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View Full Version : Any reason to stop querying after receiving several full requests?



colder2013
06-13-2015, 05:53 AM
Hey, everyone. I'm a longtime lurker here.

I know how people pause between batches to see if their query letter works before sending more, but what if the query letter works and you receive several requests? Do you keep going and try to get as many reads as possible or do you wait for the rejections?

Also, how many rejections before start querying again?

Pony.
06-13-2015, 05:57 AM
Having not sent any queries, myself, yet id say stop. Send out the requested materials and get working on your follow up.

Sage
06-13-2015, 06:27 AM
I have lots of experience with getting full requests so let me give you reasons for waiting and not waiting.

Not waiting:

You may get a response on a full request tomorrow. Or it may take a year. I'd say the average is 3 months (my average may be closer to 6 months; when I used Query Tracker, I was often the longest wait). Some people report getting no response on a full, but I've never had that when the reason wasn't that the agent dropped out of agenting.

And when you do get a response, you may not get anything helpful out of it. My rejections on the first novel that got a lot of requests were all, "Great concept but..." and then something pretty generic.

Meanwhile you could be sending out queries. That also could take a year to get a response. So now, if you've waited let's say 3 months for those fulls to come back and then send out queries that could also sit in inboxes for months on end, and you're extending out the already excruciating query process.

Plus, it's a little easier to handle that wait on fulls if your inbox is still active.

Waiting:

If you have many requests already, it may be worth waiting. Obviously your query is working, so you don't have to worry about that. You'll probably get more requests in the future if these fulls all come back rejections.

Sometimes there's something wrong with an ms that just isn't clear from the query and first pages. Agents *may* give feedback or even request R&Rs. If you agree with these suggested changes once they're suggested to you, you can make them and then you still have a huge pool of agents to query once you've made the changes. It's easy to get into the mindset of, "Well, I think I probably should make that change, but what's the point when I've queried everyone already and there are 6 other fulls out there with the old version?" And then even when you find a great new agent to query, it's just one agent, so you're not going to revise for just one query. Even when it becomes another a while later. And another during a #pitmad contest. Or whatever happens. If you have a bunch of fulls, it's more likely you will get some sort of feedback. And even if all you're getting is, "Great concept, but..." and a generic reason for rejection ("it doesn't fit my list right now," "I'm not the right agent for it," "I don't know how to market it," etc.), that's still telling you something about the novel. If you start off with a good pool of requests, it may be worth it to hold off on querying any more, even though the wait can be excruciating.

CEtchison
06-13-2015, 06:53 AM
I'm kinda in a similar situation. Small batch of queries resulted in one quick rejection, one partial request by big name agent, one same agency referral resulting in a full request. Jury is still out on the fourth because dream agent is currently backed up and is taking four to six weeks when response time is typically two to four weeks.

Tomorrow will be four weeks. I've decided to query another handful of agents as a second phase, but it's stressful trying to decide what to do. It's like prom all over again. Do you accept the first person to ask or do you drag your feet when it comes to giving an answer in the hopes dreamboat over there might decide to ask you? lol

Not that anyone has asked at this point anyway....

Niiicola
06-13-2015, 06:59 AM
You might get feedback from requests, and you might not. Or you might get feedback that's all over the place (as has been my experience) and not super helpful as a result. But I do think there's some value in holding off a bit to see how the requests pan out. If they come back as rejections, even if you don't get helpful feedback, you can do another round of beta readers and revise from there. This way you won't have burned through your entire list. But if you've got a great request rate, make sure there are enough top-choice agents in this round that if you got an offer, you'd be happy with leaving it at this group and wouldn't feel like you missed out on anybody. Also, congrats on your requests!

Putputt
06-13-2015, 08:04 AM
Depends on how many agents have requested the MS. I waited when I got ten requests. Fortunately, a couple of the agents were pretty quick and rejected me within a week, so I sent out more queries to replace those. (I didn't edit because their comments were pretty vague.) I always stopped at 10 and waited until an agent rejected me before sending out more queries. A handful of agents were specific about what they didn't like, but most of them had very different things to say, so I didn't edit my MS at all while querying. But if they all had the same comments, I felt confident that I had enough agents left on my list who I could query after an edit.

