E-Mail Queries Provide Great Way For Writers to Break In

By William Clark

Wm Clark Associates

New York, NY


"I almost always respond to email queries within 2-3 weeks."


I receive between 500-600 email queries a month. Fielding email queries diminishes that Catch-22 of being an unknown and not knowing anyone in the business, yet having a perfectly wonderful property, but not having access.

It gives writers a chance to break in. If they send a mail through the USPS it takes up to six months to respond. But I can almost always respond to email queries within 2-3 weeks. If the story or idea doesn't appeal to me, the writer hasn't lost much time, and can query someone else.

When I began at William Morris and was looking for a way to find new clients, I realized that writers were using the net to communicate with friends around the world cheaply. I also suspected that since most of the net connections at that time were through universities, the quality of the queries would be higher, and I was right.

A number of great projects have come my way through email: a wonderful literary novel that Simon & Schuster published; a brilliantly-observed non-fiction book about China that HarperCollins will publish in Winter 2001; and a historical novel that I've sold to Paramount and am about to auction to publishers at the moment.


"I know a number of agents won't open their doors to email queries… To my mind it allows me to cover a vast territory…"


I know a number of agents won't open their doors to email queries, thinking that it will make for more work when they are beleaguered already. To my mind it allows me to cover a vast territory, not only in the range of work, but also in a global sense. But it is something I do in the morning when I'm fresh, or on the plane. All of my authors have email, so whether I am in New York, Los Angeles, or London, they can always reach me.

The net is also useful for tracking stories that I feel might have book or film potential. I use several topic-specific email news services, as well as the Publishers Weekly, Hollywood Reporter, Silicon Alley Reporter, and Inside.com email services. Of course, I also browse different content sites when time allows.


William Clark can be reached via email at wmclark@wmclark.com

Copyright 2000, William Clark