Monday, December 19, 2005

Am I Scrooge?

Am I Scrooge? My fiancĂ© is starting to get a bit worried, reading my posts of the past few days. Well, here’s some news to warm your heart: Tonight, The 700 Club, will be running a story on Andrew Bateson, the young boy featured in Mark Patinkin’s book, UP AND RUNNING. The link to read about the segment is here: If you aren’t sure where you can watch The 700 Club, the link to find your local station is here: Now, yes, I do know this is all tied into CBN and Pat Robertson and, no, I’m not a fan of the guy, so please don’t go off on me for promoting him here. But I am a fan of Mark Patinkin and Andrew Bateson and do believe that this should be a segment worth watching. I hope you will, and I hope you’ll buy the book, too. Hey, it would make a great Xmas gift!


Sunday, December 18, 2005

The word you're looking for is _farkakt._

As much as anyone, I think publishing is a desperately inefficient system, most probably because it is often not nearly a profitable-enough system wherein publishers can invest in the kind of training and systems required to make it more efficient. After all, I’d like to think that it’s inefficiency that causes two divisions of a major publisher to constantly commit breaches of contract on issues like cover copy approval and cover consultation, and not arrogance (“What are they gonna do? Sue?”) or incompetence. Or that causes the subsidiary rights department of a major toy/publishing company to note in its records that the royalty statement wasn’t received from the Spanish publisher, but then not go ask the Spanish publisher where it is.

As a good friend of mine, another literary agent who has withdrawn from the business, once said, “the problem with publishing is that it’s not really scalable.” You can’t really mass-produce anything in publishing. I can invent the Mach 3 Razor once and sell the same design for ten years. But you can’t do that in publishing. Every single book is its own product. Every single book requires its own special treatment. Gilette can spend a billion dollars designing one razor, then sell it year, after year. Publishing creates hundreds (thousands?) of new products every month and each one needs its own marketing and promotion. Not an easy task.

Publishing, it occurs to me, is like teaching schoolchildren, and it’s about as defective as the educational system. Every book has its own special needs, its own parent(s), its own success or failure. Sure you can put thirty kids in the same room and try to teach them the same thing. Or you can put publish thirty books in the same month and try to get the same performance out of each one. You will succeed in neither case. The closest the publishing industry has come is genre romance and genre westerns, but in a country of 260 million, we’re talking about net sales of perhaps 10,000 books per month in certain romance or western slots. This is not “mass” publishing. It’s micro-publishing. I suspect if you took a class of Harvard MBA students and asked them to evaluate the trade publishing industry, they’d say it’s a terrible idea. The economies of scale suck. The overhead is too high. The royalty structure too generous. Academic and professional publishing are a little better. Authors get paid royalties on net income; schools use the same textbooks year after year, thus ensuring continuing sales, if not expanding markets. But the razor business it ain’t.

According to Publishers Marketplace, Random House CEO Peter Olson, in his year-end letter, said, “our lowest-ever overall return percentage rate.” (Spokesman Stuart Applebaum says they aren’t ready to announce the returns number, but says “We're beyond the Holy Grail of under 30 percent.”) Wow! That means that only thirty of every one hundred books shipped was returned to the publisher. If you were selling cars and thirty of every one hundred was sent back, how quickly would you go out of business? If you were selling coats and thirty of every one hundred came back, would you still do business with that designer? And yet that the fact that only thirty of every one hundred books is being returned to Random House is being trumpeted as a success on the order of finding the Holy Grail. Does that make sense?

My grandfather, a drygoods peddler who started working around the age of fifteen and stopped, well, the day he died, had a word for a business like publishing: farkakt.

At a mystery writers' conference, I asked a room of over more than one-hundred people how many had bought a mystery in the last month. Only a handful of people raised their hands. If mystery writers aren't buying mystery books, how can they hope to find someone to publish their own?

As we go into the final stretch of gift buying for Xmas and Hanukkah, I have two words for authors hoping to get published: Buy Books! Because if authors themselves aren't buying books, who do they think is?


Saturday, December 17, 2005

I read it online. It MUST be true!

