I have a dedicated e-mail account for queries. There are probably a thousand in there right now. Two interns work with me in my office, and they’re the ones who initially go through the queries. The first thing I tell them is that writers are notorious for not being able to describe their own work. So if it’s close—if we’re not sure whether the author’s work is something we’d be interested in—I try to ask for more information. We often have to ask authors to be more succinct, to give us a logline, to say where their books fit in the market, and to tell us what they can do to help us promote them. Those are the things we’re looking for. Like I said, we often ask authors for more information; if something doesn’t quite catch me at first, I may still be open to looking at it. In part, that’s because I’m interested in the literary side of things; I like books that are complicated, which are always more difficult to pitch. But I really want writers to think about how they are going to present their work to someone else can understand it.
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