• Matt

I Never Want to Reach Query Inbox Zero and That’s Okay

We are all tired. We’ve made it through 2020, and are still fighting a pandemic amid our own confusion dealing with working from home, and all of the complexities therein.

With this amount of general exhaustion, I saw a lot of agents, and even some editors, close to queries and submissions for the end of 2020. This is much needed and they should be celebrated for knowing their own limits and creating time and space for themselves. We all need it! And more power to the agents specifically who were able to read through and respond to the hundreds of queries that they had to read!

I’m taking a slightly different tactic. I have not and have no plans to ever close myself to queries. I was closed in November of 2019 for a brief two months when I was changing agencies, but even that was in an effort to make sure authors didn’t query me or send an email to an address that would only work for another week.

Let me make it clear really quickly: I don’t want to ever close to queries, but if something drastic or horrible happens, I may have to for my own sake. But for now, onwards we go.

I know that I’m a workaholic—I check my email first thing when I wake up and at all hours of the day—even at 11pm when I’m actively trying to turn my brain off and watch a hockey game (go Sharks!). I struggle with creating limits and knowing my breaking point. I’ve reached that point before and suffered from health issues because I chose to work instead of taking care of myself. I struggle with wanting the best for authors and at the same time managing my own needs. I’m aware of this and I’m working on it.

But I view my role as an agent to help authors, especially first time authors who are trying to figure out the process. It’s why I spend so much time browsing through #amquerying and #amwriting hashtags on Twitter to answer questions. It’s why I reach out to authors in marginalized communities to show support and offer help. As part of that consciousness, I don’t close myself to queries.

And that means queries will always come in. Some days, I struggle reading them. I’ll be honest, I had a day recently where I was so tired of wrong genres and badly written sentences, I had to turn my computer off and walk away. But in general, I welcome queries; I love seeing more authors sending me their work. I hope that I can help at least some of you in your journeys.

By not ever closing to queries, am I depriving myself of the satisfaction of being able to say, “I did it! I read them all!” Well, yeah, that’s intrinsic.

Am I also saying that I want a flood of work to keep myself occupied until the end of time? For now, yes. Maybe in a few years, I’ll be in a position to reconsider this.

That means I’ll never get to inbox zero. I’ll never have the gratification of knowing I have no other work to do. But that’s okay. It’s helpful to me to know that every day when I wake up, I’ll have more work to do.

So keep writing, keep querying, and I hope to have the opportunity to read your work one day soon!

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