Often I worry if authors are not their own worst enemies. By standing around on virtual street corners chanting, “Our way or no way!” are they hurting their chances of finding success in the publishing world? By filling up websites with rumors or even the experiences of one or two authors and putting labels on agents, are they helping or hurting? If one agent who keeps calling me gets her way, some of these websites are going to get sued sooner or later. She's convinced they are engaged in restraint of trade, libel or slander, which could make for an interesting lawsuit if it ever comes about.

One of these sites that posts "recommendatons" and “warnings” about agents actually has me listed twice, which I've found very confusing. Now, the creator of this site and I have had some interesting conversations over the years and he regularly reads and comments on the another site where I answer questions. On his site, there are two postings about me. If you look under the letter “A,” you’ll find this:

“Andrew Zack: $ a literary agent (Literary, Adult) with The Zack Company. Editor's note: Mr. Zack gives excellent advice in discussions on the Internet. He's well worth listening to.” [emphasis his]

If you look under the letter “Z,” you’ll find this:

Zack Company, The (formerly The Andrew Zack Literary Agency): $ Optional fees. Not recommended. a literary agency.”

Confusing, no?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t want you to think I’m anti-author or anti-editor. I’m not. Heck, I’m not even anti-websites-that-publish-information-about-agents. But you have got to get that information right! There should be a solid journalistic approach to this research. And I don’t mean journalism the way CBS News reported on George Bush’s days in the Air National Guard. I mean solid, fact-checked journalism that is objective. The editor in question is personally opposed to any circumstance, even an optional service, where the author pays the agent beyond commission on a sale, so he labels me “not recommended.” That’s not objective, that’s subjective. But he likes what I have to say on another site, so he says I’m “well worth listening to.” Gee, why do I suddenly feel confused? Am I recommended or am I not? Could I be recommended as worth listening to, but then not recommended as an agent? Besides me, how many other agents are being praised and criticized simultaneously?

And let’s not even get started on the bulletin boards themselves. Didn’t these authors go to high school? Did they miss the 7th Heaven episode on the evils of rumors? Do they not understand that someone posting anonymously on a website about Mary Sue being a slut may not be the best resource? I hear she did three guys in one night! She must have the clap for sure!

For every agent, you will certainly find at least one author who thinks poorly of him or her. For every guy there’s a woman who thinks he’s a jerk. For every woman, there’s a guy who thinks she’s a witch. That’s life. Form your own judgments, please. Do your own due diligence. Look at what agents have to say for themselves, read their agency agreements, and if you really want to know what they are like as an agent, look at who they represent. In this day and age, it's not that hard to locate an author. Many writers' organizations publish directories of their members and list their agents. How hard would it really be to find someone actually represented by the agent you're researching?

Then again, you might not even have to ask. There's little that holds an author to agent. If an agent isn't doing a good job, or isn't acting in a completely kosher manner, it's easy enough to say good-bye. So the very fact that an author whose work you admire is represented by an agent can probably be taken as a vote of confidence, I feel.

They say you can judge a man by the company he keeps. Can't you also just an agent by the authors he keeps? Just a thought....


Friday, December 16, 2005

Here’s what I want you to get yourself for the holidays

Several years ago, I picked up the latest hardcover by an author whose first several books I had acquired and/or edited. I was surprised to find out that he was still thanking me in the acknowledgments, even though I’d had nothing to do with that book, or any of his prior two or three before that. I called him up to say how nice that was and he said, “Hey, you taught me how to write a thriller.” And that’s probably true. In fact, the reality is that I made him throw out the first one hundred pages of his first novel and then gave him a page or two on what should actually happen in those first hundred pages. Subsequently, I took him through three or four drafts of each of the next four or five books. Now I love this guy. He’s great. But that’s not editing. That’s taking an author by the nose and pulling until he finds his way to a finished manuscript. And even after all those drafts, I would still extensively line-edit his work.

Should I have been doing that? Or should I have been spending my time looking for authors who needed less work? In today’s publishing environment, I can say that the answer would certainly be, No, you should not be doing that and, Yes, you should be looking for projects that can get out the door and into the sales pipeline faster.

