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DPRichard
01-03-2013, 09:25 PM
I did a lot of research and created a list of 50 agents to query. So far, I have queried the first 35 with varying responses that range from no to no after looking at partials and about three nos after looking at a full. There are still a few fulls and partials as well as basic queries out there and I haven't queried the remaining 15 yet.

The responses have ranged from: it is too short, it is too long. Loved the opening chapter, hated the ending to hated the opening but loved the ending. Its well written and a great story but not a fit for our agency. There really hasn't been a common issue that leads me to think I need to rewrite it. I had an editor go over it and he loved it so I feel very good about it at this point.

So my question is this: Is there a point when I should submit the manuscript to a publisher that does not require an agent and see if I can get a yes from that and then go get an agent or keep plugging away with the queries after my top 50?

HFgal
01-03-2013, 10:25 PM
I admit to knowing nothing from personal experience, being a newb that is about to query my first novel, but from all I've read on this subject, there are a lot of advantages to having an agent vs. going it alone with a publisher. Also, I think if you are having rejections with agents (and who doesn't?), I'm not sure you will necessarily have better luck with publishers. (Exception: if there are a few publishers that look like a fantastic fit with your book, perhaps that is different?)

My list of agents is about 110 at the moment - carefully culled over months of research. Of course, some are not a very good fit, but all have some sort of possibility. I rate them 1-5 in a spreadsheet, 5 being the best fit. There are 12 agents that I've rated a 5, and I plan to query them starting next week, all in one effort.

My theory is that I will work my way through either the whole list or perhaps I will stop when I get through all the 3's (which would be most of the way through the list). Then, I will self-publish. I was not planning on approaching any publishers directly, but I will be watching other responses to this post and perhaps that may change my mind.

P.S. I hope you don't give up. Another thing I've read is that you need to be really, REALLY dogged about this. I don't think 35 rejections is all that much. Once you break 100, maybe that's a different story.

quicklime
01-03-2013, 10:49 PM
dp, numbers can be very helpful--10% request rate is already considered fair for queries, so how many partials and fulls did you get out of the 50?

DPRichard
01-04-2013, 01:30 AM
dp, numbers can be very helpful--10% request rate is already considered fair for queries, so how many partials and fulls did you get out of the 50?


Here's the numbers so far:

Total Queries Sent: 37

Query Letter Only Pending: 12

Query Letter Only Rejected: 9

Partial or Full Requested: 16

Of those 16:

7 Rejected

9 Still Pending

---------------------------

Holding off on the other 13 of my original 50 for a week or two to see what develops with those in progress.

quicklime
01-04-2013, 01:38 AM
so you're closing in on 30% or more request rate...

to go to your original question, most big houses won't even look at unagented stuff now and even in the smaller ones, you go into a bigger pile without the agent. Given that much interest from agents, I don't think you'd be doing anything except possibly hurting yourself by skipping the step at this point.

DPRichard
01-04-2013, 01:42 AM
so you're closing in on 30% or more request rate...

to go to your original question, most big houses won't even look at unagented stuff now and even in the smaller ones, you go into a bigger pile without the agent. Given that much interest from agents, I don't think you'd be doing anything except possibly hurting yourself by skipping the step at this point.

So as long as I keep getting the requests for partials and fulls I should keep plugging away at agents and only when I am getting zero requests for partials and fulls should I consider Plan B?

Dreity
01-04-2013, 01:42 AM
That is a really good request rate. If nothing comes of your top 50 then I would continue to look for more agents to query.

This is something you would have to leave the house for, but depending on your genre, conventions and workshops will often have both agents and editors there. You could try to make an impression in person and see where that gets you. That approach requires a great deal of social grace though. They'll see right through the, "Hi! I have this amazing book and it will change the world and make millions of dollars! You should read it! What's your name again?" thing.

waylander
01-04-2013, 03:36 AM
Took me 7 years.

Cyia
01-04-2013, 03:45 AM
Rejections are hard, but your request rate is way above average. Also, don't read much into rejections that aren't detailed or obviously non-form letters. All they mean is no. "Not a right fit" could mean that the agent is no longer interested in your genre, or that s/he already has a client with a similar MS, or that the agent isn't sure which editors to send it to, so in the end, it's a simple "no, thank you."

