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Eussie
03-30-2005, 06:37 PM
Well I was feeling down for a few minutes...not so bad now but I wanted to share a few stats:

EMAIL QUERIES for Sokorri's Operator: 12 sent, 5 positive replies
MAIL QUERIES : 42 sent, 0 positive replies

I was feeling pretty good a couple of weeks ago. I had almost a 50% positive response to my email queries. I was hoping for at least a few bites with my mail queries. then...nothing but a ton of no thanks slips (40 in all).

Do you think that agents even READ their mail queries? The figures above would suggest otherwise don't you think?

Grrr.


Well, there's my vent, lol

vig
03-30-2005, 06:53 PM
my answer is the numbers do site a trend. human nature say if my job was to find stories and i'm at my computer all day, i'd by the sheer posiblity of strikin gold, take a stab at four a five queries a day, easily, from my email. some due diligece on my part. so i can sleep at night.

you're at your computer, something catches your eye, 1-89 queriees that came to you this week. you read maybe 3 four a day from your email. yes, email queries would seem to give you a better chance.

it's all timing since the universe is one big tsuami waiting to happen.

vig

vig

Julie Worth
03-30-2005, 06:55 PM
Iíve also gotten a poor response from straight queries. Thatís why I stopped sending them. Now I always include three chapters and a synopsis. The response rate is much better that way.

SRHowen
03-30-2005, 07:05 PM
E-mail queries if they take them, are quick and easy to say send more or to reject or to ignore--most of my e-mail ones I never heard back on.

My snail mail ones I averaged a positive in a 1 to 3 ratio.

It took 65 rejections before I landed my agent.

Do not send sample chapters unless asked for. A lot of agencies will reject you out of hand for not following their guidelines. Perhaps you need to re-look at your query letter?

Shawn

arkady
03-30-2005, 07:12 PM
Iíve also gotten a poor response from straight queries. Thatís why I stopped sending them. Now I always include three chapters and a synopsis. The response rate is much better that way.

You make an interesting point. Whenever I've solicited online advice about sending samples, the answers have been pretty well evenly divided. Either "No, don't ever send an agent anything that isn't specifically asked for in the guidelines," or "Sure, go ahead send samples; no one's going to reject you for that."

Since simple advice seems to be so contradictory, I'd like to ask for your practical experience on this matter. How much better has your response rate been since you started including samples and synopsis?

maestrowork
03-30-2005, 07:22 PM
All you need is ONE "yes."

arkady
03-30-2005, 07:31 PM
E-mail queries if they take them, are quick and easy to say send more or to reject or to ignore--most of my e-mail ones I never heard back on.

That's always been my (admittedly unproven) opinon on e-queries. They're like phone calls: too easy to say "no" and hang up.


My snail mail ones I averaged a positive in a 1 to 3 ratio.

There you've got me, Shawn. In spite of a query letter that all my test readers think is superior, my positive-to-negative ratio has been 1:53.


It took 65 rejections before I landed my agent.

Well, at only 53 form rejections, that at least makes me feel a bit better.


Do not send sample chapters unless asked for. A lot of agencies will reject you out of hand for not following their guidelines.

You're a published writer and I'm not, so I don't question your credentials. But over the years, I've gotten both Yes and No advice on this point, both sides being equally vehement. I tried including unrequested samples twice, and got a form rejection. But then, the rest of my queries have gotten form rejections, too. I don't know what to think.


Perhaps you need to re-look at your query letter?

That was my first reaction, so I re-did it. Then re-did it again. And again. Each time, my test readers (one of whom has been published) thought it was just fine. Still no luck. I'm at my wits' end. Is it the query, or is it something about the premise itself? I'm fighting in the dark.


Shawn

maestrowork
03-30-2005, 07:39 PM
If they ask for samples, send. If they only ask for queries, don't send sample chapters. Really, do try to follow guidelines. Editors are very busy people -- they WILL toss your submission out if you don't follow guidelines. You're not the only writers (however good you are) out there.

