If you query an editor or agent and they email you back with a set of questions about your story, we’re doing this because your query lacked some key details. Usually we’ll just reject it because we can’t do your job and ours as well. However, if the subject matter seems to be quasi interesting, I’m not one to leave a stone unturned. I’ll ask questions. I expect this to serve two purposes.
- A gentle admonishment to the author that they need to refine their query better so that dolts like me won’t be forced to ask those questions.
- I’m genuinely interested in those answers.
The very best thing you can do is answer the damn questions. Please do not send me your chapter outline, a prologue, and your first two chapters because you’re basically saying, “I don’t know how to answer you, so read my stuff. It explains it all.”
Know what? I’ll toss it. All of it. First off, I didn’t ask for pages. I asked questions. Reason I didn’t ask for pages is because I’m not sure I want to read it yet. I need more 411, yanno? Hence, my friggin’ questions!
Personally, I consider it impudent to send me stuff I didn’t ask for while neglecting to provide what I did ask for. I’m not on the verge of curing cancer or fixing the budget, but I am a busy little girl, and an author who makes me work harder to get the answers to simple questions makes me cranky. I hate being cranky; it makes those lines appear in between my eyebrows, and it scares the beagle (which would be a good thing, actually). But there is no way I’m going to spend a half hour perusing pages I didn’t request just so I can ferret out answers that you should have included in your query in the first place.
Argh! Now I’m getting all cranky just thinking about this prologue, outline and three chappies someone sent me. Beagle, fire up the blender, Lynnie needs a stiff jolt.