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Colossus
03-29-2012, 02:15 AM
Have a querying question.

I have sent query letters regarding my most recent MS to .......an embarrassing number of agents. Most of which quickly replied with a rejection (some were personal and cordial).

I revamped the query, sent it out again, this time to different agents and have the same result thus far (still waiting on a few responses).

My question is that I believe I am running low on potential agents in the genre of YA/fantasy... would it be okay to rerun the list with a new query or do you think that it's time to try another approach?

Drachen Jager
03-29-2012, 02:33 AM
Don't re-query with the same work within six months minimum. A year is recommended.

I know you think your manuscript will set the world afire. Everyone does, but you need to accept that it's a rejection of the manuscript, not just the query, so until you've made really significant changes there's no point in trying again.

Colossus
03-29-2012, 02:39 AM
I understand where you're coming from, but I can't think the agents rejected the MS when they didn't read any of it. I had only one full read from all submissions thus far.

heyjude
03-29-2012, 02:44 AM
Did you send sample pages with the queries?

I agree, if you've sent this to a whole host of agents (how many is an embarrassing number? 100+?) you may just have to admit it's over for this ms. Trunking a novel is no fun. I've done it; most of us have, repeatedly. It's part of the learning process.

Go to Share Your Work and study other people's queries (esp. the successful ones). When you have 50 posts, you can put your own up for crit. That might give you some insight.

Drachen Jager
03-29-2012, 02:54 AM
A query is a reflection of the manuscript. Some agents are good enough to see through an imperfect query to the manuscript it represents. If you've sent to 'an embarrassing amount' without a request, believe me, the manuscript is largely to blame.

Little Ming
03-29-2012, 03:59 AM
I understand where you're coming from, but I can't think the agents rejected the MS when they didn't read any of it. I had only one full read from all submissions thus far.

There's a reason agents ask for queries in the first place, and the good ones can tell if they want the MS or not based on the query. It is possible that they saw something in your query that made them think your MS will suffer similar problems.

Of course, this does not discount the possibility that your query really was atrocious and your MS is fine. I suggest you take a stroll about QLH (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=174). You won't be able to post until you hit 50 post, but you can see what others are doing, what works and what crashes and burns.

Cyia
03-29-2012, 05:02 AM
Define "embarrassing number". If you're not in the triple digits, then you're far from exhausting your avenues.

If you've sent pages, then it's likely that any agent who's already read them will at least find them familiar, so you'll either have to change the pages or accept that it's a loss. If you only sent the query, and that query has been significantly changed, it's not likely they'll remember you after a month or two.

And no matter how much better it makes you feel to think they're not reading your query -- they are. It doesn't take a full minute to access a query. Submitted pages are the same way - all you need is a few paragraphs to know if you want to keep reading.

quicklime
03-29-2012, 05:06 AM
colossus, you are arguing the answer because you don't want to hear it. It sucks, but it is what it is, and if they recognize the same damn book by query with similar flaws, they are going to move beyond reject and towards resentful, meaning this gets rejected, and, if they recognize your name, the next one....

let it go, for awhile at least, and work on fixing it or writing something new. Or shoot yourself in the foot....but that's what you will be doing barring either a good wait or major revisions, ideally both.

side note: they rejected your query--if the query was 100%, ridiculously f'ed up, you can say it was just the query. If it was anywhere close, no matter if they read the script or not, a rejection had to do with how they saw the manuscript itself, and their feeling something was fatal or not a match. so how bad do you want to admit the prior queries were????

Colossus
03-29-2012, 06:01 AM
colossus, you are arguing the answer because you don't want to hear it. It sucks, but it is what it is, and if they recognize the same damn book by query with similar flaws, they are going to move beyond reject and towards resentful, meaning this gets rejected, and, if they recognize your name, the next one....

let it go, for awhile at least, and work on fixing it or writing something new. Or shoot yourself in the foot....but that's what you will be doing barring either a good wait or major revisions, ideally both.