Eussie
03-30-2005, 08:11 PM
:Thumbs:
All you need is ONE "yes."

SRHowen
03-30-2005, 08:19 PM
Sometimes I think we fall into the man, this query sucks, it doesn't get the point across--I'll just include some sample chapters and they will see how great my work is. And off we send them.

Mr. Agent or editor sees that big envelope in their in-box. They asked for query letters only, they even said please do not send unasked for material--but there it is--they know what's inside before they even open it by the size of the package.

They sigh, it's the last one in the box, once they read it they are done for the day. So they open it, in the back of their mind they have that little voice that says this author doesn't read guidelines, or they think they are above them, or they are going to be hard to work with. Now, the writing is good, the query pretty good, the idea sounds good--but there is that voice whispering those things--Mr. Agent or editor tosses it in the box for his assistant to put in a form rejection. He doesn't need a author who is hard to work with, he has about 200 more quires to go through the next day form authors that can follow guidelines, who are willing to work within the rules.

Just something to think about.

Some questions:

Are you targeting agents who rep what you write? I know it seems a strange question, but are you just looking at the fact they rep, say, Mystery--or are you looking at their clients and books their clients have done to find those who rep something close to yours?

Your query--is it simple, direct and to the point, containing info that they need--does it show that you know what they need or might need?

Are those who are reading it for you, your friends who might not want to hurt your feelings?

And lastly, those who make it don't give up--that's the key it seems, just keep going.

Shawn

Julie Worth
03-30-2005, 09:06 PM
All you need is ONE "yes."

Well, I'm calling a YES a request for more material. The standard procedure for submitting by the unpublished is: you mail a single sheet of paper with almost no words on it, begging the agent to look at your material. But you really donít know how to write a query, because, hellís bells, youíre a novelist, not a blurb writer. And since you foolishly havenít included your material in the envelope, the answer is NO. You never get to first base, and no one ever reads your work.

But the unpublished donít have to do that. Many (if not most) agents will accept an MS from a published author without further ado.

So what happens if the unpublished acts like the published? Does she get fined, arrested, put in jail. Or put on a black list somewhere. No, none of those. What often happens is: she gets read.

And whatís true for agents is also true for editors. Last year I sent a query directly to an editor at a big publishing house, telling him about my wonderful thriller. Six months later, no response. So I had it printed up as a paperback and mailed it to him. What was I, an unpublished, unagented, unknown, thinking? Two months later he returned it at his own expense, even though I said he could recycle it. The book was obviously read at least once, and there was a personal letter from him, explaining why he was passing.

So I broke the rules. I didnít make a sale, but at least I got it considered.

DeadlyAccurate
03-30-2005, 09:18 PM
arkady, your post could have been written by me. Ever since I was working on my first book, people who weren't my friends told me I wrote well. In my first writing class, the teacher (a published author), agreed I would be published some day, and to an extent I am. But I can't get anyone to read my novels, and I don't know why. People say my query letters are good (recently edited in this very forum because of the rejections), but I've only gotten requests for samples twice.

I'm too stubborn to give up, though. (Did three more queries today, one to Russell Galen; don't say I'm not optimistic.)

SRHowen
03-30-2005, 09:19 PM
There are always exceptions to the rules--always, but an exception doesn't make the rule.

Shawn

maestrowork
03-30-2005, 09:22 PM
youíre a novelist, not a blurb writer.

I disagree. We're WRITERS. Period. If we can't write a decent 300-word business letter (which is what a query is), then what chance is it that our 100K novel is any good?

It's not "rocket" science to come up with a good query letter. There are lots of books, articles, online resources on how to write a good one. If it takes 1 year to write and perfect the novel, shouldn't we invest some time to polish our queries?

Publishing is a business. You need to be "professional" to succeed in the business, and writing a good query is part of this business. Agents and editors are not only looking for a good book; they're also looking for professional writers who will deliver on-time and professionally.

