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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!


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