Hi. I’m always interested in what kinds of queries agents are getting. Are there common themes in character names, plot ideas, something that is just way out there? Did you find something in the query box that got you excited? Are people following your submission guidelines?
This is a fun question and I’m not sure how to answer it. Obviously not all agents get the same types of queries. Queries differ based on your reputation, what you represent, where your name is listed, and who knows you exist.
I don’t notice a trend in character names, although I suspect there is one. What we do notice, and what we’ve been putting together a post on, is a definite trend toward titles, especially those that seem unoriginal and that, frankly, we’re sick of seeing. Plot ideas also tend to trend—especially if writers start to see sales of a certain type of book or hear editors talk about a theme they are looking for. Almost a year ago I sold a werewolf romance. There weren’t many and the author and I both saw it as the next thing after vampires. Now I’m getting at least one werewolf romance a day and editors are close to full on both vampires and werewolves.
I’ve found a lot of really great queries and proposals lately and have requested more than a few full manuscripts. At this moment I’m most excited about fiction with more suspense elements. Of course I’m always looking for anything with a good hook, but suspense it what I’m gravitating to.
And do people follow our submission guidelines? Ha! I wish. No, really, most of you do a fantastic job. I don’t expect them to be followed to the letter, although it would be helpful, but there are the few who call, those who feel that chapters 7, 18, and 42 constitute the “first” three chapters, those who send attachments, and of course those who send illustrated children’s books or poetry. You can always tell when certain agent listings are published (and I will mention names later) by the quality of submissions we are receiving.
I will try to do more posts on queries and what we’re getting to keep reminding you all of what life can be like behind the stacks of submissions.