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tiny
10-20-2005, 08:59 AM
How on earth do you handle getting rejections every stinking day? I send out a batch of queries and for the last three days I've gotten those tell tale folded envelopes and form letters.

I'm pretty sure it's the mailman's fault and not the fact that my query sucks!

Susie
10-20-2005, 05:46 PM
Gee, that does bite, TT, but you just gotta hang in there. The good part is you keep sending out your work which shows you have what it takes to be a writer. I bet eventually you will get that acceptance! It's definitely the mailman's fault. That's what I always say with my rejections. Much good luck.

Jamesaritchie
10-20-2005, 08:38 PM
How on earth do you handle getting rejections every stinking day? I send out a batch of queries and for the last three days I've gotten those tell tale folded envelopes and form letters.

I'm pretty sure it's the mailman's fault and not the fact that my query sucks!

I hope you're opening those folded envelopes. I've received yeses in those more than once.

But as I've said before, I don't believe sending out queries in bunches works out well in the great majority of cases. Batches usually means the query is generic. Change the name and address, and the same query is sent to many agents. This just is not the way to get agents, at least good agents, to say yes.

blacbird
10-20-2005, 11:22 PM
But as I've said before, I don't believe sending out queries in bunches works out well in the great majority of cases. Batches usually means the query is generic. Change the name and address, and the same query is sent to many agents. This just is not the way to get agents, at least good agents, to say yes.

Which brings up a question, James. I know you've advocated elsewhere sending individually targeted query letters, one at a time. So, how many of these did you send out before you scored an arrangement with an agent?

bird

Jamesaritchie
10-21-2005, 03:47 AM
Which brings up a question, James. I know you've advocated elsewhere sending individually targeted query letters, one at a time. So, how many of these did you send out before you scored an arrangement with an agent?

bird

Just one. But I've done workshops and worked with writing groups, and the success rate went up dramatically with tailored queries. Two or three writers hit the first time out, and many hit within five tries or less. No query can make an agent represent you, of course, but a good one can make the agent ask to see the manuscript, and that's what you're after.

blacbird
10-21-2005, 05:35 AM
No objection to tailored queries. That's an obvious thing to do. But it doesn't follow that a person shouldn't send out more than one tailored query at a time. That, in fact, is exactly what I have done, small batches, usually three or four at a crack, the most ever was eight. You hit on swing one (and doubtless deserved to), but for many of the rest of us unwashed who have plowed through many dozens of rejected queries, the idea of doing those in a one-at-a-time linear sequence is unfathomable. It would take decades. And I don't think my lack of success has anything to do with sending simultaneous queries; lousy writing probably plays a bigger role.

bird

Jamesaritchie
10-21-2005, 05:59 AM
No objection to tailored queries. That's an obvious thing to do. But it doesn't follow that a person shouldn't send out more than one tailored query at a time. That, in fact, is exactly what I have done, small batches, usually three or four at a crack, the most ever was eight. You hit on swing one (and doubtless deserved to), but for many of the rest of us unwashed who have plowed through many dozens of rejected queries, the idea of doing those in a one-at-a-time linear sequence is unfathomable. It would take decades. And I don't think my lack of success has anything to do with sending simultaneous queries; lousy writing probably plays a bigger role.

bird

It does follow, because you can't write tailored queries fast enough to send them out in batches, unless you save them up for several months. It takes time to research and write a tailored query. It just isn't something you can do well in a few days.

The whole point is that it doesn't take decades. What can takes years and years is NOT doing one at a time, linear queries. Like I said, I sent out exactly one query, which landed me an agent, who sold my novel to the first publisher who saw it. Now what's slow about that? Many of the writers who followed this advice never did sell a novel, but they did make an awful lot of good agents say yes to looking at the full manuscript, and that's at least half the battle.

Speed comes from sending out quality, not quantity.

Lousy writing isn't like to make an agent say no to a query, only no to the manuscript after she's said yes to the query.

Seriously, I've known some pretty darned good writers who went years without ever convincing a top agent to read their full manuscript simply because they continued to send out generic queries in batches.

Query letters are crucial in this business, and the best way to write an effective query letter is to target it at one, specific agent. Doing this takes time and research. A good bit of it, actually.

For me, unfathomable would be going months and years with good agent after good agent after good agent refusing to ask for the full manuscript.

blacbird
10-21-2005, 09:09 AM
Like I said, I sent out exactly one query, which landed me an agent, who sold my novel to the first publisher who saw it. Now what's slow about that?

For me, unfathomable would be going months and years with good agent after good agent after good agent refusing to ask for the full manuscript.

I've edited my first response to this, because I've had a long, difficult day, and it said some things I didn't entirely mean, at least in the manner I first said them.

However, I'll leave it at: This is not the experience common to most writers, to my knowledge. But, since I am clearly without competence either in writing or in the marketing thereof, I have neither validation nor credibility to justify continuing discussion amongst such august company.

triceretops
10-21-2005, 10:04 AM
15 years ago they called me the shotgun query/submission king. Well it worked then, with those cookie cutter letters of intro, but it doesn't anymore. Six months ago I thought James Richie here, was off his lid about this quality isssue--he's not. It is all about being attentive, specific, and knowing your target agent/editor inside outside and backwards until you feel that you've slept with them and you know if they leave the toilet seat up or down and what kind of toothpaste they use.

Read and devour their websites--try to understand what their philosophy and mission statement is. Remember to comment on it, honestly, no pandering--give them the straight dope on how you think you can contribute to their roster with your fresh and innovative ideas and talent. If possible, read some of their author's books, throw in a few comments about how you found their themes and storylines, and what direction they took that pleased you. Name a specific book of theirs (that they repped) and how it comes close to your style and technique. Dig up a little history on their titles and spit a few stats at them, that will raise an eyebrow, believe me! Note that one of their authors was doing a signing in or near your home town and that you might like to check them out. Take note of one of their author's editors and don't be afraid to name drop............the point to all this is:

Personalize--personalize--personalize.

Show this agent, or even editor, that you've stripped away that magic veil and you know who is behind that curtain. This type of attention will garner nothing but respect and admiration from an agent/editor, who gets the same old blah, blah, blah, every day, day in, day out.

This, will put you at the top of the stack.

As for mulitple queries--I do them--but they are tailored now to fit the individual, and it's living flesh behind that desk that is tearing your letter open, or real live eyes reading that pitch on the screen. The idea is to snap those eyes open, and make them draw a surprized breath. Now how does this writer know that I attended so and so con in Break Neck Arizona, and that I like a little romance in my sci-fi? He's even a little opinionated about characterization, even a little snippy, but I like that aggresiveness. I'm intrigued--I want to know more about this person, who certainly knows a lot about me. We'll give him a shot.

Good luck and good hunting

Triceratops