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Thread: When, while querying agents, do you reevaluate your query?

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW Fiender's Avatar
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    When, while querying agents, do you reevaluate your query?

    I was just wondering at what point, assuming your queries aren't getting request for partials/fulls, do you take another look at your query and change it? How many no-request rejections would it take for you?

    I know getting an agent can take 100+ queries, and that the reasons for rejection can span from "critical problem with query" to "stars just didn't align", but I think it could be an interesting topic to discuss. Personally, I was kind of eyeing the 20 rejection-without-request mark before I took a step back and really tried to shake things up.

    Also, sorry if wrong forum. Wasn't sure where to put this; felt like more of an ask-other-writers thing than an ask-agents thing. *shrug*.

  2. #2
    ....... Harlequin's Avatar
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    I would post in QLH first if you can but 20 sounds good to me. I was constantly revising my query throughout (and actually, my MS too...)
    "Though one evil spirit may drive a woman out of Eden, all the devils in hell cannot drive Heaven out of a woman."

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  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW Fiender's Avatar
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    I definitely ran the QLH gauntlet for quite a while! I eventually came up with something that people said was solid. Of course, everything can be looked at again and tweaked. Though without personalized feedback in the rejections I receive, I don't know what changes I might make.

  4. #4
    cutsie-pie Curlz's Avatar
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    Do you send sample pages with the query (could the fault be with them)?

  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW Fiender's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curlz View Post
    Do you send sample pages with the query (could the fault be with them)?
    I go with whatever the agent's guidelines are. If they ask for sample pages, I send pages. Some agents also ask for a synopsis which could also be part of the problem. I suppose, without feedback, it's hard to say what might be the main roadblock in my submissions to getting at least a partial. All things to take a look at of course, if rejections continue like they are now.

  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW Fiender's Avatar
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    I know it's early in my search, but this is actually an area I don't see discussed much, if ever. I'm still curious how other people have approached the 'mid-search revisions'.

    Personally, I'm at 15 queries sent, 7 actual rejections and 3 "no response in reported response time on agent's website". I have 5 unanswered queries out at any time.
    No requests for partials, pretty much all form rejections (as far as I can tell), with no comments about the query or writing samples included.
    Most of the agents I've queried requested sample pages/chapters, so naturally most of the rejections come from queries that had samples attached.
    Most of them also requested a synopsis, which I did include. I have a couple different versions, depending on the length (1 page vs. 2 page) that the agent requests.

    I ran my query letter itself through the SYW gauntlet until the vast majority of comments were positive. I've also had a great many beta readers look at the book itself. The synopsis, I didn't have anyone look at (which may have been a mistake) but I did write them using several guidelines found on AW and abroad.

  7. #7
    figuring it all out
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    I feel your pain, I'm at 55+ with all rejections. The only thing I can advise is to be wary of tweak fatigue- you can make so many little changes to try and please more and more people you end up with a chopped and stitched Frankenstein's Query that pleases no one. What is this story about? Why should it matter to me? Keep those concerns at the fore, and all those tricks and techniques and teaks should serve the goal of communicating that.

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW polishmuse's Avatar
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    I wouldn't change JUST yet. That seems pretty early in the game. With agents receiving so many queries daily, it's often just a "not quite my taste" thing.
    literally a person. also, a literal person. and a literary person. and a contrary person.

  9. #9
    figuring it all out gbondoni's Avatar
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    Regarding the synopsis, I wouldn't worry too much about that (although having someone look at it might be a good idea). My own experience is that if the query letter is in a decent place (yours sounds like it's pretty good), the sample is what makes or breaks the initial submission. The reason I think so is because my synopsis is not great, barely adequate, but I'm getting requests for more on the strength of a strong first few pages. On a different book, the problem was (hopefully) in the query letter (I won't know until the letter itself is in good shape), so that one is in QLH as we speak...

  10. #10
    Now with bonus eyelashes AW Moderator Sage's Avatar
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    A decent query should get a 1:10 request:query ratio. But there's no way to say if it's your query or pages failing you if most of them have pages included.
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  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW CJSimone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fiender View Post
    I was just wondering at what point, assuming your queries aren't getting request for partials/fulls, do you take another look at your query and change it? How many no-request rejections would it take for you?

    I know getting an agent can take 100+ queries, and that the reasons for rejection can span from "critical problem with query" to "stars just didn't align", but I think it could be an interesting topic to discuss. Personally, I was kind of eyeing the 20 rejection-without-request mark before I took a step back and really tried to shake things up.

    Also, sorry if wrong forum. Wasn't sure where to put this; felt like more of an ask-other-writers thing than an ask-agents thing. *shrug*.
    Hi Fiender. IMO, it's still early yet to be discouraged. Fifteen isn't many and it's all so subjective.

    I know you've had betas (and your query letter in QLH), but maybe put your opening chapter in SYW?

    Hope it all works out!

    CJ

  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW Fiender's Avatar
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    Thanks for the comments everyone! ^_^

    @CJSimone, it has actually been quite a while since I posted the first chapter up for critique so I'm going to do that, see if there are any red flags or quirks in my writing that could drive an agent away.

    But after two months of querying, I'm still "only" at 8 responses (rejections). Definitely not panicking so much as I am very slightly worried.
    Also, it occurs to me that there is a subforum here called "Rejections and Dejections" that I forgot existed before I posted this topic. Oh well. :x

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