And, as an agent, that has to be my approach also. In my year-end email to my clients, I just wrote this:

One of the very real frustrations of the last year has been current clients submitting material that’s just not ready to be shown. Whether it’s because the material needs rewriting or simply reformatting, I can’t emphasize how much it slows down the process when something comes in not ready to go out immediately. Every client receives manuscript preparation guidelines when they sign on with my firm. I believe nearly every client is writing in Microsoft Word. I cannot emphasize strongly enough that following those guidelines and using the spelling- and grammar-checking functions in your software will vastly speed up the process of getting your manuscripts or proposals out to publishers. Imagine my frustration when I open up a file on my computer and Microsoft Word flags several misspellings. How can that be? Or imagine my reaction when I open up a file and find the wrong margins, words in italics instead of underlined, or formatting that clearly does not follow THE CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE?

Some authors seem to believe that typos and formatting don’t really matter. After all, they will get fixed during the editorial process, they seem to think. But in reality, those typos and style errors lead agents and editors to believe that representing or publishing a book will be more work. If I know how to spell- or grammar-check a file, then surely any author should also, right? If I know to look up the right way to punctuate or format something in CHICAGO, then an author should also, right?

I am attaching a PDF file with the standard MS preparation tips, so that you can have a copy handy. I also strongly recommend that every author ask for a copy of THE CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE this Xmas or Hanukkah and give it a read. It’s highly educational and an invaluable resource for any writer.

And that goes for all of you out there. Read THE CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE. Read THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE. Don’t just buy them and leave them on your shelf. Use the software you have and use it correctly. Every time I see an author using spaces instead of tabs or tabs instead of centering commands, I think, This author is a computer illiterate who will forever torment me with manuscripts and proposals that will need reformatting. That does not make me want to represent them.

In the end, it is the substance that matters, but presentation counts. They say you only get one chance to make a first impression. Putting together a sharp manuscript or proposal is definitely a good start.


A different kind of spiritual experience...

As Christmas and Hanukkah approach, I’m pleased to share with you a guest blog that reminds us that there are other forms of spirituality. Shawn Rost-Howen, author of the novel MEDICINE MAN (currently on submission), has always impressed me with her writing. This blog is no exception....


There is a road I like to drive. It’s a smooth road, well maintained, with properly banked curves and not traveled much. I’m a car enthusiast and this road, located in the buffer zone between the army base and the rural town I live near, is the perfect place to test car and driver.

Once, I would have sought such a place on horseback, but these days my purple Ford Mustang is a good replacement—not quite the same exhilaration, or challenge, but in its own way just as therapeutic. The thrill of driving around the curves at past the posted limit to zoom up the hills and glide down the other side is hard to match. Recently, as I sped through my favorite low water crossing, a huge black looking bird flew out of the scrub on the edge of the road right in front of the car.

I hit the clutch and brake at the same time and locked my hands on the wheel—the Mustang skidded sideways—I was sure I’d hit the bird. Muttering under my breath and cursing out loud about dumb vultures, (there are a lot of those critters out there, what other huge bird could it have been?)—I got out of the car and walked to the front to see how much damage was done to the car—and hoped I wouldn’t have to finish the bird.

A loud screech followed by a flash of wings greeted me from the scrub next to the road. A huge golden eagle flew over the road so close that I ducked, thinking it intended to attack me. From my place squatting on the road I watched as it zoomed upward and then floated on the air streams.

"Well, Brother Eagle, perhaps it is a day to drive slow," I said to the bird now circling above me.

Back in the car I drove in a low gear watching Brother Eagle, male just seemed right about this majestic bird. At a T intersection that I normally turned right on, the bird flew left. I went left. Pigeons followed roadways—did eagles? I wished I’d brought my camera—memories would have to do.

The terrain in the area is rough, semi-desert, covered in low growing cedar, mesquite, and live oak—rocks and boulders cover the ground with clumps of buffalo grass filling in the gaps. The land itself is a study in scrub-covered buttes and low hills. The land looks inviting to hike, it’s not, rattlesnakes and scorpions like it here and I’m not a big fan of tarantulas either. But, when Brother Eagle winged his way up one of the low hills, I pulled over.

With the scrub and grass winter-dead I spotted a deer trail leading to the hill and up it. Grabbing my water bottle and my notebook and pens (what writer doesn’t have these everywhere—the note books and pens anyway—the water is a must in this area, even in winter) I made my way across the ground—it was too chilly for snakes and such. I hoped.