We can break the rules if we want. But everytime we do that, we run the risk of hurting ourselves because we come off as unprofessional.

dragonjax
03-30-2005, 09:27 PM
Well, I'm calling a YES a request for more material. The standard procedure for submitting by the unpublished is: you mail a single sheet of paper with almost no words on it, begging the agent to look at your material. But you really donít know how to write a query, because, hellís bells, youíre a novelist, not a blurb writer. And since you foolishly havenít included your material in the envelope, the answer is NO. You never get to first base, and no one ever reads your work.[/size][/font][/font]
I respectfully disagree with Julie on this one. If you don't know how to write a query letter, learn how. There are plenty of books out there on the subject; my personal favorite is Your Novel Proposal: From Creation to Contract by Blythe Camenson and Marshall Cook. Yes, it sucks to realize that getting published means treating writing as a business, but there you go. Writing a brilliant book won't get you published. Learning how to get the attention of agents and editors increases your chances.


But the unpublished donít have to do that. Many (if not most) agents will accept an MS from a published author without further ado.
Er...do you mean an unsolicited manuscript? Many, if not most, agents will recycle any unsolicited material without a second thought. Some publishers have a slush pile for unsolicited submissions, so if you want your manuscript to languish in the slush pile for a year or more, feel free. I'm not dissing the idea of submitting material directly to publishers -- but you have to do your homework.


So what happens if the unpublished acts like the published? Does she get fined, arrested, put in jail. Or put on a black list somewhere. No, none of those. What often happens is: she gets read.
Approaching the writing business in a professional, assertive manner is to be applauded.


And whatís true for agents is also true for editors. Last year I sent a query directly to an editor at a big publishing house, telling him about my wonderful thriller. Six months later, no response. So I had it printed up as a paperback and mailed it to him. What was I, an unpublished, unagented, unknown, thinking? Two months later he returned it at his own expense, even though I said he could recycle it. The book was obviously read at least once, and there was a personal letter from him, explaining why he was passing.
So after spending the time and money to get your book printed, you still got rejected. How are you better off?


So I broke the rules. I didnít make a sale, but at least I got it considered.
Breaking the rules is fine, as long as you know which ones to break. Personally, I think that sending your book as a bound galley isn't the way to go, but more power to you if it works. I admire your tenacity. If you use that to your advantage -- learn the ropes by nailing the query letter and synopsis -- I bet you'll land an agent...or, at least requests to read your thriller. Best of luck.

Julie Worth
03-30-2005, 09:29 PM
Blurb writing is as different from novel writing as novel writing is from writing textbooks, or jokes, or a lot of other things.

dragonjax
03-30-2005, 09:32 PM
We can break the rules if we want. But everytime we do that, we run the risk of hurting ourselves because we come off as unprofessional.
Very true. That's not to say, never break the rules. But first, you have to know what the rules are. Sometimes you can bend them creatively and still come across very professionally. And sometimes you can even break them -- but, as Maestrowork said, you risk hurting your image as a professional.

And make no mistake about it: this is a very, very tight community. Some agents and editors have a very long memory. Maybe there is no black list per se, but, as they saying goes, you only have one chance to make a good first impression.

dragonjax
03-30-2005, 09:33 PM
Blurb writing is as different from novel writing as novel writing is from writing textbooks, or jokes, or a lot of other things.
Of course. And writing a blurb is not the same thing as writing a query letter. That doesn't mean an author can't learn how to write a query, or a blurb, or a synopsis.

dragonjax
03-30-2005, 09:39 PM
Dialing back to Eussie's original post, I've queried both via snail mail and via e-mail. At this point, I really don't think it makes a difference. Sending an e-query to an agent who doesn't accept e-queries is probably a waste of time. And there are agents out there who simply won't respond to any query, e- or traditional print queries, unless they are interested in reading a sample. ((shrug))

Eussie, regarding your stats, 5 of 12 is very good. 0 for 42...well, unfortunately, not so much. I believe it was Shawn who asked if you're sure you've targeted the right agents for your work. If you're positive you have, and you're getting a better response via e-mail, and it's the same query in two different media, then heck, stick with what works. And good luck on your requests for partials (or, hopefully, fulls). :Clap:

maestrowork
03-30-2005, 09:45 PM
Blurb writing is as different from novel writing as novel writing is from writing textbooks, or jokes, or a lot of other things.

