There are No Shortcuts to Querying

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: May 12 2020

Querying is a process that works. No matter how much you try to convince agents otherwise, we prefer queries and 90% of the authors we sign and later sell come from queries. No matter how hard you try to convince us, there are no real shortcuts to querying. It is still the best way for us to find and sign new clients.

As many of you know, BookEnds uses Query Manager. This is the database that streamlined the querying process for us. It reduced our response time and allows us to track and respond to queries with ease. Thanks to Query Manager we eliminate the possibility of queries getting stuck in spam or lost in an overly active email inbox and we can easily respond to queries from anywhere.

Query Manager is the best way to reach us. There is not a better way to get our attention or a workaround that will benefit you.

Why Querying Works

Querying works because it gives you the benefit of providing us with your full query and pitch. When reviewing a query I’m looking at the pitch or blurb first, the author bio and experience, and of course whether the genre is something I represent. I can see the full picture.

Authors who try to get around a query often short themselves the ability to give me the full picture. A pre-query, or request to send a query doesn’t give the full blurb. Emailing over Query Manager means you risk getting caught in spam or simply deleted, and social media queries are just plain ignored.

I know there will forever be authors who think they can or should work around the process. They will email to “cut the red tape” of Query Manager or DM to try to reach me directly. None of that will work. In fact, it usually turns me off from working with an author. I’m not inclined to work with someone who can’t follow simple instructions or who thinks they’re special enough to be allowed to do so.

I read my own Query Manager so everything you send reaches me directly. I use Query Manager not just as a way to read and respond to queries, but also to easily track and control my queries. Using Query Manager works. Keep it simple on yourself and just use it.

8 responses to “There are No Shortcuts to Querying”

  1. Avatar Clare Lowell says:

    Question: If a novel that had been rejected through Query had subsequently undergone considerable revision, is it advisable to resubmit? Or does “No” always mean “No”?

  2. Avatar AJ Blythe says:

    A lot more agents are switching to Query Manager as well (the Query Tracker updates show this). And looking at my list of agents to query, I’d guess about 40% are using it.

    But it makes sense that querying is the best way. It’s the equivalent of a job application, which is why you need to agonise over every word in your query letter.

  3. Avatar Rebecca Roxburgh (Butler) says:

    Yes, Jessica, I agree wholeheartedly, from the view of an aspiring writer there’s no substitute for compiling a full query. And I have no ulterior motive in saying so: my query was turned down by Amanda. Nevertheless, the website I check every day for marketing guidance and other pertinent info is BookEnds.

  4. Thank you for sharing your expertise. The Youtube videos, Instagram posts, and blog posts are full of helpful coaching and encouragement. Your enthusiasm is infectious!
    It looks like you only want queries for completed manuscripts, is that correct? I can’t find anywhere that this is explicitly stated, but a word count implies a finished product…or does it?

    • or at least the projected word count when the book is finished–especially true of nonfiction.

    • Avatar AJ Blythe says:

      Elizabeth, the risk a writer takes in querying without a completed manuscript (for fiction) is that if you get a request you can’t submit your full. And by the time you get around to it the agent may no longer be as interested (market changes, similar book taken on etc).

      Rule of thumb for fiction is not to query without a completed, polished manuscript.

  5. […] And in agent advice news, Quressa Robinson at the Nelson Literary Agency has some reminders about things people forget about literary agents, and even with the rise of pitch hashtags and other ways of approaching agents, Jessica Faust reiterates that there are no shortcuts to querying. […]