But she had a notable realization coming out of this hours-long review of query packages:
- We respond very quickly to e-queries, but snail mail queries can sit for months.
- Snail-mail query writers are less professional and less aware of industry practices than writers who query us via e-mail.
There are still many agents and editors who strongly prefer snail-mail queries, and refuse to accept e-queries. However, each year that passes, I see more and more acceptance and preference for the e-query, and we’re even seeing the end of paper-based submissions at some publications/agencies.
In the Writer’s Digest Books guidelines, we say that we strongly prefer electronic submissions and encourage writers to contact us via e-mail. My work e-mail address is incredibly available to anyone who cares to look for it. (Do a Google search on “Jane Friedman Writer’s Digest” and you’ll see what I mean. I’ve made my e-mail address public at PublishersMarketplace.)
For me, this means:
- Anyone who snail mails me hasn’t done their research on how I prefer to be contacted, or how Writer’s Digest prefers to be contacted.
- Anyone who calls me has blatantly ignored the guidelines that say, “No phone calls.” This is why I rarely, if ever, return phone calls of writers who query by phone.
- Anyone who is uncomfortable with online research and communication probably isn’t someone I want to work with. It might indicate a writer with no online platform or community.
On a somewhat lighter and bizarre take: I’ve included a couple images of strange query letters we received.