No one said it wasn't. But as writers we need to master different skills. And business writing is one of them, if you want to succeed in the publishing business as an author. Synopsis writing is a skill -- it's summary. Sooner or later you will have to summarize something -- a movie, a book you read, a textbook chapter. Besides, sooner or later someone is going to stop you on the street and ask, "What is your book about?" I hope you have a short answer instead of shoving the book on their laps.

I'm not saying condensing your 100K ms into a 100-word blurb is easy. It's not. But personally I think it's presumptious to tell an agent: "I can't write a blurb if my life depends on it, so you will just have to have faith in me, and invest your precious time and read my 500-page masterpiece to find out." Seriously, if I were an agent or editor worth my keep, I would toss that away. I ain't got time to read every ms. that comes my way. I have to spend my time wisely, and one of the way for me to find out is via queries.

Eussie
03-30-2005, 09:45 PM
Dialing back to Eussie's original post, I've queried both via snail mail and via e-mail. At this point, I really don't think it makes a difference. Sending an e-query to an agent who doesn't accept e-queries is probably a waste of time. And there are agents out there who simply won't respond to any query, e- or traditional print queries, unless they are interested in reading a sample. ((shrug))

Eussie, regarding your stats, 5 of 12 is very good. 0 for 42...well, unfortunately, not so much. I believe it was Shawn who asked if you're sure you've targeted the right agents for your work. If you're positive you have, and you're getting a better response via e-mail, and it's the same query in two different media, then heck, stick with what works. And good luck on your requests for partials (or, hopefully, fulls). :Clap:

I'm fairly sure I've targeted the right people...I've been armed for months now with writer's market and five books on query and proposal writing. My book is a psychological thriller so I targeted only those agents who listed 'thriller'.
I'm persistant though...not giving up yet!

maestrowork
03-30-2005, 09:48 PM
I'm fairly sure I've targeted the right people...I've been armed for months now with writer's market and five books on query and proposal writing. My book is a psychological thriller so I targeted only those agents who listed 'thriller'.
I'm persistant though...not giving up yet!

Persistence and preseverence.

Good luck!!!!

brinkett
03-30-2005, 09:50 PM
EMAIL QUERIES for Sokorri's Operator: 12 sent, 5 positive replies
MAIL QUERIES : 42 sent, 0 positive replies
Your experience mirrors mine. I've only just started so I haven't sent out nearly as many queries as you have, but so far all of my positives (requests for partials) have been to email queries. I've received 0 positives to the ones sent through snail mail. It does make you wonder.

As far as including material with the query goes, I'd never mail sample chapters to an agent who didn't say it was ok in their guidelines, but as a test, I snail mailed four queries yesterday and included a one page synopsis with each. Since I snail mailed them, I'm expecting four no's, but you never know.

I've found that the response rate is better to snail mail queries, meaning that generally you will hear back from the agent. With email queries, the trend seems to be that if you don't hear anything within 72 hours of sending, you never will, or at least that's been my experience.

dragonjax
03-30-2005, 09:52 PM
I'm fairly sure I've targeted the right people...I've been armed for months now with writer's market and five books on query and proposal writing. My book is a psychological thriller so I targeted only those agents who listed 'thriller'.
I'm persistant though...not giving up yet!
Good for you -- never be daunted! :Thumbs:

I do, however, humbly suggest that you also check online sites for recent sales in your genre. In my humble opinion, Publishers Marketplace is worth its $15/month fee to check, on a daily basis (however many times per day you want), who's selling what to whom. This has given me more tips on trends in the industry than any of the books out there (and I used to swear by Writer's Market and Jeff Herman's guide). If the $15/month is too steep, PM also offers a free subscription to its "Lunch Weekly" newsletter, which sums up all sales for the previous week.

