dianafox: (Default)
( Apr. 29th, 2008 05:13 pm)
I haven't blogged before now because I have been busy working and clearing out my inbox... I am down to less than 200 messages to answer, which is heartening but took most of the weekend to accomplish. An update on the slush situation, partially re-posted from Verla Kay here:

I usually try to answer queries in a month or less, although I've gotten kind of slammed so I'm a little behind at the moment. I hope to get through most of what's left from the end of March and beginning of April in the next few days, and it's always okay to re-query if it's been a while, or you're worried that I might not have gotten your email... I don't mind! (And by "a while", I mean if it's been more than a month on a query, or more than 6-8 weeks if I have your manuscript. If these response windows change, I'll post about it to my AgentQuery and Publishers Marketplace pages.)

Some people have written to ask which of my two email addresses they should use for querying me, and the answer is that either my first name or 'submissions' at foxliterary.com will work; I do have the spam filters set up a little differently for these two addresses, but mail should get to me from both of them. I prefer to be queried at the submissions address because then I can just look at the header and know it's a submission--also, if you put the word query AND the title of your book in the subject line, that makes my life easier when sorting through email.

I should also add that any preferences I state here should be viewed as helpful suggestions, not draconian rules which will cause me to auto-reject a query! I see receiving submissions as a privilege, not a right. I appreciate how hard people work at this process and I'm not interested in judging anyone for things like accidentally sending the same email twice, forgetting to include sample pages at the end of your email, using the less preferred address, etc. (believe it or not, these are mistakes even agents have been known to make--sometimes even with editors!--because we're human too). And, yes, I realize it's somewhat contradictory to encourage both perfectionism and detachment, but querying agents is hard enough on both sides that I sometimes just want to tell authors that it's all right to relax a little. Neither they nor I are ever going to be perfect. At our best, we're still going to learn and improve.

Which leads to today's question (from [livejournal.com profile] takroc) --

What is your opinion on critique groups? Live face to face ones and the online variety?

I am very much for them, with the caveat that just as with anything else it's important to have a good one, and a dysfunctional critique group may be worse than no critique group. Overall, however, I think they're invaluable and almost all my clients have made use of them.

As far as online vs. face to face, it's what works best for the individual that's important. While the Internet offers wonderful resources for helping people find and participate in a critique group that is right for them (as well as a way for people to measure whether a group is helpful by talking to people in other groups about what does or doesn't work for them personally), I don't think it matters where the group meets as long as it helps create better writers!

And with that I will go back to answering queries.

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