letters from the query wars

# of queries read this week: 166
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 0
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: n/a

Over 300 queries still in the queue. And not quite a month since queries re-opened. Where does all the time go?

Two things that popped up a lot in queries this week….

— First-time novelist querying before the book is done. A number of people mentioned that they had started a book, were such and such percentage done, planned to be done by a certain date, etc. If any of these are true, the person sent the query too soon. Finish the book before querying. Better yet, revise the book before querying.

(Yes, the rules are different for nonfiction proposals – read this.)

— Emailing the query and the sample separately. Please do not do this. Given the amount of incoming email to the query address finding and pairing these up may end up happening after the fact. Which may be too late.

12 responses to “letters from the query wars

  1. Where does all the time go?
    Probably the same place all the rum goes. 🙂

  2. Oh BTW! My sample chapters will be along in 6 weeks! Just hold on to my query til then!
    Seriously though, and this might be a hard question to answer, but what % (roughly) of the – say – 200 queries a week that you read are dead in the water before the 1st line because they are not finished books, wrong genre, just plain weird etc…?

  3. I’m always surprised that writers can’t follow submission guidelines. Seriously, aren’t words supposed to be our thing?

  4. I too cannot believe that so many “writers” have such a hard time following a few simple rules. It must drive you nuts.

  5. I find it odd that someone would actually read the submission guidelines and then not follow them to the letter if they are actually serious about wanting to get an agent. Alas I suppose some people are so anxious, they can not help but try before their book is finished. It must be exhausting for you.

  6. That is so rude. Makes me shudder to think of anyone reading my WIP without me first editing it at least thrice.

  7. unfinished manuscript
    Are the rules different is the submittee is not a first-time novelist?
    Just curious.

  8. On querying before the book is done
    In Stephen King’s book, On Writing, he recommends getting an agent before the book is done, even for first time authors. So it’s quite possible you have him to thank for those quaries.

  9. My query is SO good…
    …that each paragraph requires its own e-mail. Because, you know, that’s how you build suspense. By the time you open the seventh e-mail, you’re just dying to find out how the query ends, right?

  10. Question
    I am an aspiring author and recently found your blog. After reading the “Query War” posts I am concerned and a bit surprised at the number of ms requests you ask for. So I was thinking are the queries all “new”. I am sure you get some re-queries. All I can think is OMG how is my query going to stand out! These are great posts and I appreciate the honesty, even if it causes me a mini panic attack.

  11. This seems so silly but….when agents request pages are they asking for single spaced pages or double spaced? I was told always send double spaced, but when it’s something like 5 pages which is roughly two single spaced pages, that never seems like enough.

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