Again, best of luck to you.

SRHowen
03-30-2005, 09:55 PM
I'm fairly sure I've targeted the right people...I've been armed for months now with writer's market and five books on query and proposal writing. My book is a psychological thriller so I targeted only those agents who listed 'thriller'.

I'm persistant though...not giving up yet!

expand beyond Writer's Market. Try Publisher's Market Place they have a free e-mail version and you may want to subscribe for one month or so to look through their listings. (that's where I found my agent--and saw he reped a book much like mine, not just fantasy/horror, but based in Native American myth) also try agentinfo.com Someone help me here, what's that other book? Writer's Handbook is one--but there is another--Jeff someone?

Even though the agents rep thriller, still look into them, find a few books by their authors--are any like yours? If you can hit on some agents who rep simular stories to yours, and not just thriller, then you will have a better chance. The agent feels they can sell what you write because they know the editors who will buy it.

SRHowen
03-30-2005, 09:57 PM
As far as including material with the query goes, I'd never mail sample chapters to an agent who didn't say it was ok in their guidelines, but as a test, I snail mailed four queries yesterday and included a one page synopsis with each. Since I snail mailed them, I'm expecting four no's, but you never know.

A one page synop is not the same as sample chapters.

Shawn

brinkett
03-30-2005, 10:01 PM
Yeah I know, but with my first batch of queries, I followed the guidelines to the letter. If they said query letter only, that's all they got. This time, I'm including the synop just to see if it makes a difference, and I included my shortest synop, not my more detailed one. As I said in my post, I'd never send sample chapters unless the guidelines ask for them. I've read in too many places that the large envelopes go to the bottom of the pile.

Julie Worth
03-30-2005, 10:08 PM
So after spending the time and money to get your book printed, you still got rejected. How are you better off?

Time and money? I write in a trade paperback format, and every couple of weeks I have a copy printed at lulu, and use that for editing. To send one to an editor costs me under $10, plus postage. In other words, about what it would cost me to print it out on an inkjet printer.

dragonjax
03-30-2005, 10:19 PM
Time and money? I write in a trade paperback format, and every couple of weeks I have a copy printed at lulu, and use that for editing. To send one to an editor costs me under $10, plus postage. In other words, about what it would cost me to print it out on an inkjet printer.
Julie, if this format works for you, that's terrific. It's very unconventional, but that's not a bad thing, not by far. (I, personally, think it's high risk, but that's just my opinion.) If you're satisfied with the results, then that's all one could ask for. Thanks for sharing your approach -- and do let us know whether it lands you an agent or, even better, a publisher.

(And save your receipts for both printing and publishing; you may be able to write them off on your taxes.)

Julie Worth
03-30-2005, 10:33 PM
Julie, if this format works for you, that's terrific. It's very unconventional, but that's not a bad thing, not by far. (I, personally, think it's high risk, but that's just my opinion.) If you're satisfied with the results, then that's all one could ask for. Thanks for sharing your approach -- and do let us know whether it lands you an agent or, even better, a publisher.
(And save your receipts for both printing and publishing; you may be able to write them off on your taxes.)

Of course, to send out partials, I convert to standard format.

And I do now have an agent, but only on one book. She requested the MS based on one of my rare email queries, and I sent her a personalized POD instead.

SRHowen
03-30-2005, 10:45 PM
anyone interested, I posted my "unconventional" query letter format in thread of its own.

Shawn

dragonjax
03-30-2005, 11:02 PM
And I do now have an agent, but only on one book. She requested the MS based on one of my rare email queries, and I sent her a personalized POD instead.
Curious: what does your agent think of your approach to publishers? Is she submitting your work, or are you? Sorry, I haven't had enough chocolate today, so maybe I missed something -- your agent is representing only one book, but not the one you're currently subbing to publishers? Is that right?

I'm in desperate need of caffeine...

Julie Worth
03-30-2005, 11:16 PM
Curious: what does your agent think of your approach to publishers? Is she submitting your work, or are you? Sorry, I haven't had enough chocolate today, so maybe I missed something -- your agent is representing only one book, but not the one you're currently subbing to publishers? Is that right?

