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View Full Version : How many Rs before you retool a query?



lenore_x
03-17-2010, 11:26 PM
I've often heard the advice that you should query in batches of 5-10 agents at once, so if you're not getting results, you can take another hack at your query. But I need some advice about how exactly to go about this. In particular, what kind of stats should I be hoping for?

Right now I've got 5 Rs and one full request, which I don't expect to hear back on very soon. I'd like to continue querying while I wait, but those 5 Rs make me nervous. In theory 1/6 is a pretty good rate, but when I was querying my first book (which I ended up putting in the drawer), my first response ever was a full request, and then I never got another request again.

I've already had my query workshopped over in SYW. If you were in my position, would you put it through another round? Try a few more agents?

Maybe I just need someone to tell me to chill out. :rolleyes:

My genre is YA fantasy, and I've been doing my best to target appropriate agents and personalize each letter.

suki
03-17-2010, 11:38 PM
I've often heard the advice that you should query in batches of 5-10 agents at once, so if you're not getting results, you can take another hack at your query. But I need some advice about how exactly to go about this. In particular, what kind of stats should I be hoping for?

Right now I've got 5 Rs and one full request, which I don't expect to hear back on very soon. I'd like to continue querying while I wait, but those 5 Rs make me nervous. In theory 1/6 is a pretty good rate, but when I was querying my first book (which I ended up putting in the drawer), my first response ever was a full request, and then I never got another request again.

I've already had my query workshopped over in SYW. If you were in my position, would you put it through another round? Try a few more agents?

Maybe I just need someone to tell me to chill out. :rolleyes:

My genre is YA fantasy, and I've been doing my best to target appropriate agents and personalize each letter.


There's no good answer on this question, so ultimately you have to trust your gut instinct. If you feel like you should take the query through QLH again, then maybe you should.

But, I usually say if you are querying in a popular genre, and your story isn't so unusually weird that a small request is logical (ie, it's going to take the exact right agent), then:

- a request rate under 10% should trigger you to re-evaluate the query AND the first 10 pages (because even a stellar query can't hook with less than stellar pages).

- a request rate between 10-20% is a gut check.

- and a request rate over 20% should be messed with only if you have a very clear reason to mess with it.

So...1 request in 6 queries isn't bad, and technically falls within the gut check range. But it's such a small sample that I don't think you can know anything, really, yet.

BUT, if you are feeling like the query might not be strong enough, you could workshop it again. But I do always worry about over-workshopping a query and losing some of whatever is leading to the requests. So...you need to go with your instincts here. And my guess is, if you are asking, maybe you feel deep down it's not good enough yet. But, then, I'd pass the first 10 pages through SYW, too. Because all an effective query can do is get the included pages read. After that, it's all down to the pages. So, if you aren't happy with your request rate, check the pages, too.

~suki

jruby
03-18-2010, 03:48 AM
I second Suki. Right now, it's up to you to decide what you want to do - though I think you're fine at the moment, IMHO. But, if you look at the query and you honestly feel it isn't up to snuff - disregarding the statistics and the request rate and just based off of the query itself and how you feel about it - then I'd sub it to QHL.

I speak from experience though, when I repeat Suki's advice on not over-workshopping a query. I did that once. It was not good - I put it through so many revisions, it sort of died (and the requests with it).

lenore_x
03-18-2010, 09:43 AM
Thanks, both of you! This does help. I actually feel pretty good about my query still, so I'll give it a few more tries... but you make a great point about considering my first pages. Off to SYW it is. :)

Julie Worth
03-18-2010, 04:19 PM
So...1 request in 6 queries isn't bad, and technically falls within the gut check range. But it's such a small sample that I don't think you can know anything, really, yet.


Right on both counts. One in six isn't bad, but it doesn't tell you anything statistically.