letters from the query wars

# of queries read this week: 79
# of partials requested: 1
genre of partial requested: YA

Dear Queriers:

Ironically as several of my clients were rejoicing and sending notes of congratulations to both myself and the author (thanks!), a number of other people seemed to view my announcement of a new client this week with trepidation. A sort of half-empty thing, it seemed to me, in which they were projecting that I was filling up my list and would soon have no room for more. I quote from our website: “Our list is always tight, but never totally full.” So far, that’s been true. I have always managed to find room for an author with the story and talent to keep me up late at night. I imagine there is some logistical upper limit but I don’t feel near it yet.

Actually, until last Fall or so, I had been having a very slow time of finding new material that sang to me. I don’t know what exactly unstoppered the block, but the quality of submissions I’m getting has been much higher. Based on my tracking, I’ve requested a higher number of submissions at this point in the year than the same time last year. This either means that I’m an easier mark this year (unlikely) or I’m getting more submissions that are right for me and targeted to me and of better overall quality. So, I viewed my comment of wondering which would be the 7th novel this year to knock me over the head and drag me back to its cave from a half-full perspective.

In Search of #7

8 responses to “letters from the query wars

  1. While I wasn’t number 7, I have to admit that it gives me a little thrill every time you announce you’ve sent off requests or found a new client. I suppose it’s part of that “They did it. So can I!” philosophy. At any rate, it’s really good to hear that the quality of submissions has gone up. We can always use new books to read!

  2. I’ll have to admit, the above thought did cross my mind when you said you’d picked up another client….I’m glad to know that you’re still willing to consider others. ;o)

  3. Don’t get me wrong, I am truly happy for you and your new client, and did offer my congratulations, but I was getting a little worried. Thank you for quelling my worries. :*) I’m sure no unpublished genre writer wants Agent Manners’ list to ever be full. :*)

  4. Err, people are frustrated because you’re enthusiastic about books?
    And the honourable alternative to taking on a writer despite not having the time to do him justice would appear not to send him a form letter, but to give your agenting friends a heads-up, so even that sceneario does not necessarily play out badly for the writer.

  5. Well, I must admit I was wondering if that meant you’d soon be saying that you were regretfully full and unable to even look at another query. I’m very happy to hear that isn’t the case.

  6. If your book is the first in a series/duology/trilogy/quartet, etc., should you state so in the query (and how does that play into your assessment if it’s an unpublished author–care/don’t care/make you nervous)?
    Also, are you interested in seeing more urban fantasy (which seems to be the hot subgenre right now) or would an interesting epic fantasy catch your eye (or does it not matter if the query’s good!)?

  7. When you run out of time to read queries, then your list is full.

  8. Thanks, I needed to hear/read that. Congratulations on your new client, by the way.

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