letters from the query wars 12/3/2010

# of queries responded to last week: 75
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 1
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: SF

# of queries responded to this week: 163
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 1
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: SF

oldest query in the queue: November 30

A list inspired by this week’s queries:

* I still don’t represent memoirs.

* A debut author of fiction should have completed (and revised) the manuscript before they begin querying.

* Proof-reading is a good idea. So is spelling query correctly.

* Only submit your query to one agent at DMLA. Not multiple agents. (It’s in our guidelines.)

* No attachments are accepted on queries.

* The query and sample pages need to be in English.

* Those 37,000 words from NaNoWriMo are not a finished novel.

18 responses to “letters from the query wars 12/3/2010

  1. * Those 37,000 words from NaNoWriMo are not a finished novel.
    You know, I’ve heard that people do this, but I hadn’t actually seen *proof* before. Wow.

  2. I promise I won’t do this
    I *PROMISE* I won’t do this when I submit my query.
    1. I will follow the guidelines
    2. I will address it to an actual person and spell his/her name correctly’
    3. I will keep the query short and interesting
    4. I will be polite and engaging at the same time
    5. I will not turn in a first draft hoping its brilliance will stun you into accepting it sight unseen.
    6. I will eat healthier in 2011 (OK, the last one is a freebie of something I should be doing anyway)

  3. Those 37,000 words from NaNoWriMo are not a finished novel
    Dearie, dearie me. That would even fall in to the novella category.

  4. Shoot! I knew that query I sent to you in Martian wasn’t going to work, grr.

  5. * Those 37,000 words from NaNoWriMo are not a finished novel.
    On behalf of all NaNoWriMo participants who are actually aware of such things, I apologize.
    I mod the Reference Desk forum over there, and earlier this week I had to move a post into the Writing 101 forum. Said user posted asking about publishers of YA fantasy novels. The “completed” MS was only 22,000 words.
    I added a note to my post saying I was moving it, just to point out that (1) 22,000 words is not a YA novel (50,000 could be, but not 22,000); and (2) those 22,000 words are going to need to be edited and rewritten multiple times before it’s ready for an agent or a publisher.
    Someday I will have some completed novels to submit. When I do, I will read all of the guidelines carefully and follow them to the letter, and I will ensure that everything is spelled and punctuated correctly.

    • 22k is short even, iirc, for a Middle Grade novel – whereas 37-40 could be acceptable (were it, you know, a polished ms and not a first draft). 22k is a novella. T_T

      • I know, I said it might be okay for Middle Grade, but definitely not YA. Hey, it could be okay for Early Readers! 😉
        My novels are 50k, but they are Inspirational YA – 100 pages long or so, final published copy. (Think Lurlene McDaniel-type stories only people don’t usually die in mine.) Given that I’ve only actually completed first drafts on all of them (they’re all in various stages of first edit/rewrite), I won’t be shocked if they get longer. 🙂

  6. >>> Those 37,000 words from NaNoWriMo are not a finished novel.
    Oh my God, it’s started!

  7. Somebody sent you a query about a NaNo project? That’s 37K long? SERIOUSLY?… [boggle]

  8. Wow; I have heard around that some will submit their NaNo but really… 37k isn’t even the length to have finished NaNo, and so soon after NaNo finished there’s no way it’s been properly edited and revised.
    Good luck in the query wars! These posts are great; the little lists at the end always help aspiring writers like myself.

  9. LOL Your list made my day … particularly that last point.

  10. My word, you must get tired of repeating yourself.

  11. Well, what about the memoir of an unpublished writer, focused on the experience of producing 37,000 words for Nanowrimo?

  12. Do people really send queries in other languages? Why? O_O

  13. Ha ha ha ha ha.
    How else would you spell “query”? Q-u-e-r-i-e?
    Best post ever.

  14. …I used Nano as an excuse to officially start on my current manuscript, but I wouldn’t go so far as to mention that the manuscript I was sending was a Nano project. That doesn’t ever inspire anything but annoyance. I don’t think any agent would ever find that information important. Why bother mentioning it in your query?
    Also, this gives me hope that my own query will stand out since so many others fail so spectacularly. One man’s mistakes are another man’s book deal.

  15. Jennifer,
    Love the query wars as always. 😀 Hopefully it’ll get better in 2011.
    Hope you have a wonderful holiday and lots of great food!

  16. Oh wow, that last point is fabulous. HAH.

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