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View Full Version : How many queries/submissions are just abysmal?



Slyest Fox
03-05-2010, 12:48 AM
We often hear about how few people get past the query letter stage. That it's like 5% at best. But, of those 95% that got rejected, how many just were laughably horrible to the extent that you wonder how the writers of them were even taking what they were doing seriously enough to query?

As opposed to which are from people who at least seem to be competent and possibly talented writers but for whatever reason didn't hit it out of the park with this query?

I feel like I've heard someone say this before but I can't find it. Because you got to figure if, say, 100 people query someone... at least 25 or so have got to be from crazy people or people who just flat-out don't know what they're doing, have never studied writing, don't know how to put together a query letter, etc.

IceCreamEmpress
03-05-2010, 01:50 AM
Some or all of these may answer your question:

Slushkiller (http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/004641.html) by Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Last Month in Queries (http://www.therejectionist.com/2010/02/last-month-in-queries.html) by The Rejectionist.

Why I may have rejected your query (http://theswivet.blogspot.com/2008/11/why-i-may-have-rejected-your-query.html) by Colleen Lindsay.

Query letter stats (http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2010/02/query-letter-stats.html) by Janet Reid.

Letters from the query wars (http://arcaedia.livejournal.com/220831.html) by Jennifer Jackson.

Slyest Fox
03-05-2010, 03:29 AM
Ooh! This is all interesting. Thanks!

shaldna
03-05-2010, 07:12 PM
Most queries are awful.

Those links are great.

Jennifer_Laughran
03-05-2010, 08:16 PM
In my experience, AT LEAST 50-60% are trash.

They're either straight-up

* awful
* psychotic
* something I simply don't represent
* (sometimes all three!)

or they don't follow the directions at all, to the point where their work is unreviewable. ie:

* they attach their sample and I don't open attachments
* they neglect to put a sample
* they put a sample with no letter
* they don't put "query" (spelled correctly) in the subject line so it gets filtered into the trash.

KathleenD
03-06-2010, 05:53 AM
Slushkiller changed my life. I'm serious. I looked at her list of reasons why things are rejected, and realized I was halfway up the list just by waking up in the morning and putting on shoes.

It was the biggest moment of "maybe I could do this if I actually tried" I think I've ever had.

OctoberLee
03-06-2010, 06:13 AM
Yeah as Jennifer Jackson posted on query wars just today - %48 included in their query what the submission guidelines told them to. Which means half aren't even being bothered with. So if you're following the agents's submission guidelines, you're already ahead of 52% of people who submit :D

Ed: Similar to what Jennifer Laughran posted above. Awful/psychotic queries are probably depressing/disturbing, but occasionally entertaining I'd think :D

Sage
03-06-2010, 06:24 AM
Slushkiller changed my life. I'm serious. I looked at her list of reasons why things are rejected, and realized I was halfway up the list just by waking up in the morning and putting on shoes.

It was the biggest moment of "maybe I could do this if I actually tried" I think I've ever had.
I agree. Whenever I need an ego boost, I go read Slushkiller