Keep going. There are people on this board who've gotten agents after querying over 200. You want the one who loves what you've got to offer, so unless all of the feedback is similar or pertains to the same issue / character, I'd keep trying. Some books are simply harder to place, but it doesn't mean they won't get representation, and it doesn't mean they won't sell.

Subbing directly to editors - even the ones who will read unagented MS - is a *much* longer haul than waiting for responses from agents, and it's often restricted to one submission at a time. You could be waiting a couple of years for a no before you get to try again.

EMaree
01-04-2013, 03:52 AM
We get variations on this question a lot here.

It takes as long as it takes.

It takes until you succeed or until you give up.

Your request rate is great, so I'd say keep on querying until you find the right agent for you.

DPRichard
01-04-2013, 04:45 AM
Thanks to everyone for the replies and to anyone who replies afterwards in case I forget to do so later. Very helpful!!!!

Susan Littlefield
01-04-2013, 06:54 AM
I did a lot of research and created a list of 50 agents to query. So far, I have queried the first 35 with varying responses that range from no to no after looking at partials and about three nos after looking at a full. There are still a few fulls and partials as well as basic queries out there and I haven't queried the remaining 15 yet.

The responses have ranged from: it is too short, it is too long. Loved the opening chapter, hated the ending to hated the opening but loved the ending. Its well written and a great story but not a fit for our agency. There really hasn't been a common issue that leads me to think I need to rewrite it. I had an editor go over it and he loved it so I feel very good about it at this point.

So my question is this: Is there a point when I should submit the manuscript to a publisher that does not require an agent and see if I can get a yes from that and then go get an agent or keep plugging away with the queries after my top 50?

Do you realize how successful you have been after querying 35 agents?

Make a list of 50 more agents and keep querying until you get it sold.

Siri Kirpal
01-04-2013, 07:45 AM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Unless you're writing in an obscure genre about an obscure topic (in which case you wouldn't be getting that incredibly high request rate), you should be able to find more than 50 qualified agents who might be interested. Keep up the agent hunt!

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

DPRichard
01-04-2013, 09:07 PM
Do you realize how successful you have been after querying 35 agents?

Make a list of 50 more agents and keep querying until you get it sold.

Yes Ma'am, will do!!!!

MandyHubbard
01-05-2013, 03:14 AM
The responses have ranged from: it is too short, it is too long. Loved the opening chapter, hated the ending to hated the opening but loved the ending. Its well written and a great story but not a fit for our agency. There really hasn't been a common issue that leads me to think I need to rewrite it. I had an editor go over it and he loved it so I feel very good about it at this point.



I wanted to point out that just becuase the advice conflicts, doesn't mean it doesn't point to a common issue. Sometimes agents say things in different ways, but they're all pointing to a problem and it's just not obvious.

If you haven't done so, line up all your rejections in one file and read it over.

To me, it immediatley leaps out that you had an agent love the beginning but not ending, and an agent love the ending but not beginning. that MAY be highlighting that there's something inconsistent with the book- the pacing or plot is disjointed.

My first book on submission via my agent, my first four rejections from big 6 stated my characters were too old, too young, too similar, and too different.

I thought it all conflicted and didn't do anything. Now, years later and with much more experience, I realize it was obvious: the characters were the problem.

Just a bit of unasked for advice. Take it or leave it. ;-)

DPRichard
01-10-2013, 01:54 AM
Just to update. Queried my 50th agent today - on the same day I received four rejections (and let me tell you that really put a dark cloud over my head) and my tracking spreadsheet tells me I have received 22 rejections, 15 query letters only are still pending a reply and 13 partials with agents are still pending an answer as well.

I assume this is pretty normal?

So its time to compile the list of the next 50 agents to query and see what happens.

wampuscat
01-10-2013, 02:26 AM
I'm no expert, but with 13 partials requested out of 50 queries, that's 26 percent. From everything I've read, a good response rate is 10 to 20 percent, so it seems you are doing quite well. It only takes one to love your work enough to offer.

kaitie
01-10-2013, 03:30 AM
Actually, you're doing much, much better than normal.

HFgal
01-10-2013, 03:32 AM
It only takes one to love your work enough to offer.

This somehow reminds me of when my husband I and were looking for our first house. Everything seemed to suck or be out of our price range, and we were getting pretty bummed out thinking there was no place that we wanted to put down roots, but we kept reminding ourselves, it only takes one house. And then we found an excellent house.

Hang in there.