizable chunk of money several years back in an e-transaction that went bad, I now use e-mail only for nonessential log-ons to blogs and the like. If an agent requests a manuscript in response to one of my hard copy query packs, I send them a velo-bound hard copy for easy reading, to be followed by a sheaf of numbered loose pages that they can upload from their end if they decide to pursue the project. All this isn’t just paranoia from all the Chinese, Iranian, and recreational cyberviruses out there…Like Jonathon Franzen, I’ve discovered that I get a lot more and better work done if I don’t have an internet portal within a hundred yards of my electronic typewriter; all it takes is one pesky friend e-mailing a sideboob shot of Lindsay Lohan on a skateboard to shut down the production line for a couple of days-all this has been sent from a library PC, where I allow myself to waste an occasional hour online. Sorry you only take e-queries-you have no idea what you’re missing………………!

  3. Gravatar

    Sound reasons Miss Pam. I’m sure the more popular you become, the more we will be chasing you just to get your attention lol.

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