I wasn't arguing with it, just clarifying. I felt that I wasn't specific with the first post.

side note: they rejected your query--if the query was 100%, ridiculously f'ed up, you can say it was just the query. If it was anywhere close, no matter if they read the script or not, a rejection had to do with how they saw the manuscript itself, and their feeling something was fatal or not a match. so how bad do you want to admit the prior queries were????

I wasn't arguing with the response, just clarifying. I felt that I wasn't specific enough with the first post.

Britwriter
03-29-2012, 08:07 AM
My suggestion would be to read some more, then some more, and when you get up to the required 50 posts, put your query up on Share Your Work. That will help you work out if your query sucks, or if your manuscript also needs a major overhaul. Once you have posted your query, you should be able to get a better feel for your plot, and whether indeed there is a problem there too.

Patience is the key. Most people send off some poor queries the first time, before they (hopefully) learn to do a better job. Take your time and rework your query, read the links on SYW, then when you get to 50 posts, try getting feedback from folks here. This should guide your next step.

HTH

Colossus
03-29-2012, 08:21 AM
My suggestion would be to read some more, then some more, and when you get up to the required 50 posts, put your query up on Share Your Work. That will help you work out if your query sucks, or if your manuscript also needs a major overhaul. Once you have posted your query, you should be able to get a better feel for your plot, and whether indeed there is a problem there too.

Patience is the key. Most people send off some poor queries the first time, before they (hopefully) learn to do a better job. Take your time and rework your query, read the links on SYW, then when you get to 50 posts, try getting feedback from folks here. This should guide your next step.

HTH

You're probably right. I'll keep posting here and there and when I get to the magic number I'll throw a query letter at you guys (for you to probably tear to shreds, ha, but that's what it's for). Thanks!

Old Hack
03-29-2012, 09:52 AM
I have to echo most of the advice that's already been given here. You can't reasonably requery any of the agents until at least six months have passed; and then it's only really appropriate to do so if you've substantially reworked the manuscript.

Everyone who is rejected thinks at some point that the agent or publisher got things wrong. That might sometimes be true. What isn't going to help is relentless requerying of the same manuscript. It's not going to change anyone's mind about it.

If I were you I'd concentrate on writing a new and better book. When you start querying that new one, take a look at the old one and see if it needs polishing. Requery it at that stage. And continue writing.

twright
03-31-2012, 08:19 PM
Have a querying question.

I have sent query letters regarding my most recent MS to .......an embarrassing number of agents. Most of which quickly replied with a rejection (some were personal and cordial).

I revamped the query, sent it out again, this time to different agents and have the same result thus far (still waiting on a few responses).

My question is that I believe I am running low on potential agents in the genre of YA/fantasy... would it be okay to rerun the list with a new query or do you think that it's time to try another approach?

I'm in a similar position, sending queries and trying to gauge the response. Here's how I'm approaching it.


- Made a list of my first round of agents that I'm sending queries to.

- Sent half a dozen queries and waited to see the response.

- Over 50% were rejected within 24 hours, which seemed to indicate they either didn't make it past the first level screeners or were clearly not interesting enough to consider.

- Revised the main body of the query letter and sent to another half dozen agents.

- Currently waiting for responses, but none were rejected within the first 72 hours, so while it may not indicate success yet, they're not failing as quickly as they were before. AgentQuery indicates most of these agents have a mean response time of 2-3 weeks, so I take it that NOT getting rejected in the first 24 hours is an improvement.

- As much as I'd LOVE to send out more query letters, I'm holding off until I get responses, because that feedback will be crucial to know whether I need to continue revising the main body of the query letter.

By main body, I mean the two paragraphs that pitch the actual work. For each query letter I customize the opening paragraph and the closing, according to what I find on the agency webpage and/or agent blogs.

So far, I can't make any claims for how successful this approach will be, but thought I'd share what I'm doing in case it's helpful.