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Query Recap

I sat down early one Saturday morning (before six a.m.) to do some queries and decided I would track them and recount what I found to you. So while reading queries one day, here’s what I came across:

Total E-mails Read: 43

Total Rejected: 36
In four instances I gave advice to the querier. The advice could have been to do further research on agents before querying (if the query was for something far outside of my interests; children’s books, for example) or it could have been a suggestion to spend some time learning how to write a proper query before contacting any more agents.

In one instance the query was an attachment. I didn’t bother opening or reading the attachment, but instead explained that most agents will not accept unrequested attachments.

Total Proposals Requested: 1

E-mails Following Up with More Information: 2
Emails like this happen frequently. They can be anything from more information after a query was sent to more information after a proposal was sent. It’s information the author wants to include, but failed to do so in the first submission.

Fiction Queries: 32
Nonfiction Queries: 6

Thank-yous: 3
One thank-you e-mail was really terrific. In a previous rejection to the author I had suggested she spend some time researching how to properly write a query letter. She thanked me for this advice, said she had followed it, and that she had since received positive feedback on her new query.

The total time spent answering these queries was about one hour, and at the time of writing I still had over 300 in my in-box.


Category: Blog



  1. Thank you for putting together this recap and for your generosity in responding to people who don't know to follow instructions. By teaching them, hopefully you avert having them make the same mistakes with other agents. And by sharing with us, hopefully, you teach us to be more careful with our own submissions. I don't submit to you as I write YA, but I love your blog and always take something away with me after reading it.

  2. You should do something like the Monthly Dozen, where twelve lucky writers who follow directions, query correctly, and do research on said agent, but fall short on the "bam" factor get a little feed back or a tidbit of advice. It still bothers me that some of us who follow directions and do our research are lumped in with those "others" who can't or those who are void of common sense.

  3. Shain, I just blogged a response to your "bam factor" nugget after thinking about the difference between marketing a manuscript and marketing a book. I like your idea of the Monthly Dozen, but I think we don't deserve to get published if we don't have that "bam factor." Without it, the book isn't likely to sell even if it does get published.

  4. For anyone having problems with their query, may I suggest Rick Daley's Public Query Slushpile?

    They are a terrific group of people, writers just helping each other. I've gotten several full requests on my current manuscript after letting the group rip apart my original query.

  5. It's nice that you take the time to give advice to writers about querying. In the long run it helps the writer and it helps agents receive better/more appropriate queries.

  6. Sounds like what's playing over on Kristin Nelson's blog today. "Just another manic Monday…" Grin.

    Thanks, Jessica!

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