letters from the query wars 3.8.2013

# of queries responded to week ending 2.15.2013: 171
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 2
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: YA fantasy; YA contemporary

# of queries responded to week ending 2.22.2013: 143
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 0
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: n/a

# of queries responded to week ending 3.1.2013: 164
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 1
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: speculative thriller

# of queries responded to week ending 3.8.2013: 118
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 1
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: fantasy

oldest query in the queue: March 1st (note: this only applies to those sent to the specified query email address query.jjackson@maassagency.com)

Of the last 10 queries I reviewed:

3 of them did not include the first five sample pages requested in my submission guidelines

1 was a sample only but included no letter or synopsis

1 of them was nonfiction, which I do not represent

1 of them was a repeat query that was declined a few weeks ago

1 was via a business emailer distribution list

1 had a full manuscript attached (query guidelines specify no attachments)

3 followed guidelines and were for a genre I represent

Just a quick look into some first impressions of queries….

7 responses to “letters from the query wars 3.8.2013

  1. Thanks for this info. It’s really helpful. What’s the best thing a writer can do to make your job easier?

    • I’m betting the answer is: follow the guidelines (linked above on the page as “Submission Guidelines”), and write something that’s easy to read and entertaining. Guidelines aren’t arbitrary “jump through hoops” rules (or if you think they are… don’t submit to that editor/agent!); they’re there to streamline the process and help the reader get through things quickly, finding the stuff that sets the imagination on fire. It’s hard to set imagination on fire when the reader is going, “An attachment, which might contain viruses or might just be someone who didn’t read the guidelines.”

  2. Thank you for taking the time to post these. I really appreciate the information, and I know it takes up valuable time.

  3. So maybe “a few weeks” is a little to soon to re-query the same agent with your work, but what about more than a year. The novel (and query) have been completely revised since then.

  4. Jearl Rugh: The information I was told – having done this – is if it’s completely revised, and it’s been over a year, resubmit but also be upfront about the resubmission. (I was dealing with a gap more like 3 as I worked on another novel in between.)

    Ms. Jackson may of course have her own comments.

  5. @ Jerry : If you’re asking in terms of what an author can do to make reviewing queries easier, Beth is spot on — follow the guidelines. Check agency websites to confirm them.

    @ Rena : Happy to do so.

    @ Jearl : I’ve posted about this in the past and I think it’s okay to query again if both the query and manuscript have been significantly revised. My benchmark is usually at least 6 months work. In the case above, there were no changes at all — except the title was different.

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