Oct 19, 2010

Query No-no

I have noticed a new trend in query responses. After passing on a project, I get a particular question so often that last week I decided to count how many times. It was 11 if you're curious. This is the gist of what the question is:

"Can you suggest another agent/agency that might be better suited for my work?"

No, I will not do your research for you. There are times when agents DO make referrals. And on those very rare occasions, they will do it without being prompted.

Is there a website/blog/publication out there that is advising writers to do this?


JEM said...

Hmmm, every site I visit says to do the exact opposite. Maybe these are just inexperienced queriers?

Latoya Alloway said...

Although I've never considered being so bold, I appreciate the advice. I don't know of any other source stating anything to the contrary. The only advice I've heard, through Twitter, about the query process supports your assertion NOT to ask this question. I've only heard that when (and only when) I have a complete, as good as I can get it manuscript, do I send it to agents (usually 1-10 at a time). I of course ensure they represent and are currently looking for my genre. The only contradictory advice I've heard deals with what an agent's response means. I understand rejection form letters---they mean move on. If I'm lucky enough to get any suggestions or comments, I strongly consider using them. But I've heard that silence can mean a lot of different things. I've heard it can mean 'no' or 'I'm extremely busy right now and I'll get to it'. So if you have time, maybe you can shed some light on this for me. Do I call or not call? Do I resubmit or not resubmit? Thank you for the post.

Susan Adrian said...

*sigh* I did that once, early on.

The agent was kind and even did recommend a couple, but I figured out pretty quick that was a no-no.

I'd assume it's just beginners?

Katrina L. Lantz said...

I'm with Susan. I did that to Nathan Bransford when I first started querying a few years back and got silence on the other end, which I thought was rude.


I had no idea I was the one who had been rude. It's a beginner mistake. We think we're being perfectly reasonable, but that's because we haven't seen your inbox. We don't understand that 200 queries + 200 follow-up or thank you msgs equals 400 emails for the agent to sort and maybe address.

I'm sure that 95% of those 11 will figure out they've done something taboo and avoid their mistake in the future. Unfortunately, you'll get the next round of newbies probably starting tomorrow. :)

All I can say is THANK YOU for your patience. There's definitely a learning curve.

Charity Bradford said...

Joanne, I've been querying for 3 weeks now and wondered if you could answer a question for me. After receiving the rejection I just file the email away.

This drives me nuts! I want to send another note saying "thank you for your time" but read on some blog that annoys some agents because it clogs up their email more.

What's your opinion? Should I send the extra thank you? I know it takes agents time to read and I do appreciate it even when the answer is no.

JEFritz said...

I've never seen a website advocate this, but I've never seen websites advocate most of the things writers do when they query.

I'm sure they're hoping that if they have a recommendation, they can tell the next agent they query: "So-and-so referred me to you," and thus, get themselves more notice. People will do anything for an edge, not realizing that the "anything" does more harm than good.

Christie Wright Wild said...

Seems like common sense to me. I wouldn't do that.