I’ve had the pleasure of meeting several of my competitors over the last couple years. While we all have our own personalities, we do have several things in common. Near the top of that list is a dearth of time. This is true of those of us building our lists, and those who have lists that make their competitors salivate. One of the things that I’ll take the opportunity to declare a universal truth of agents is that we tend to ask questions with a precision a neurosurgeon would appreciate. We know exactly what info we are looking for. We want it in a specific order if at all possible, and broken up into orderly clusters that can let us apply that information with the maximum effect later. So when we ask a question, please answer the question we do ask, not the question you wish we’d asked, or the question you think we should have asked, or ala most politicians and public relations talking heads the question you wanted us to ask.
The reasons for this are legion, the most salient are stated above. But they are (at least for me) not the only reasons we do this. For me, and I suspect most agents one of the things taken into consideration when we read enough of a submission and its cover letter is how much we want to work with the person who created the title. I’ve gotten no few submissions since I started the agency from people who wrote at a publishable level (or very close to it) but who were in the precise technical terms I learned as a psychology student bug-fuck-nuts and who would have sucked up more of my energy than I care to devote to any one person. Indeed, It would be unfair of me to other clients to take on these people who would take my time and energy away from existing and future clients who had entrusted their career to me.