One of my favourite bloggers Jody Hedlund wrote a rather insightful piece on Is The Query System Dying? a week ago.
I do query the trend in literary circles to insist on such emotive language though. The novel is not dead, it's simply evolving with the times. The delivery mechanism is altering, not the content. The query system is not dead, it just has massive holes in it. It's a system. Not a living entity.
Fundamentally, the system as it stands can no longer meet demand. Simple as. In fact, it never really had longevity. Agents are social creatures. They're good with people, good at negotiating, passionate about people and ideas. Sitting isolated in a room reading thousands of query letters was never going to work. Agents are out and about. They're at conferences, literary events, publishing houses.
So what are you to do if you're on of the 10,000 cold calling? Give up now?! Of course not.
If writers can't think outside the box and find ways around this, then who can?
But why is the onus all on you? Haven't you done enough?
The real question now is how to flip all this? The real debate is whose going to come up with the new system that serves the 10,000?