Miss Snark recently linked to a writer who expressed confusion and angst about having a query letter rejected in nine minutes flat. Anyone who has submitted a query to me probably knows that nine minutes would be a slow response time for me, and that includes both requests for partials and rejections. To quote Val Kilmer playing quick shooting Doc Holliday in Tombstone, “I’m your huckleberry.”
Here’s the thing about queries — they come in really fast, and they add up quickly. If I ignore them for a couple of hours my computer starts smoking and sparks fly out of the monitor from being overloaded (not true, but that’s how it would happen in an ’80s movie). Sure, I could read these queries, wait a day to be polite if it’s a no, and then send a reply, but that takes twice as long — I would have to re-read the queries to refresh my memory, and when you’re talking about hundreds of queries a week, that time quickly adds up. And a no’s a no, right? As Socrates said, does not ripping off a band-aid quickly remove thy band-aid as surely as removing it slowly?
So here’s what I do. I read the queries as soon as possible after they come in (repeat: I read them. Repeat repeat: I read them I read them). I think about it. I type out a response immediately. It really doesn’t take very long. Just because I respond quickly doesn’t mean I didn’t think about it, it doesn’t mean that I disliked your query way more than one I didn’t get to for a day or two and then rejected, and it certainly doesn’t mean I dislike you. I like you a whole lot, especially that new sweater, which looks terrific on you.
Besides, no one ever complains about getting a request for a partial in five minutes!