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Could Changes in Publishing Mean Query Services Become More Prominent?

For as long as I’ve been in publishing there have been query services available to agents. I’m not talking about the type of service that writes your query for you, but the service that allows authors to post their queries or even their material so that agents can peruse the site and request something.

I’m curious if there are any agents who use these types of services.

When I first started out as an agent I would log on to sites like this to see what was available. I wasn’t yet getting many submissions, I didn’t have many clients and I had the time to scroll through material instead of waiting for it to come to me. I haven’t been on one of those sites in over 12 years.

Why I don’t use the site has nothing to do with my desire for new material. I am actively looking for new projects right now. I don’t use it because I feel like my inbox already fills faster than I can get to it and I feel like the author who takes the time to research me and a good query letter is the author who is most likely to grab my attention. She wants it more than someone who just throws a blurb up on a site (and probably has that blurb written for her).

I wonder though if this is the wave of the future. Publishing has changed so much in the last ten years, is this something that will change too? Will agents need to go somewhere to compete for submissions rather than competing for the ones that are targeted to them? I kind of double it, but it made me think.

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3 comments

  1. I hope this isn’t the future. I don’t want to be contacted by some random agent (who may or may not know diddly about publishing). I want to be contacted by an agent I researched and felt would be a good fit for me.

  2. From what I hear agents are inundated with hundreds of queries a week. Imagine how many thousands would be found on ‘query sites’! If your query was on one of those sites how could you be sure it would be easily found?

    This is also a very passive way of submitting a query. How do you know how many have read (and rejected your query)? At least by submitting to an agent directly you can keep track of how the query is going. And you know exactly who has read it.

    The other thing (which Jessica touched on) is that I research agents before I submit. I want an agent that I think will be a good fit for my ms. That type of site removes control over who reads my query. I know I can refuse an offer but I’d rather not find myself in that situation.

    As tough as it is to write a query and put yourself ‘out there’ by actively sending out queries, I think I’d rather do it this way.

  3. I was pointed in the direction of a couple of agent listing websites, is probably the best thing to call them, a few days ago by an author on the self-editing course I’m doing.
    They do exactly that, list agents what type of submissions they are looking for and how/where to contact them.
    They look like good helpful sources of information, but I’m not sure I like the idea of just putting my details on a list and waiting for someone to find me. I want an agent for their expertise, their guidance and support, not so they can do my work for me.

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