Saturday, May 16, 2009

Querying After Midnight Is Not Advised!

I'm a night person and always have been. I hate mornings, and it usually takes at least three cups of coffee before I can function. My wake-up-at-the-crack-of-dawn husband just doesn't quite understand this, but we manage to get along anyway. At any rate, I often find myself querying after midnight. Apparently, my head isn't as clear as I think it is at night. Here are some of my late-night query mistakes: I sent three chapters in the body of an e-query to an agent whose guidelines specifically state: QUERY ONLY. I knew this, but I meant to send the query to a different agent. (A rejection soon followed.) I indicated that I was enclosing a SASE for the agents response in an e-query. It's kind of hard to send an envelope with an email, wouldn't you say? In my defense, when I checked the agency guidelines, they specifically asked for snail mail queries, but upon further investigation, I learned that this particular agent preferred queries by email. So I copied and pasted my original letter from Word into an email. Unfortunately, I forgot to take the part about the SASE out. (I haven't received a reply on this one yet, but it's only been a couple of weeks.) I sent five e-queries with the same typo. Keep in mind that I read, re-read, and re-read again without catching the mistake. That is, until I hit send on the last one. (Three of the five were rejections, and I'm still waiting on responses from the other two.) I addressed and e-query to someone named "Mitchelle." Yeah--it was supposed to be "Michelle!" Again, my midnight mind didn't catch it until the next morning. By the way, did I mention this query also contained the same typo mentioned in the previous example? (No response from this one yet!) Now, here's one about a snail mail query. I enclosed a SASE or, actually, an SAE. Yes--I forgot to put a stamp on it! How do I know? Well, because I was out of stamps before I even wrote the query. Now, why I didn't realize it until after I went to the post office, bought stamps, put them on the query, and stuck it in the drop box is anybody's guess! Apparently, my head isn't so clear in the morning either. (Hm...I wonder if I'll ever get a reply.) So, I was in the middle of writing down all of these examples when my son finally got off the computer. Before typing this post, I decided to visit a livejournal posting that I love to go to on Saturdays. Ms. Jodi Meadows is the query reader for The Rappaport Agency, and every Saturday she posts "slush stats." It is a definite wake up call about the number of people querying and the number of requests for additional materials. (I'd say it ranges somewhere between 1 and 2%.) She is also a writer seeking representation, and I love to follow what's happening with her. Check it out: Low and behold, her post was about the same topic I'm writing here. I love to read about other writer's mistakes because it makes me realize that I'm not alone! Please bear in mind, though, Jodi is one of us, so she's a little more forgiving of these types of mistakes than an agent might be. Okay, for now, I'm off to another baseball game!

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