I'm in desperate need of caffeine...

Right, I signed the agent a couple of weeks ago. The submission to the publisher was on a different book, different genre, a few months ago.

dragonjax
03-30-2005, 11:21 PM
Right, I signed the agent a couple of weeks ago. The submission to the publisher was on a different book, different genre, a few months ago.
So your agent is representing a book that is different from your POD novel, which is currently on submission at traditional publishers. Is that right? (Eventually, I get a clue...)

SRHowen
03-30-2005, 11:24 PM
My contract calls for representation of "all longer works." Thought that was pretty standard.

Julie Worth
03-30-2005, 11:30 PM
My contract calls for representation of "all longer works." Thought that was pretty standard.

That was in her standard contract too. She wanted to give me full rep for a year. But I was leery of that, having already had one agent relationship go south. I have four books and a WIP, and I didnít want to tie them all up, especially since she doesnít represent one of my genres. So I said, letís do one book for six months and see how it goes. And she was fine with that.

dragonjax
03-31-2005, 12:32 AM
That was in her standard contract too. She wanted to give me full rep for a year. But I was leery of that, having already had one agent relationship go south. I have four books and a WIP, and I didnít want to tie them all up, especially since she doesnít represent one of my genres. So I said, letís do one book for six months and see how it goes. And she was fine with that.
Okay, so you have Book One as a POD, which you are currently submitting to publishers directly, sans agent. You have Book Two, which is represented by an agent (at least, for six months). And you have Books Three and Four, as well as a WIP, which are currently unagented. Right? I must say that I am awed by your time-management skills; researching the publishers to know which editors are currently accepting your work is a full-time job by itself, yet you are also writing a new book and (possibly) still querying other agents for the genre book that your current agent doesn't represent. Hats off to you. I still think that going POD and then using that bound soft copy as your submission isn't the best way to grab an editor's attention, but that's my personal opinion. Best of luck to you.

Julie Worth
03-31-2005, 01:11 AM
I still think that going POD and then using that bound soft copy as your submission isn't the best way to grab an editor's attention, but that's my personal opinion. Best of luck to you.

Do it the way I do, and it does get their attention. The book is personalized with a query to a specific editor printed on the back cover (and personalized inside, as well). A special edition with a press run of one. The cost is ten dollars at lulu, but they donít know that. They think youíve spent tons of money.

dragonjax
03-31-2005, 01:28 AM
Do it the way I do, and it does get their attention. The book is personalized with a query to a specific editor printed on the back cover (and personalized inside, as well). A special edition with a press run of one. The cost is ten dollars at lulu, but they donít know that. They think youíve spent tons of money.
Eh, I'm not sure I buy that. Editors are very aware of POD these days. And I question how submitting a printed copy of a book fosters greater editor interest in publishing that book -- after all, if you're doing it POD, why bother with a traditional publisher? If it's just to get an editor's attention, I think this falls under the realm of "gimmick," like sending a manuscript on pink paper to a chick-lit publisher. Editors request double-spaced 12-point font manuscripts for a reason: they're easy to read. (And I'm speaking here from experience, both as a writer and as an editor.) I can't see why sending a paperback novel to an editor for the purposes of submission would be taken more seriously than submitting a manuscript formatted according to industry standards.

But like I said before, my POD thoughts are just that -- my thoughts. If this approach works for you, that's terrific. Until you post a sale of that POD novel to a traditional publisher, however, I remain politely skeptical.

Again, best of luck to you. I hope that you sell the novel and post the news here -- I will happily congratulate you when that happens.

maestrowork
03-31-2005, 01:30 AM
Do it the way I do, and it does get their attention. The book is personalized with a query to a specific editor printed on the back cover (and personalized inside, as well). A special edition with a press run of one. The cost is ten dollars at lulu, but they donít know that. They think youíve spent tons of money.

Actually, on the back it does say "www.lulu.com" -- so they will know if they check.