I wouldn't wait too long though. Some agents who requested the full never got back to me, not even when I nudged with an offer. If I had put querying on hold for them, I would still be on the query-go-round now. :-/

In every batch of queries you send, make sure you have a couple of top agents mixed in there, so you're not burning through your top choices or saving them for last.

Roxxsmom
06-13-2015, 08:54 AM
I'd possibly send more out, actually, making sure to hit some agents I'm really interested in. It's a sign that you're doing something right. And congrats on getting so much interest from your query.

Be aware, though, that most full requests still end in rejection, and some full-requesting agents never get back at all, even with nudges. And if (happy day) one of the full requests does lead to an offer (it's reasonable to ask an offering agent for two weeks to make a final decision), you can then nudge other agents who have fulls, or even ones you're waiting to hear from on initial queries, and tell them you have an offer. Many agents will move a query to the front burner if they're told that person has a full request, if it looks like something they might like. No guarantee it will work, but I know people where doing this got them more offers after the first one came.

But, as others have said, if you start getting feedback on partial or full requests, and it's consistent (say they all tell you they loved it, but the ending was flat), then it's probably a good idea to stop querying and revise. So I wouldn't blow though all the best agents on your list right away. What's harder is no feedback at all, or feedback that is vague or contradictory.

Good luck!

colder2013
06-13-2015, 10:07 AM
I have lots of experience with getting full requests so let me give you reasons for waiting and not waiting.

Not waiting:

You may get a response on a full request tomorrow. Or it may take a year. I'd say the average is 3 months (my average may be closer to 6 months; when I used Query Tracker, I was often the longest wait). Some people report getting no response on a full, but I've never had that when the reason wasn't that the agent dropped out of agenting.

And when you do get a response, you may not get anything helpful out of it. My rejections on the first novel that got a lot of requests were all, "Great concept but..." and then something pretty generic.

Meanwhile you could be sending out queries. That also could take a year to get a response. So now, if you've waited let's say 3 months for those fulls to come back and then send out queries that could also sit in inboxes for months on end, and you're extending out the already excruciating query process.

Plus, it's a little easier to handle that wait on fulls if your inbox is still active.

Waiting:

If you have many requests already, it may be worth waiting. Obviously your query is working, so you don't have to worry about that. You'll probably get more requests in the future if these fulls all come back rejections.

Sometimes there's something wrong with an ms that just isn't clear from the query and first pages. Agents *may* give feedback or even request R&Rs. If you agree with these suggested changes once they're suggested to you, you can make them and then you still have a huge pool of agents to query once you've made the changes. It's easy to get into the mindset of, "Well, I think I probably should make that change, but what's the point when I've queried everyone already and there are 6 other fulls out there with the old version?" And then even when you find a great new agent to query, it's just one agent, so you're not going to revise for just one query. Even when it becomes another a while later. And another during a #pitmad contest. Or whatever happens. If you have a bunch of fulls, it's more likely you will get some sort of feedback. And even if all you're getting is, "Great concept, but..." and a generic reason for rejection ("it doesn't fit my list right now," "I'm not the right agent for it," "I don't know how to market it," etc.), that's still telling you something about the novel. If you start off with a good pool of requests, it may be worth it to hold off on querying any more, even though the wait can be excruciating.

Thanks for the detailed answer. That was helpful.

I think I'm leaning toward "not waiting" anymore and just put out another round. I had paused at 7 requests, but I received two rejections this week on the full. Both rejections were personal, but not actionable. I'm just really worried that all the other requests will come back as rejections and I won't have anything going. I'll have to restart the waiting game from scratch.

But on the other hand, if I do get an idea for a rewrite, it may be too late. Maybe I should try to query until I get two acceptances, and then pause again until I get 2 more rejections.

colder2013
06-13-2015, 10:12 AM
I'm kinda in a similar situation. Small batch of queries resulted in one quick rejection, one partial request by big name agent, one same agency referral resulting in a full request. Jury is still out on the fourth because dream agent is currently backed up and is taking four to six weeks when response time is typically two to four weeks.

You're at 50% so far thats great! I hope you get good news soon.

colder2013
06-13-2015, 10:19 AM
Depends on how many agents have requested the MS. I waited when I got ten requests. Fortunately, a couple of the agents were pretty quick and rejected me within a week, so I sent out more queries to replace those. (I didn't edit because their comments were pretty vague.) I always stopped at 10 and waited until an agent rejected me before sending out more queries. A handful of agents were specific about what they didn't like, but most of them had very different things to say, so I didn't edit my MS at all while querying. But if they all had the same comments, I felt confident that I had enough agents left on my list who I could query after an edit.

