letters from the query wars 4.2.2011

# of queries responded to last week: 157
# of partials/submissions requested: 0
genre of partials/submissions requested: n/a

# of queries responded to this week: 179
# of partials/submissions requested: 2
genre of partials/submissions requested: fantasy (1), YA (1)

A couple weeks ago, I asked people if there was something different they wanted to see in these missives. Some suggested, as an alternative to itemizing the query wars casualties and seriously wounded, they sometimes wanted to know more about those that garnered requests.

This week…

One of them had a referral from a writer whom I know and admire. But that’s not why I asked for it. The author also had some short story credits. That’s not why I asked for it either. In just five pages, the story generated atmosphere and powerful emotion. Plus, prose ninja.

As for the other, if it had been presented in an author/agent pitch session at a conference, I may very well not have asked for it as it’s outside my usual milieu. However, the narrative voice in the pages was especially striking and I felt compelled to read on. This is how one’s reading horizons expand.

6 responses to “letters from the query wars 4.2.2011

  1. It is incredibly helpful to know why those partials were requested–as subjective as this business is, every little bit of insight and perspective helps. Also, I am now morally and professionally obligated to Google the term “prose ninja”. 🙂

  2. I agree with Heather. That is incredibly helpful. Thank you.

  3. Steve Rodgers

    If you received a manuscript that was really long (say 180K word Fantasy), would this result in an automatic rejection?

    There’s lot’s of debate on the web about how much word count matters for longer-than-average books. Understand it probably doesn’t matter when the word count is within a certain “normal” range.

    Seems like I consistently pick up fantasy novels in the bookstore which must be at least 170K words from the page count. Some of those are from first time authors…

    And thanks for this very helpful glimpse into the query wars!

  4. Steve Rodgers

    OK and despite my attempt to avoid typos when sending missives to an agent, I apparently missed the “lot’s” above…

  5. Charles M Warren

    I was wondering about the word count as well. Mine is 131,000 words, but if I broke it up into, say, three parts (approximately 44,000 each), would that be too short? Another factor is that I wanted to incorporate some of my illustrations among the text of the book.

    Thanks for all this great insight!

  6. Pingback: letters from the query wars 4.15.2011 | Et in arcaedia, ego.

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