It certainly is another way to send a ms. -- it beats sending a big box with 500 pages. Whether the agent or editor would accept that is up to them. Again, by breaking the rules you run the risk -- it's entirely up to you to accept the risk or not.

Julie Worth
03-31-2005, 01:44 AM
maestrowork --It doesn't say lulu on the back anymore.

dragonjax --POD means Print On Demand. It doesn't mean that it's published, only that it's printed. None of my books are available to the public, and there's no ISBN, so they're not published.

dragonjax
03-31-2005, 01:53 AM
dragonjax --POD means Print On Demand. It doesn't mean that it's published, only that it's printed. None of my books are available to the public, and there's no ISBN, so they're not published.[/size][/font]
I never said it was published. I questioned why a traditional publisher would be interested in a book that was printed (not published) POD. But I'm glad that you are clarifying between the terms; there is a big difference between a POD printer and a traditional publisher, and some writers first starting out may not be aware of that.

Julie Worth
03-31-2005, 02:05 AM
Well, I had an agent request an MS, and I asked her if sheíd rather have it as a paperback. She took the paperback. Itís certainly easier to carry around. You can read it at odd moments without worrying about losing sheets of paper. And in some cases, it provides a built-in rationale for sending the entire work, instead of a partial. You canít be expected to rip up the book just because they only wanted part of it, now can you?

dragonjax
03-31-2005, 02:20 AM
And in some cases, it provides a built-in rationale for sending the entire work, instead of a partial. You canít be expected to rip up the book just because they only wanted part of it, now can you?
LOL! Very clever. Looking forward to seeing your "sold" post. Again, best of luck.

SRHowen
03-31-2005, 08:47 AM
I'm just going to point out--that most editors don't want gimmicks--many tell horror stories of the guy who sent a full sized cast of his leg with the note to get a leg up and others. Most discourage any sort of gimmick.

And it is an exception--sending a printed book, and since it has not sold the book, I have to question just how effective it is. Please don't get defensive, but I am curious about an agent who would agree to rep only one book for a very limited amount of time. After all, if they feel they can sell that one book, then why would they agree to let other books by that same selling author go to a different agent or publisher?

It may work for you, and I hope it does sell your book. How many editors have looked at it in this form and rejected it? How many agents?

Shawn

Julie Worth
03-31-2005, 03:36 PM
I'm just going to point out--that most editors don't want gimmicks--many tell horror stories of the guy who sent a full sized cast of his leg with the note to get a leg up and others. Most discourage any sort of gimmick.

I am curious about an agent who would agree to rep only one book for a very limited amount of time. After all, if they feel they can sell that one book, then why would they agree to let other books by that same selling author go to a different agent or publisher?

It may not be standard, but itís not that unusual. Editors and agents do get printed book submissions, as when a published author is shopping for a new agent or publisher for her published book.

Sending a full size cast is not only a bad joke, itís something heavy they then have to dispose of. Sending an unwanted MS, same thing. Sending a paperback, well, thatís doesnít exactly fill up your circular file, now does it?

Iím not saying this is the best approach, only that it can work in certain cases, getting you read when otherwise it wouldnít happen.

As for representing only one book and letting the others go to another agent, it was either that or not representing any. In any case, two of my completed books are in a genre she doesnít currently represent.

Jamesaritchie
04-01-2005, 11:48 PM
Many agents and editors will look at sample chapters and an outline, even if the guidelines don't mention them. Others will not. But many agents and editors do consider three sample chapters and an outline a query. It's only complete manuscripts that many refuse to look at.

I think new writers will get better, and certainly more accurate, replies from chapters and an outline.

Finding out whether or not an agent will accept sample chapters and an outline is usually as simply as calling them and asking.

