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State of the Inbox Address 2

Hello, dear authors!

I have answered all queries sent prior to 9/14/11. If you have not received a response to your query sent 9/14/11 and earlier, please do re-query. The spam watchdog ate it.

I have responded to all requested material prior to 9/25/11. If you have not received a response to requested material sent 9/24/11 and earlier, please do resend it. The spam watchdog ate it.

Don’t worry. I’m catching up! But now that I’ve gotten a moment to breathe and can tread water queries for a moment, I thought I’d update everybody on the flood.

Because I think it’s interesting and fun, here are the stats:

From June through December, 2011 I received a whopping 2,433 queries.

Of those, I have requested more material for 136, or about .06%.

Of those, I have requested a full manuscript for 29, or about 0.01%.

Of those, I have made an offer-of-representation to 4, or roughly 0.002%.

Of those, I sold half to publishers with the others still in waiting.

Number of clients I signed through referral or scouted myself: 3

Number of books I sold for them: 3

Number of 2011 queries waiting to be read: 800, give or take.

What does this mean? I have no idea, it’s just fun.

More fun things I noticed while buried under my tsunami of queries:

The meanest response to a rejection letter I’ve ever gotten: “Fuck you very much.” I was actually on the fence about requesting a proposal for this one, and my first thought after reading his response: wow. I’m so glad I didn’t request—I could have wound up working with you…

Email is a social lubricant. It makes saying uncomfortable things easier. So to combat the slipperiness, do this: if you’re angry, wait three days, and if you still want to respond that way, go ahead.

The most condescending response to a rejection letter: “You were ‘just not hooked enough’? Are you serious? Maybe you should try reading what I wrote. Try this on for size and just read it:” [the bulk of his manuscript had been pasted into the email]. Good times.

The nicest response to a rejection letter: “Thanks for your time, anyway, Lauren.” These come surprisingly often. I don’t need a response to my rejections, but I admire the people who have written that response. It’s got to be pretty hard to get rejected after months of waiting and find the calm within yourself to be level-headed about it. Authors, I am not the judge of you. I am the judge of me and what I like and what I can sell. I’m not qualified to judge your book definitively. No one is. The authors who respond in this way, I like to think, know this.

The highest number of times I was queried with the same author and book: 6.

The most off-putting start to a query: “If tons of money and career praise are not valuable to you, then read no further…”

Runner-up: “The book just fell together effortlessly…”

Why would I want to read something into which you put no effort?

Number of queries I received bearing no title, genre, word count or proper author name: 46

Most common genres in my slushpile: YA, general fiction, romance, mystery, middle-grade, self-help, memoir and women’s fiction. And that’s okay with me.

What I’d like to see more of? Upmarket commercial fiction.

My hopes (dare I say, goal?) for 2012: double sales! And to keep my slush pile under control. =)

Here’s to 2012 and the next query-tsunami! Keep ‘em coming!

LR

Nanny Nanny Poo Poo!

Nobody likes to get rejected. It sucks all around. You never get hardened to it and it stings every time. Nature of the beast, I guess. But this isn’t dating; you can’t take it personally. When I reject, I’m not rejecting the author himself, or even necessarily his work. I’m telling that author that his work is not for me. That doesn’t mean it won’t be perfect for another agent. Most importantly, it doesn’t mean that I will reject the next book that author queries me with.

That being said, the other day I got an email from the author of a book I’d rejected months ago. He said, “I just wanted to let you know that I just got an offer-of-representation from so-and-so who said my book has bestseller potential. Too bad you couldn’t see that.”

While I was surprised by the immaturity the author had shown, I wasn’t otherwise moved at all. The only thing the author accomplished was an automatic rejection from me if he ever wants to query again. He was actually a pretty good writer who I might have taken on with a different book.

Don’t burn your bridges!

LR

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