About two thirds the way up the hill several rocks sat in the trail itself, the deer path went around it on both sides. The rocks made a good seat. I sat there and watched the eagle until it flew off—too far away to see any longer. I rested on the rocks, taking in the cool breeze and pondering Brother Eagle’s visit.

The Ancestors would have thought him a sign, a messenger—they would have considered it an honor to have such a bird come to them. I scribbled thoughts in my notebook. What did he want to tell me? I was working on book three in a series about a Native American man who travels to the past. Maybe Brother Eagle simply wanted to be included in the tale. What would he say to my main character—two-thousand years in the past, to save the future?

A slight movement caught my attention and I turned to look at the path I’d just struggled up. If I could have become one with the rock I sat on, I would have.

Standing on the trail, a cougar stared back at me. Most people’s first instinct is to run—not a good idea. Cougar, as do all cats, likes to chase and play—I didn’t want to be Cougar’s toy. I sat and stared at Cougar. Cougar stared back.

Eye contact doesn’t matter as long as you don’t move. My nose itched. Something crawled up my pants leg. The fingers holding my pen began to cramp. The rock that moments before made a comfortable seat now grew sharp edges making me want to shift positions.

The wind blew. Grit got in my eyes. I blinked, then forced my eyes to stay open. Even domestic kittens will bat at your eyes if you blink at them.

How ironic that I lived with a Bobcat and an Ocelot and here I was about to become a cougar’s breakfast. I could see the headlines, Indian Woman Who Works with Non-Domestic Cat Rescue Eaten by Cougar.

Cougar sat down.

Great. We were going to play the waiting game. How long would the big cat sit there and wait for me to move? My house cats will sit for hours waiting on Mr. Mouse to come out of the pantry—and now I needed to take a leak.

Brother Eagle chose that moment to return—he dove out of the sky and almost hit me. I tumbled off my rock perch and curled into a ball, clasping my hands to the back of my neck— waiting for the burn of cougar teeth and claws.

Cougar mewed.

I peered at the big cat from under my elbow.

Cougar purred.

What in the world?

I slowly unwound from my fetal ball.

Cougar stood within touching distance. Her mouth opened and she yawned as if bored with me and the entire game. She turned her long thick tail to me and wandered back down the trail.

Such an encounter is not taken lightly. I’m still evaluating the meaning of it—one thing is for certain, it came at a time of great change for me and I needed direction—reassurances, things I came away from the meeting with. Unlike the main character in my currently available novel, MEDICINE MAN, I don’t doubt the reality of the experience or the spiritual guidance of the ancestors.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Yes, you too can be an Editor!

“Your book has the wrong cover on Amazon? There are no copies at your local Barnes & Noble? Let me send an email to Sales about that.” Editors know little about the sales process (as an editor at the Berkley Publishing Group, I was instructed to never quote a number in a conversation with Sales unless I had that number on a piece of paper given to me by Sales). Editors know little, if anything, about production. When I was an editorial assistant, a set of galleys came back looking like hell. I told my boss that it was a driver issue with the laser printer they'd run the galleys from. He looked at me like I was nuts (though after two and a half years running my college yearbook, I probably knew more about electronic type and production than he did after ten years in the book business), then went to see the production manager and was told exactly what I told him. As an assistant at a very major publishing house, I happened to hear one side of a long conversation take place between a very senior editor and a party representing a major photographer. The editor was working on a book about a subject that had been photographed by the photographer. Somehow, a bunch of this photographer’s pictures had appeared in the book without her permission. Now, this is Publishing 101. You do not publish an award-winning, world-famous photographer’s pictures without permission. You do not publish my grandmother’s pictures of me in the bathtub without her permission. Yet, I swear to G-d this very senior editor was on the phone professing ignorance of that rule. A negotiation tactic to cover a blunder the author made? Perhaps. But how does the very senior editor let the book get printed without getting the permissions from the author? Was he covering up a blunder he, the editor, who didn’t usually do illustrated books, genuinely and stupidly made? Perhaps. Either way, it doesn’t look too good for the editor or publisher, does it?