Eussie
04-05-2005, 11:02 PM
My latest figures:

By Mail: 80+ queries sent by mail: cost: $95, response: zero
By Email: 100 queries sent (most to the same agents queried by mail!): cost: zero, positive responses: 14

I'm sticking with email from now on :)

Jamesaritchie
04-05-2005, 11:14 PM
My latest figures:

By Mail: 80+ queries sent by mail: cost: $95, response: zero
By Email: 100 queries sent (most to the same agents queried by mail!): cost: zero, positive responses: 14

I'm sticking with email from now on :)

If you're talking novel queries, that's just weird. When you send out that many queries, you should receive an 80-90% response rate, snail mail or e-mail.

I wonder if the number isn't the problem. Eighty queries is a huge number, and it ought to take at least a full year just to research and prepare this many good queries.

dragonjax
04-05-2005, 11:29 PM
My latest figures:

By Mail: 80+ queries sent by mail: cost: $95, response: zero
By Email: 100 queries sent (most to the same agents queried by mail!): cost: zero, positive responses: 14

I'm sticking with email from now on :)

Sorry, I'm bad at math. How did you spend $95 on 80+ queries, which should cost one stamp, two envelopes, and the paper itself? Do you have a printer at home? Or are you pritning the queries out at a Staples? How'd you rack up almost a hundred bucks in expenses? (And yes, save all your receipts.)

100 queries is a lot. Did you shotgun the queries, or trickle them? Were they targeted at the proper agents (that is, the ones who rep your genre)?

brinkett
04-05-2005, 11:34 PM
If sending partials with the queries (some agents do accept partials right off the bat), they'd cost more than a stamp.

But... I started querying in January and so far I've sent out a grand total of... 18 queries! Like James Ritchie and Dragonjax said, you should be (a) considering who you send to carefully, and (b) trickling them out so you can continue to work on the query in between batches, depending on what the responses are like.

I can't even find 100 agents that will accept the genre I write in, so I won't be sending out that many.

(I think by zero responses for snail mail, she meant zero positive responses, or at least I hope she did!)

Eussie
04-06-2005, 01:26 AM
If you're talking novel queries, that's just weird. When you send out that many queries, you should receive an 80-90% response rate, snail mail or e-mail.

I wonder if the number isn't the problem. Eighty queries is a huge number, and it ought to take at least a full year just to research and prepare this many good queries.

I was talking about positive queries. And trust me, I started researching this a year ago. This latest "mass" mailing was my third, improved query after a couple of smaller batches. I printed off my own stuff, so that costs me a lot less.

I just wanted to point out the diffs in positive responses for the same query letter sent by email and mail.

Eussie
04-06-2005, 05:59 PM
Sorry, I'm bad at math. How did you spend $95 on 80+ queries, which should cost one stamp, two envelopes, and the paper itself? Do you have a printer at home? Or are you pritning the queries out at a Staples? How'd you rack up almost a hundred bucks in expenses? (And yes, save all your receipts.)

100 queries is a lot. Did you shotgun the queries, or trickle them? Were they targeted at the proper agents (that is, the ones who rep your genre)?

Each query costs two stamps (one for the SASE and one for the Actual query). Some of the envelopes were heavier and cost $1.22 to mail. I also had to use 2 printer cartridges at $6 each.

They were trickled at first. Then after working on my query I shotgunned 'em. I didn't want to wait five blinkin' years just for someone to say 'yes' to a query.

The 100 queries went out to agents who stated they represent thrillers, suspense, 'quirky fiction', or they asked for strong female leads/characters. So it wasn't that hard to find that many. Like I said somewhere else in this thread, I've been doing my homework for a year. I bought Writer's Market, read P&E, publisher's marketplace etc., and I've had stickies and notes on various agents for a year.

Hope that answers your question!
:)

dragonjax
04-06-2005, 08:27 PM
It does, thanks. ;)

Just goes to show that we writers should buy supplies in bulk. Or own shares in envelope-making companies...

:)

maestrowork
04-07-2005, 07:19 AM
Don't forget. All those expenses are tax deductable.

Ah, it must be tax time already!

dragonjax
04-08-2005, 02:55 PM
Scams are also tax deductible in that it doesn't cost the scammer anything.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

(Sorry. Haven't gotten past this yet.)