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How I Make the Choice to Request a Submission

Making the choice to request a submission is very similar to readers making a choice to buy a book. The query letter, a well-written query letter, is integral to that process.

As we reach the end of the year I’m seeing more new authors in my inbox–people who have had time during the pandemic to follow their writing dreams. I commend each and every one of you. Writing these blog posts is already too much of a chore for me.

With new authors always comes new frustrations and one of the biggest is the query and its importance to the process. New authors will say, “any literary agent who reports intrigue in my book from the query letter without my submission of the 1st chapter is being careless and thoughtless.” 

Agents are Readers Too

I’m a reader first and my inbox is the most exciting bookstore I go to. Every day I scour Query Manager to find the next great [name your genre]. I’m looking for a book that I not only lose myself in but that I can introduce to the rest of the world.

Each query is like a book in the bookstore. First I read the query–essentially the cover copy of the book.

If I like it, I might flip to read sample pages, if I love it I’ll simply request the manuscript or, if I were in a bookstore, buy the book.

Queries Matter

The query is an essential part of the process of not just getting an agent, but also finding a publisher. Your agent will eventually use that first query as a starting point for their pitch to publishers and the editor, well they’ll use it in their pitch to their team and, possibly, when writing the actual cover copy.

Get comfortable with the query, use it as a part of the process of writing the book. Embrace it instead of hating it.

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3 comments

  1. I am in the process of perfecting my first query. Every time I look at it, it’s like when my kids stare into the refrigerator like something new will appear.

  2. As I’ve said here before, it’s just like a job application. You can’t get the job without applying first (selling yourself) and you can’t get an agent without querying (selling your book). If you make it past the first hurdle, you get to the interview stage – in person for a job, or your manuscript for an agent.

    It’s exactly the same process. The sooner you accept it the sooner you’ll be writing kick-butt queries.

  3. I am not a new writer. I will soon query you about a novel I have rewritten three times, edited top to bottom 14 times, hired a NY editor to help me cut 40, 000 words from the original version, rewritten my her query letter at least a dozen times, and felt it’s as polished as it can possibly be (at least by me) and that according to what I read about what you’re seeking , that are the right agent for me.

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