Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Reading vs. Representing

As you know by now, I’ve been inundated with queries and recently spent a long morning going through and reading as many as I could get to. That being said, my goal lately is to keep the query inbox below 300 as much as possible. This is a lot harder than you would think.

In one of the responses I received the author thought it was ridiculous that I wasn’t “sufficiently enthusiastic” (apparently those words are causing a lot of angst lately) since six other agencies and three publishers were already reviewing the material. The author wanted to know how, if these others expressed interest, I could possibly reject the book if I hadn’t even read a page; what was it exactly that I would be enthusiastic about?

What I couldn’t figure out is why the author would care. Six agencies reviewing a full is huge. Huge! At that point, wouldn’t it be nice to narrow the list, to assume you already have six enthusiastic agents reviewing the material, so why would you care about this one? Unless you’re lying, of course, but I don’t think I need to go there.

In a moment of weakness I replied to the author suggesting that a review of my website might give a better indication of what I was enthusiastic about. The author replied, of course, to suggest that maybe I should consider expanding my horizons. The author said he had never read paranormal romance, which is what I said I liked, but would not refuse to read it.

And there’s the rub. You are not asking me to “read” your book, you are asking me to consider “representing” your book. Those are two very, very different things. You might consider reading a paranormal romance if I suggested you read it, but if you are a mystery writer, would you want to write a paranormal romance just because I thought you should expand your horizons?

Jessica

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