Folks, editors are not these gods of the written word authors make them out to be. Nor are they the sticklers for detail that you think they are. They are not experts at grammar, punctuation, and style. They may not have been literature or English majors. They have likely received little or no “training” as editors. They are not required to take a course at NYU in editing, or to have attended a publishing course at Columbia. When I started in this business, we were required to take a typing test. Four years of college, over $100,000 of my dad’s money spent, and my ability to get a job at Random House depended on how many words a minute I could type...on a typewriter! Yes, in 1988, it all came down to words per minute on an IBM Selectric. Of course, I hadn’t typed on a typewriter since 1985, but that’s my fault, right? The HR woman actually said, “That’s the problem with you kids today. You’ve all been spoiled. Well, here in the real world, we still use typewriters.”

Here’s a dirty secret: Want to become an editor at a major publishing house? Get a job as an assistant for $21,000-$30,000 a year (good luck living in NYC on that salary, by the way) and keep your nose clean for as many years as it takes to get promoted very slowly up the ladder. Voila! You’re an editor. Doesn’t matter if you have a BA or a BS or a Masters. Doesn’t matter if you sold computers for five years or cars for that matter. Interview well, convince them you can do the job, you’re in. After all, you’re just a glorified secretary.

If your boss is kind, you in fact may get a lesson or two in how to edit. I got one from one of my two bosses at Warner Books once. It might have taken twenty or even thirty minutes. Otherwise, what I knew I learned from (a) being a yearbook editor or working on other publications in college; (b) reading editorial letters and looking at edited manuscripts from my bosses or other editors; (c) reading THE CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE and other books about style, punctuation, and production; (d) editing books my bosses didn’t want to edit. My sincere sympathies to Kevin Randall, a/k/a Cat Branigan, author of the WINGS OVER ‘NAM series, and Simon Hawke, author of the WIZARD OF 4TH STREET series. Also the real authors behind Donald N. Norman (yes, they were two guys named Donald ‘n Norman), authors of THUNDER STATION, for these were the first books I edited as a twenty-three-year-old assistant for Warner Books. To Jay Leno, all I can say is you’re a lucky bastard I was an anal-retentive assistant while clearing the permissions for all of the photos used in that first HEADLINES book. The guy who had the job before me had filled his drawer will copies of every piece of paper ever to cross his desk, so scared was he of screwing up or losing something. I can’t imagine what he’d have done trying to track down all those newspapers and photographers in the years before the Internet!

The editorial assistant willing to put in the years might ultimately be rewarded, but just barely. One editor I know, a very bright young woman, actually got herself promoted to Editor after about four years, I think. (For the record, I went from assistant to Editor in twenty-eight months, though I did move from Simon & Schuster [five months], to Warner Books [fourteen months], to Donald I. Fine [eight months], to the Berkley Publishing Group to do it.) The only problem for this bright young editor was that even though she was now an Editor, she was still acting as the assistant to an Executive Editor. Whereas, while some Editors do not have assistants, many do. (For those not in the know, the promotion track is usually Editorial Assistant, Assistant Editor, Associate Editor, Editor, Senior Editor, Executive Editor.) Can you imagine how humiliating it must be finally to get that big promotion, only to be told that you will still be doing the work of an Editorial Assistant for someone else? Lord knows it’s frustrating enough being an Editorial Assistant or Assistant Editor and have a boss yelling at you to get off the phone because she needs you to photocopy something. Now imagine being an Editor regularly acquiring hardcover and paperback titles and being in the position. Now imagine being an author acquired by that editor! Oy.

In today’s publishing world, an editor’s greatest strength may be the ability to tell an editor-in-chief what he or she wants to hear. There are editors who are clock-punchers. In at nine and gone by five. Their only goal throughout the day is to avoid headaches. They do not argue with their bosses on behalf of authors. They do not invest personally in their books. They do not send out manuscripts for quotes. They do the minimum required to get a book out the door.

Now why is that? Because when books fail (and most do; according to the CFO of one major publisher, the vast majority of books they publish do not earn out their advances), the editor-in-chief is going to be a lot more likely to scrutinize that thorn in her side than the guy who has always been a “company man.” And because books fail more often than not, is it really worth all the aggravation and heartache of arguing and fighting in the office to make them work? Or, given the shelf-life of a paperback book, is it really worth giving up evenings and weekends with your wife and kids to edit four drafts of a novel? Or would it be easier to just look for those books that require very little work in order to be published?

