View Full Version : when to put query on hold

02-27-2010, 04:50 AM
i hope this is the right forum for this. could use feedback from agents, authors or anyone in the know.

i sent out about a dozen queries in my first week of querying. i was very fortunate to get four full requests from the top four agents/agencies on my wish list.
so i decided to stop querying for awhile. i wanted to hear back from those agents first, in case they all responded with rejections and similar feedback. that way i'd have time to revise the manuscript before the next round of queries.

it's been about two weeks since the fulls went out, and i did hear from one agent who was halfway through the manuscript and very enthusiastic about it. so i'm less concerned now about having to make any major revisions.

MY QUESTIONS ARE... am i being too conservative waiting to query more agents before i hear back on the fulls? should i just go ahead and continue to query? or are four fulls enough to be keeping track of for now? thoughts?

thanks in advance for your opinions.

02-27-2010, 04:57 AM
First: CONGRATS on all the full requests! That's AWESOME! :partyguy: In my opinion if these are the agents that are tops on your list and one has already been very enthusiastic about it. I'd wait. But that's just me. :)

02-27-2010, 05:11 AM
I don't think you're being too conservative. But I may not be objective. I sent about a dozen queries out my first go and ended up pulling the ms and revising based on feedback from agents who had read the full.

02-27-2010, 05:26 AM
I think I'd wait too. Whatever feedback you get is going to be very valuable. You have four agents reading your book -- even if (worst case scenario) none of them want to represent you, you are going to get some really good ideas of why not from at least some of them. That could help you tailor your query for the next batch of agents. I'd give it another two weeks to a month.

That said, I am someone who likes decisive action, and part of why I chose my agent was how quickly she responded to my query and my manuscript. It wasn't the only thing, but I did feel like once she requested my full, it was a high priority for her, and that mattered to me. With a book that seems to be attracting a lot of attention, like yours, you might want to think about those kind of considerations when you are weighing who is your top choice.

02-27-2010, 11:24 PM
Thank you everyone! That helps reaffirm my first instinct.

02-28-2010, 01:08 AM
Four full requests from a dozen queries. - Lady you are hot!

02-28-2010, 02:23 AM
I think you're going about it exactly the right way. If all for requests for fulls come back as rejections, the novel itself probably need work you should do before sending out queries again.

And if one of teh full requesta turns into a good offer, you don't need to send out more queries.

The last thing you want to do is burn trhough too many agents with a bad query, or worse, a novel that isn't ready for publication. Patience usually speeds things up. Impatience usually slows things down. Take your time and get it right.

02-28-2010, 03:11 AM
Let's be realistic. The chances of getting usable feedback is very slim. Most of the time even for fulls you get nothing but boilerplate, even if slightly more extensive boilerplate than with a query. The idea that agents send extensive feedback (at least very often) on fulls is simply mistaken. You'll get something vague like the story arc didn't work for me. I'd seriously hesitate to do revisions based on anything vague like that.

If you get something SPECIFIC, then that's different. You will at least want to think about it--but don't expect it because in my experience and in talking to others who have queried, it rarely happens.

Four full requests on a dozen queries is an excellent percentage. There is no right or wrong. But if you are confident in your manuscript, then if it were *me* then I would keep on querying. A rejection on four fulls certainly doesn't mean that your manuscript is lacking.

OBVIOUSLY with four requests on a dozen queries you do NOT have a "bad query" as JR posited. Do you think your novel is finished? I assume you wouldn't have queried in the first place if that were the case.

If so, then why wait? The chances of getting anything useful from those fulls except an offer is so slim that simply isn't worth waiting for.

But if you are more comfortable waiting a while to query further, it isn't going to hurt anything. But it isn't going to help anything either.

02-28-2010, 08:47 PM
more input! thanks everyone!

Albannach, thanks for the counter-point. The vague, if any, feedback I've heard a lot of people get is one reason I had questioned to whether to just keep querying.

Something has come up in this case, however. One of the agents has expressed interest and is sending me a revision letter in the next week or so. (which I expected, as this agent very often asks for revisions before signing a client). So I decided to wait for that letter before pushing forward with any new queries. At best, he ends up being my agent. At worst, I get some good feedback and end up improving the manuscript before I query again. :)

02-28-2010, 09:32 PM
I haven't responded to this, because by the time I would have, you'd already decided to hold back. And I realize you're getting a revision letter, so this doesn't really apply to you. But let's say you'd get form rejections on all four fulls. Let's play that scenario out.

Let's start with the facts that you know. First you know that you have a pretty good query. A 33% positive respond rate is a good sign that the query works. That's the first fact you know. Second fact you know is that your partial leads to a request for a full 4 times. Minimum I think here is 4 out of 11, although I think it is 4 partials led to 4 fulls. So you know your opening is working. These are two big facts.

So let's say you got four form rejections on the fulls. Now it could mean nothing. But just as likely, if not more so, it means you've got a big thud in either the middle or the end. As Jamesaritchie says in his response, if you get four rejections, especially without any feedback, you want to go back to the book and see if you can find what's wrong.

I think that in the case of getting four rejections to fulls, you are getting useful feedback. It's just harder to figure out what the problem is.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe