How I Manage Queries

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Oct 08 2019

I’ve always been pretty good at managing my query inbox. Even when that inbox was actually a mailbox. Part of it is my own obsession for order. Part of it stems from my love of the hunt for the next great book. Those two things alone, however, don’t promise a well-managed inbox. What does is consistency.

Not a day goes by, except maybe on the weekend, when I’m not in my Query Manager. For me, queries are a way to ease into the day. Usually the first thing I check every morning while I sip coffee and start-up my email.

I get about 400 queries a month, about 10 a day. In all honesty, it shouldn’t take me more than 15 minutes every day to read and respond to those queries. If I’m really debating something it might take me 30 minutes.

When I am reading queries you’ve either managed to grab my attention or not. If you have, I request more material. If you haven’t I reject. I do request sample pages, but I would say I only actually read them once or twice a month. For me, sample pages are only if I’m on the fence about a query and need to see the writing. Otherwise, it’s all about the query.

Of course, I am not one of those people who reads part of a book before buying either. The book either sounds interesting based on the cover copy, or a recommendation, or it doesn’t.

How Query Manager Helps

The beauty of Query Manager is how easy it is to manage our queries individually and as an agency. With just the click of a button, my response is off and the query is archived.

All of my query responses (and I have at least five different ones) are programmed into QM. I just need to pick the one that fits best. I can also request a submission, forward it to another agent and, the best part, see how often you’ve queried BookEnds and who.

In other words, Query Manager keeps a full record of my query and submission history. Something email or snail mail could never do easily.

There is No One System

Now there’s no perfect way to manage queries and every agent is different and every genre is different. I know, for example, picture book agents will often read attached material in lieu of the query since it’s about the same length. And I know some agents always read samples while others never bother even requesting any.

I’m certainly not saying my way is the right way. I’m just hoping to give some perspective in what the process is like from the agent side.

8 responses to “How I Manage Queries”

  1. Avatar Linda Macklin says:

    Jessica Faust,
    Thank you for letting us know what happens on the other side of the query process. Makes complete sense to me. Have a great day!

  2. Avatar Mary Wallis Gutmann says:

    As a writer I appreciate that my query and your answer are archived. I assume that if (or when) I query you again, your system will remember me? That’s impressive. Thank you.

  3. Avatar JOHN T. SHEA says:

    “Of course, I am not one of those people who reads part of a book before buying either. The book either sounds interesting based on the cover copy, or a recommendation, or it doesn’t.”
    Me too! Which points to the importance of cover and promotion. The first page is very important but I tend to read on anyway, even if the start is a bit slow.

  4. Avatar Laura Wilson-Anderson says:

    Does it count against us if we keep querying the agency, or do you just take that as a compliment?

  5. Avatar Laura Wilson-Anderson says:

    Assuming it’s a different agent and/or project, that is!

  6. Avatar adam kluger says:

    Helpful/instructive insight.
    Adam Kluger
    Editor in Chief
    Metropolitan Magazine

  7. Very insightful – thank you!

  8. Avatar AJ Blythe says:

    Jessica, I wish more agents would take on QM because you make it sound so simple to reply to queries. Then maybe there wouldn’t be so many NORMAN agents.

    As someone who loves organisation this system sounds awesome.