Ponder that one over dinner with the family.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Yes, and for January, too

At the start of December, I posted that I would be closed to new queries and submissions for the month of December. Now that we are half way through December, I can see that I will have to continue that closure through January also.

I will, of course, post here and on my site when I am once again open to new queries.


It may be time for a serious reality check

I’ve been rather quiet here of late, as I’ve been working on a number of editorial chores as well as continuing to answer questions over in the Ask the Agent topic on the Absolute Write site.

Recently, I posed the question there as to whether or not there is any chance that a “reading fee” or “application fee” might be considered valid by the majority of the author community. The reaction there has been strongly negative, with one writer in particular stating stridently that any kind of reading fee is wrong, that any circumstance in which the money flows from the author to the agent is wrong, and that anyone who charges any kind of fee beyond commission must be a “bad agent.” It’s been fascinating, in part, because it’s like a compressed or condensed version of something I see all the time on websites and bulletin boards frequented by authors and it boils down to this: (best read out loud in a very self-righteous tone) “We, the authors of the world, believe that agents and publishers should do business the way we say they should, dammit, and if you don’t, we will label you a bad agent, or worse a scammer, or a bad publisher, and we will rise up and scream (or more likely post or blog) in our many voices until you do business the way we want you to do business.”

ZZZZzzzzzzzz. Oh, sorry, I dozed off while the authors were ranting.

This, folks, reminds me of my female friends who like to rant and rave about what jerks men are and why don’t men treat women the way women want to be treated. Well, some men will, but that’s mostly to get la--, I mean lucky, but at the end of the day, it seems most women still feel like they’ve just been screwed.

Of course, then there’s the men, complaining that women are such pains in the ass and that their expectations are so high and how the hell did their expectations get so high and, what, do they think all men are made out of money?

You know, this metaphor works better than I first expected.

The problem I see with the author "community" is that the expectations most authors have of agents and editors are simply not in line with reality...and it may be time for a serious reality check. Sure, there are a handful of very successful, very flush agents, and a handful of very successful, well-staffed editors who are incredibly efficient in their reading (or simply have no lives, which may be true more often than not), but they are the exception, not the rule.

The inefficiencies in publishing are matched only by the desire by publishers to interact as little as possible with authors and agents. Editors want the authors to be there when they call, but would really prefer it if the authors didn’t have to call them. After all, the publisher paid good money to “buy” their book (try to explain the difference between a sale of rights and a license of rights to an editor and you will quickly be told “That’s a question for Contracts”) and is investing a great deal of effort into publishing it. But now it’s the publisher’s book and job to get it out there, not the author’s. Just be there to answer the copyeditor’s queries and read the proofs within three days of receipt (“Oh, the contract says five? Well, Production needs it faster than that, so skip your kid’s bar mitzvah and get it back to us by Monday, okay?”) Or be ready to drop everything and go on that radio show that airs at 4 a.m. (“You do realize, don’t you, that most authors don’t ever get asked to go on the radio. This is a big deal.”)

In other words, be ready to wait, wait, wait, then hurry up, dammit!

With that thought, you'll have to wait until tomorrow for part two of this scintillating post.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

The November Scorecard

Well, it’s the start of December, so you know what that’s time for the November scorecard.

During the month of November, I received 107 query letters and declined fifty-nine.  I received twenty-five requested sample chapters and declined twenty-six.  I requested six more.  I also received one requested proposal and asked to see three more.  I received one manuscript that I’d requested.

During the month of November, I offered representation to one author.

Currently, I have fourteen outstanding requests for sample chapters, proposals, or full manuscripts.  Please note that if I don’t hear from you within ninety days of requesting more material, I discard your original query.  Since I respond to everything, one way or another, provided an SASE was included, if you are sure you included an SASE and have not heard from me, and you queried me prior to November 15th, you should probably query me again in February 2006 (no new queries in December, please).  Either your query or my response was probably lost in the mail.

I currently have approximately 121 sample chapters, proposals, and full manuscripts to review.  Of that 121, about a dozen or so are full manuscripts that I’ve requested or are by current clients.  Additionally, I have no less than five projects by current clients pending final review prior to being submitted.  Needless to say, my plate is quite full, and hence the reason I’ve closed for new queries during the month of December.  Looking at this, I realize that I may have to extend that closing to January, so please do check back here for more information prior to querying me.

Thank you.