View Full Version : Which novel to query first?

12-16-2011, 01:51 PM
I think this is where this question would go. . .

I have two young adult novels, and I don't know which one to query first or if I should do both at the same time. I would hope that the agent who picked one up would be interested in the other because they're not *that* different.

Novel #1: First in a series (hopefully, but it can stand alone). 65K, YA contemporary fantasy. Lighthearted, has some romance. The characters have this psychic connection plus powers over electrons and big, dangerous things are referenced to (like FBI agencies) but they don't show up in the first book. The first one is mostly about the two characters becoming friends again and growing into their powers. Boy and girl, split 1st person POV, if that matters.

Novel #2: Stands alone (I could write prequels in the same world, but it's not set up like a series). 115K! It's young adult, too, but I'm not sure if it's science fiction or dystopian or urban fantasy. It's an alternate earth, where a plague in the 60s basically created a new breed of human, and these humans are persecuted. It's a lot darker and works on a larger scale. Four MCs, lots of violence and people trying to take over cities for access to weapons and stuff like that. Again, if it matters, it's split up between 4 MCs, two boys and two girls, 3rd person POV.

So. . .I want to go with the Novel #1 because it's shorter, but I haven't even started the sequel yet. I know a stand alone novel would be easier to get picked up, but no matter what I try to do, I can't cut Novel #2 down. It's just the right length for the story, but I know that anything over 100K is going to stick out on the query letter of a debut author and not in a good way (I have self-published some things, but I know that to agents and editors, I'm pretty much a debut author).

Should I query one first and just sit on the other one for a little while and hope any future agent would also be interested in the other one? Or should I query them both?

They both need a revision or two before they're ready to go out, and I'm trying to decide which one I should tackle first. Any thoughts?

12-16-2011, 03:27 PM
Query whichever one is the better novel.

I'm helpful, aren't I? For a fantasy, 65K sounds on the short side. 115K is not an autoreject for the genre (whose wordcount guide goes up 120K, I don't know if it's different for YA fantasy though.)

I'd run a Q for each past the QLH squirrels. Writing them may give you a more obvious answer.

Otherwise, you can query both novels at the same time, but you can ONLY query ONE novel per letter sent - Don't send a query outlining both novels. You will also need to leave an appropriate space of time between receiving your rejection from an agent and querying them with your other novel (3 months? Maybe?).

12-16-2011, 03:46 PM
I'd query #1 first just b/c there might be some agents, or interns, who might be unresponsive to a 115K word YA. But honestly, I don't think either one of your books is an inappropriate length. I write MG (mostly) and the book I got my agent with is 90K words (had multiple offers of rep.). 90K words falls outside the generally accepted length for MG novels. But there are certainly other MG novels that are a great deal longer than mine.

In the end, story trumps all. Good luck! and keep us informed!
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Drachen Jager
12-16-2011, 08:15 PM
65k is short for epic fantasy, but not for urban YA fantasy. It's short-ish, but not super-short. 115k on the other hand is a bit long. All else equal I'd query #1.

12-18-2011, 12:35 PM
Thank you, swhibs123! I really like your book covers, too :)

Thanks for the responses! I like the idea of putting the query through QLH. Novel #2 has an old post somewhere there. . .

12-19-2011, 01:19 AM
You mention needing to do revisions on both. Another way to decide which to query first could be how extensive the revisions will be. If one revision is going to take a week and the other will take three months, you should probably do the shorter revision and start sending that one out.

Otherwise, I agree with the others that #1 is the best to query first.

Debbie V
12-19-2011, 11:16 PM
I'd start by studying the agents. One book may fit an agent or agency better than the other. If you have a dream agent, send the one that best suits him or her, but don't query until you are ready to submit. Revise first. Many YA agents want a few pages with the query and you need the best first few pages they've ever seen.