A Query Rejection is Not a Test of Your Query

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Feb 11 2021

December is a particularly hard time in Query Land. This is when we get the most incomplete queries from authors who haven’t yet done their research.

In December I received queries that were no longer than three sentences, nonfiction queries that told me nothing about the author’s credentials, and many, many queries for books well over 100,000 words. If you’re new to the blog a quick search here, and on our YouTube channel, well explain all the reasons these are troubling.

A query to an agent should not be a test and it should not be used as a way to get a critique or feedback. This your first chance to make an impression on a potential business partner. It’s not something you want to flub.

The Impression You Make

Sending a rough or faulty query tells me you haven’t done your research and if the query isn’t ready, the book isn’t either. Sending me a second faulty query a mere day later tells me you aren’t ready to take this as seriously as one should. A third incomplete query says you want an easy way in without doing the work.

Publishing is a career for me. It’s not a passion or hobby. It’s how I make a living. When choosing people I want to go into business with I need people who will take this as seriously as I do. Think of Shark Tank. The Sharks would not be willing to give hundreds of thousands of dollars to people who haven’t take the time to research, plan and practice their pitch. I won’t either.

Every time I receive a query it’s not just an impression of your book, it’s an impression of the kind of professional you will be. Make it count.

4 responses to “A Query Rejection is Not a Test of Your Query”

  1. Avatar Casey Gardner says:

    Thank you for that stellar advice. At times, generally late at night, I’d just like to chuck a query out there. Good grief, there’s the manuscript, the synopsis, the query. I’d like to get one of them off my plate. Blood, sweat, tears in essence.

    No argument, you’re absolutely spot-on This is a serious business. When edgy, it’s time to take a break and shelve the desire to get it done n-o-w. Because as an author, I want if not need you as my agent to be equally serious when finding a publisher.

  2. Avatar AJ Blythe says:

    There are all sorts of writing groups out there who have critique partner schemes for exactly this sort of thing. Get other people’s eyes on your query and pages. Read all the posts on the Query Shark site so you learn from others. Remember, once you’ve queried an agent and they’ve said no, there are very limited reasons why you can re-query. As Jessica said, don’t waste that chance.

  3. Avatar Pearly D'Souza says:

    As always, great advice. Thank you for this.

  4. Avatar Trina says:

    I loved the Shark Tank analogy. This is information was helpful. Thank you.