I wouldn't wait too long though. Some agents who requested the full never got back to me, not even when I nudged with an offer. If I had put querying on hold for them, I would still be on the query-go-round now. :-/

In every batch of queries you send, make sure you have a couple of top agents mixed in there, so you're not burning through your top choices or saving them for last.

Yeah i think i will try this system and try to stay at 7 requests. That feels like the safest and fastest way of going through this. Thanks.

Lonegungrrly
06-13-2015, 11:29 AM
Just wanted to add, on the off chance you're working alphabetically or scattergun, if you know your query works, hit your dream agencies and agents! Then I'd wait it out. Awesome response rate so well done :)

Jamesaritchie
06-13-2015, 07:41 PM
Yes, there's a reason to stop. Full requests are great, but they have a serious downside. Getting several requests for fulls means you have a great query. It does not, unfortunately, mean you have a great novel.

Now you know you have a good query, and now you get to find out how good the novel is. If it's good, you don't need to send out any more queries. If it isn't good, the definitely don't want to send out more queries until you fix it.

Be patient. If the novel is good, one of these agents will grab it. If it isn't good, they'll tell you what's wrong with it.

Burning through all the good agents with a bad full is even worse than burning through all the good agents with a bad query. Patience is a virtue.

colder2013
06-13-2015, 10:42 PM
Yes, there's a reason to stop. Full requests are great, but they have a serious downside. Getting several requests for fulls means you have a great query. It does not, unfortunately, mean you have a great novel.

Now you know you have a good query, and now you get to find out how good the novel is. If it's good, you don't need to send out any more queries. If it isn't good, the definitely don't want to send out more queries until you fix it.

Be patient. If the novel is good, one of these agents will grab it. If it isn't good, they'll tell you what's wrong with it.

Burning through all the good agents with a bad full is even worse than burning through all the good agents with a bad query. Patience is a virtue.

Thanks for the response, and I agree with most of this. However, I disagree that if the novel is good it will get repped by the first agents who read it. Tastes vary, and often, you have to find the right agent for your novel, your voice. There are plenty of bestsellers and prize winners that I'm not interested in reading or believe to be objectively bad. Obviously, other people disagree with me, and that's a good thing.

A writer can tell if they're close or far away. That has a lot to do with one's experience and the responses they receive from their work. If a writer scraps their draft every time they receive a few rejections, they most likely will never get anywhere.

colder2013
06-13-2015, 10:49 PM
Just wanted to add, on the off chance you're working alphabetically or scattergun, if you know your query works, hit your dream agencies and agents! Then I'd wait it out. Awesome response rate so well done :)

Thanks! I'm trying to go about it slowly and with a lot of research involved. Other than a few agents, I really don't have a top tier list. I'd be happy with anyone at a very reputable agency who loves my work.

Also, my request rate isn't phenomenal or anything. I've seen people at 40-80% which is amazing to me. I'm around 30% right now which I'm happy about.

CEtchison
06-14-2015, 06:32 AM
Eh. It's only four to start, but thanks! :) And seven full requests out at the same time?!?! That's crazy good IMO!! I'd totally take a rest at that number. Of course I'm the type of person who takes rejection with a grain of salt but hates the idea of having to tell someone "I'm sorry, I'm going with Person X instead of you." lol

Best of luck to you! :)

wendymarlowe
06-14-2015, 10:42 PM
One big advantage of getting your requests all out there at once: if you do get an offer from an agent you're "meh" about, you can easily ask for up to a week to consider and then nudge everyone else who has a full/partial. (This is pretty much expected and agents sometimes get peeved if you don't, so don't worry that you'd be shooting yourself in the foot for not saying "YES" immediately!) Often those agents who have the fulls/partials will bump you to the top of their read list to make sure they're not missing out on anything, which means a better shot of you getting to chose the agent who's right for you instead of having to decide whether someone you're not as crazy about is "good enough." You can't really do that at the query stage (well, you can, but it's almost a guaranteed "no thanks.") Since your query is obviously good enough to be getting some attention, I'd go ahead and send it out to anyone else who looks like a promising agent for your career.