letters from the query wars 10.4.2013

# of queries responded to week ending 10.4.2013: 114
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 1
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: mainstream fiction

First, I wanted to say thank you to those who commented on last week’s query wars. Many of the suggestions made were good to hear, though I’ll admit I was more thinking over a way to change this column than my method of reviewing queries themselves. I particularly appreciated the comments giving me perspective on how the statistics were helpful in a way – giving insight or showing how much just following guidelines alone gives an author a step up. It seems like it’s just sometimes so easy to get bogged down in the numbers and forget the good stories. So, as one person pointed out, I’ll look for something like that to add to future letters at times. Those comments gave me some things to think about and I may go back to them again for some other insights in future entries.

Tonight, though I want to share a kind of funny bit that oddly helped me regain some perspective. No sooner had I posted last Friday than I received in just a few hours:

* a query sent solely as an attachment
* a re-query of the same project less than 24 hours after declining
* a query for an incomplete debut novel
* a book of poetry on a nonfiction topic

Based on the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs in last week’s entry, writers, I thought maybe someone was having a bit of fun at my expense. Or, possibly, as someone commented last week, there are just a number of people who aren’t doing much research at all since most other agents I know don’t want attachments or incomplete work or submissions in areas they specifically list as not representing. However, in those same hours I got plenty of queries that followed the guidelines and pitched books in genres of interest to me. So, yeah, it’s an imperfect thing but the key is to appreciate the efforts of those making them, and to focus on the hunt. You never know when the next query is going to bring the next manuscript you can’t put down…

One response to “letters from the query wars 10.4.2013

  1. Right on! Positive attitude, full cup of coffee, and you’re half way there. I would like to make one other suggestion – can we see queries that worked (with the author’s permission, of course). Why did you pick one out of the hat? What about the pitch hit home? The danger, of course, is copy-cats, but if they’re copying what you’re looking for, maybe fewer queries will be off target. Thanks for sticking with us.

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