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Yes, I Do Believe the Query System Works

While waiting for the 12,000+ emails to download after my vacation I decided to spend some time tackling my query inbox. It was something to do on a Sunday morning while watching politics on TV, drinking coffee, and enjoying the post-vacation relaxation I still felt.

There are still a lot of queries to tackle, but this one was definitely worth sharing.

Apparently the author was referred by “bullshit” and her first line was this, “Do you honestly feel that this query system works? – IF my novel must conform to a genre, then my Novel is “New Adult” – nothing in your choices is remotely close to it!”

You should all know by now that I LOVE stuff like this. I’m not sure why, but it always breaks up the monotony that can sometimes come when reading queries. Of course it’s also an easy rejection.

I’m not sure why I would ask for queries if I didn’t think it worked. At least 90% of our clients have come through the query system and I’ve had no complaints thus far.

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11 comments

  1. You mean to say, you won’t seek me out with me first sending you some kind of material demonstrating my writing? Utter madness!!

    I love reading these kind of posts. What did the writer truly think would come of being aggressive with a hopeful potential agent?

  2. I have a quick question: Just long were you on vacation?
    12,000 queries… Yikes!

    Took me years to land the right literary agent. And ironically,, it was the first person that called me .

  3. C’mon, Jessica, don’t tell me you weren’t just a little bit tempted to read it? Lol, can you imagine trying to sell a book that doesn’t conform to a genre?!

    1. Referrals, conferences, we actually sought some out based on reviews or articles or a publisher’s need for an author with certain credentials…

  4. As a new author, actually a writer with the hope of one day publishing a book so that I may truly consider myself a author, I’m glad I read your blog because it gives me a better sense of the extent of barriers that a writer must overcome to retain an agent.

    In the past two months I’ve sent out queries to approximately sixty agents and I’ve received nearly twenty-five rejections, the rest are still unknown and to be honest I don’t expect to ever hear from them. At times I’ve thought, ‘I wish they would at least tell me what’s wrong with my story,’ just so I knew somebody was reading it. This industry was foreign to me, but now I better understand that with the incredible volume of requests that agents receive it’s unreasonable to expect anything more than a benign and sometimes reassuring rejection.

    I’ve learned some other things along the way. You need to find an agent that fits, you constantly have to improve your query letter, etc. But even if a writer does everything right it’s still a game of numbers with a little luck involved. I’ve read about people going through two or three hundred agents before being offered a deal.

    I think nearly every new writer is ignorant to the industry and its process and probably a lot of writers give up not realizing the obstacles they’ll encounter. For me this blog was positive knowledge and like so much in life some things just take time, but I know it’s worth the wait.

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