Why I Read More than the Query

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Oct 22 2019

Of the thousands of queries I receive every year I read every single one. Myself. I do know some agencies use interns or assistants, and maybe I’m a tad controlling, but I like reviewing my own queries.

I guess it would be like hiring someone to curate your reading list. Sure it would be great to have someone hand me a stack of books to read, but I’d miss browsing bookstore shelves to find those titles that speak to me. I don’t want someone else to decide what would speak to me.

Maybe because of that I’ve learned how to make fast decisions. Maybe I’ve always been that way. After all, the decision to start BookEnds wasn’t made after years of deliberation. It was made after a 45-minute subway ride.

When Do I Read More

Jessica, your comment about the percent of queries you open caught my eye. Can you share the clues that tell you not to open a query? I’d love to see a blog post about that.

From What I Look for in a Resume

Let me clarify that I open every query. It’s opening the pages or a making a submission request that happens only about 10% of the time.

I don’t know that there are clues or specific things that will make me read your submission. It’s my excitement and enthusiasm for the book first. Did you grab my attention? Think of it as how you buy a book. Are there clues or is just about a good cover blurb? It’s usually the cover blurb.

It’s always the cover blurb.

8 responses to “Why I Read More than the Query”

  1. I appreciate this information, Jessica. Presently, I’m seeking an agent for my sweet small town romance. However, I’m working on a suspense thriller set in NYC in 1959 that, after reading your bio, I’ll submit to you.

    All the best,


  2. Avatar Bryan Fagan says:

    It’s good to hear that you read the queries and not someone else. A writer can usually tell if the agent had someone else read it. Call it a hunch but a good hunch at that.

  3. I once chose a book because of the color of the spine as I was scanning the shelf. The title then caught my eye, followed by the cover art. Cover copy came fourth. Unfortunately all you agents have is the blurb, really the pitch, which is not the same as the cover copy.

  4. Avatar AJ Blythe says:

    And that’s why you shouldn’t give up until you’ve queried widely. What isn’t right for one agent might be just what catches the eye of another.

  5. Avatar Sonia Easley says:

    I wonder if the agent uses AI and or logo rhythms to trigger replies as the response was so fast, in my case.

  6. Avatar Sonia Easley says:

    Thank you, Jessica, for your prompt reply. Cheers . . .