Don’t Waste Your Query

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Dec 08 2020

As more agents close to queries this time of year, more querying authors are blindly submitting to anyone, and wasting a query.

There is a reason I don’t have picture books, YA, or techno-thrillers on my Query Manager genre list. I don’t represent those genres. If that’s what you’re querying I am not the agent for you. No matter how great your book is, you won’t change my mind.

Sending out queries just to send out queries is a waste of your query. It’s a waste of your time, it’s a waste of my time, and, after a while, it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Any agent is not good enough. You need an agent who is knowledgable in your genre. You want someone who knows the editors, the market, how to edit your book, and who can best advocate for you. Any agent can’t do that. An agent with an expertise in your genre can.

It’s a slow process, but if you come to BookEnds and see all the picture book agents are closed to queries you aren’t submitting your picture book to BookEnds today. Submitting to me, just because I’m open is only getting a rejection. It’s a waste of your query.

Sometimes we need to be extra patient when we don’t want to be, but patience is far better than wasting one’s time.

7 responses to “Don’t Waste Your Query”

  1. Avatar Emily Winslow says:

    I hear good “voice” in this blog. I like it!

  2. Avatar AJ Blythe says:

    To me this is just logical, but I do have a question…

    Jessica, recently you posted about how this December writers should pull back on querying. But if an agent is open to queries does that mean it’s still okay to query? Or do some agents not actually close their inbox, but it could be detrimental to send the query in? I know it seems like a crazy question, but when you are in the query trenches you do get really worried about making a mistake!

    • I rarely, if ever, close to queries. That doesn’t mean I recommend querying this month. My mindset is different, as is that of most agents and editors. To be honest, as with most people. At the end of the year, we’re preparing for the new year. We’re cleaning up and getting organized. We aren’t necessarily hungry for new authors right now.

      • Avatar AJ Blythe says:

        Thanks for replying, Jessica. Appreciate it. I had stopped sending on the 3rd Dec when you first posted about December querying, but the hamster wheel was still circling, wondering if I’d done the right thing. Sounds like I did.

  3. Avatar Kim Beall says:

    I hear this! I am “guilty” sometimes, though, of submitting queries to agents who I just don’t know if they can or would represent my work because, frankly, my work doesn’t fit neatly into any of the genres agents typically say they represent, so pretty much every query I send, ever, is a long shot. More than one reader has told me what I write is “contemporary Southern Gothic Fantasy” (which does not actually exist, as a genre, as far as I know. But it sounds cool, so I’ll take it!) I tend to query agents who say they represent Fantasy (though it isn’t strictly fantasy) and horror (though it absolutely is not horror) and sometimes thrillers and sometimes mystery. Because that’s as close as I can get, and you also wrote a wonderful post titled “Don’t Self-Reject!” 😀 So even if what I’m doing is a longshot … I am not throwing away my shot!

  4. Avatar Karyn Curtis says:

    Wow, I’m amazed that you have to specify this! Good God, y’all!

  5. Avatar Judith Haran says:

    I queried you in early 2018; you requested a full and said no (reasonably, as the book wasn’t in good shape then). Since then I’ve completely rewritten it. It’s now quite different. Would you consider a re-query in January or should I just move on? Appreciate your advice, thanks!