letters from the query wars 5/21/2010

# of queries read last week: 100
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 1
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: romance

# of queries read this week: 26
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 0
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: n/a

Last week’s stats weren’t posted because I was attending the very excellent PennWriters Conference and didn’t have the opportunity. On account of this (and those aforementioned pesky wrist injuries reducing my keyboard time), I am also lagging a bit behind the 4 week response period listed on our website. The oldest query in my queue is 4/14/2010. I hope to be caught back up not too long after the upcoming BookExpo.

Meanwhile…. today’s topic is multiple queries….

Part the First– querying multiple agents at the same agency. As usual, your mileage may vary elsewhere, but, as our guidelines indicate, we don’t wish to receive multiple queries at our agency.

Most particularly, if you feel the need to ignore this guideline, #1 – don’t and #2 – don’t leave my sig file pasted into the query you are forwarding to my associate after I have already declined.

Naturally, this does not apply if an agent, of their own volition, suggests you contact one of their colleagues. But otherwise, please just choose one of us.

Part the Second– sending multiple queries for different projects simultaneously. I don’t recommend it. This message brought to you by the letters “p” and “q” and receiving 3 queries from the same author for 3 different projects in less than 24 hours, and none of them with the first five pages. I advise choosing the best and strongest project with which to query. Please query only one project at a time.

8 responses to “letters from the query wars 5/21/2010

  1. Multiplying the Problem
    In defense of those of us who read the guidelines and still queried more than one of you, albeit in succession, the guidelines can be interpreted to mean 1) that if you address your query to the general agency, only then does it serve to query all agents and 2) if you submit to a specific agent, don’t send the query to more than one agent at a time.
    Had I read this post first, I never would have hit that second send a couple of weeks after the first rejection. As it was, I was a bit murky on the directive so erred on the side of sending.
    Do you guys really share queries around? Or do you have interns doing a first read?

  2. If an agency that has already said No to a mss takes on a new agent with those kinds of interests, would it be appropriate to query them?

  3. Pennwriters
    It was great to see you at Pennwriters. I enjoyed your presentation. I wouldn’t think of sending to two different agents at the same agency but I guess it happens.

  4. question on submission
    When an agent asks for the first five pages of manuscript to be submitted with the query, does that include title page, prologue, page with inspirational quote that sets the tone of the novel, dedication pages, etc? Sorry if this is a dumb question. I am a newbie.

    • Re: question on submission
      Better to ask than not!
      What I want (and what I think most agents will also want) is the first five pages of the actual text, whether it begins with a prologue or not. Hope that helps!

  5. Thanks
    I just wanted to thank you for reading and responding to my query. I know you’ve been very backed up and incredibly busy lately, but I wanted to let you know that actually replying to me (good or bad) is an act of kindness that I appreciate knowing that you could easily leave authors without a firm or timely answer. I figured this little note would reach you much faster than an email, and I hope it helps you in the days of chugging along through query after query looking for that golden egg of genius.
    Thanks again,
    Nathan Gilbert

  6. Thanks for the submission advice!
    Thanks for the heads up on the first 5 pages. We actually eliminated our prologue and merged it into the book itself, as it’s tone was different then the main part of the novel. We decided we didn’t want to give you the completely wrong impression of what the book was like.
    We’ll be adding our 5 pages query to your growing pile soon we are basically done with the novel for the most part…

  7. Multiple Queries
    “I advise choosing the best and strongest project with which to query. Please query only one project at a time.”
    I wonder, What are your feelings about “end to end” querying? Basically, having several stories lined up, and going down the list as they get denied?
    Granted, as a writer, we’re likely to send off the piece WE are most proud of (feel confident with) first… but that might not necessarily be the actual best/most likely to succeed piece we have completed.
    I can totally understand disapproving of the situation you cited (you are not a sounding board:P), but would that sentiment extend to full, acceptable queries being sent after the previous one was denied?

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