View Full Version : Did I Screw Up My Chances?: Query Letter Problem

02-02-2015, 12:54 PM
Hi, so I'm dumb. Let's get that out of the way.

So, what happened was I wrote a novel. Got really excited and made a query letter for it, a synopsis, and all that jazz and sent that to all the agents I could find.

Now, the 'me being dumb' part is I didn't realize that my novel actually fell under a DIFFERENT genre than what I put in my query letter to people. I had been saying that it was Young Adult since that's what I thought it was at the time, but AFTER sending out all my letters I got worried and rechecked. Apparently, (didn't realize this at the time) YA only has their MC under age 18. My MC is 21. Which, I found out would fall under New Adult.

So, I keep getting rejected left and right. My question is, did I screw up my chances at being accepted by saying it was YA instead of NA? Would an agent fault me and reject me just for not knowing the correct genre?

02-02-2015, 01:38 PM
It might. I don't know. But the good news is that there are probably agents who rep NA that you could still query.

Next time round, send the query out in batches of 5 to 10 instead of blasting them out to every agent at once. That way, if you realize you've made a mistake (and I do, plenty of times), it won't be the end of the world.

Cathy C
02-02-2015, 04:35 PM
There are probably some cross-over agents, since NA is a relatively new genre, so I wouldn't worry too much. The YA agents who don't rep NA will just reject it without comment. The ones who also rep NA won't hold it against you. :)

02-02-2015, 06:33 PM
If the agent is very interested, she'll either tell you you need to age down your character or make it NA.

If the agent is slightly interested, she might reject because she thinks you don't know your market.

If the agent doesn't take NA, she might assume it's NA based on the age, and reject. If it really is NA, this didn't really lose you anything. If it's really YA with a too-old character, you've lost that chance at that agent, yeah.

There's more to NA vs. YA than the character's age, though.

02-03-2015, 05:04 AM
I have one friend who queried a novel as YA (pre-teen protag), and an agent eventually repped him said it was really a MG novel, not just because of the age, but because of the voice and writing style. Agent worked with him on revisions to trim its length and get it more appropriate for the 8-12 crowd.

So I think the answer is, if an agent sees a lot of potential in your novel, they may work with things like that. Of course, there's more to a novel being YA or NA or MG than just the age of the protagonist (story focus, perspective, narrative style, and voice are also important), but as a rule, you're right. YA protags should be under 18 for the entire novel/series.

As a rule, it's probably better to research your genre and age demographic carefully before querying, though. I doubt any query is perfect (since no one gets accepted by every agent they submit to), but the fewer "strikes against" it has initially, the better.

02-04-2015, 01:58 AM
i would just add you may well have gotten rejections for other varied reasons; have you had your query letter looked at?

02-04-2015, 02:49 AM
Agreed with the previous posters and also would emphasize that category (which is what YA vs NA is, not the same as genre) is not solely a function of the MC's age. Tone, story, voice, themes etc. all are going to play into that. So no, I don't think that you've ruined all your chances. I would recommend going back and taking a good hard look at your manuscript though and seeing if it is YA or NA and maybe making some adjustments to make it more firmly one or the other.

02-04-2015, 03:08 AM
I once read a blog post that addressed this very issue. The answer the agent gave was it doesn't hurt you at all. If the agent is interested in the story, he or she will give you a chance minus the wrong genre. If an agent rejects you it is simply because they are not interested in your story. Now whether or not that is because your Query letter is not enticing enough or there's obvious issues in the sample work you submit, that is why you are receiving rejections.