Query Roundup 10/5

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4 Comments
As of 2:35 pm, I've answered all my queries.

There were 166 queries in my inbox today.

Of those, I requested 1 manuscript.
A self published YA paranormal trilogy that I considered pre self publishing as well. The author has had success and wants an agent to help with her career.

I regretfully passed on 1 manuscript.
A really unique sounding fairytale retelling in a steampunk world. I'm still thinking about it. Someone will snatch it up--it's just not for me since I have a few fairytale retellings or original fairytales on my list. ***
-- This query stood out though and even though I didn't request it that's what you want. For your query to stand out.

This is where I'm going to encourage that if you're a querying writer, read a lot of queries. The more you read them the more you'll recognize what works and what doesn't. Read the queries on Queryshark, talk to other querying writers, see if authors who have recently sold their work have their query online (like this one).

***update***
To answer Lexa's question in the comments:

Thanks as always for the insights on the inner working of the agent's world. Interesting that you'd pass on something because you already rep someone whose works resemble it. Perhaps it's because those works haven't sold? It's something that never occurred to me.

Agents and editors never want too much of the same thing on their lists. Otherwise they compete with each other. Granted I can have more than one paranormal or urban fantasy series, but I try to acquire things that are different. So I have on my list Personal Demons (angels and demons), Valkyrie Rising (Norse Mythology), Anew and Awry (immortals and a take on a famous legend) and The Nightmare Affair (everything, but the main character is a nightmare). This works for me, but I wouldn't want to have four angel and demon books. I also probably shouldn't have a list full of paranormal YA.

Fairytales, original and retellings, have had a surge in popularity. On my list I have two that have come out, two that have been sold, one that a client is working on. It's already a solid list. So to take on another fairytale it would need to be very stand out and unique, but it would also need to be different than what I already have.

This is important because an agent's work doesn't end after the sale. There's a lot of work that goes into getting that book from sale to publication and then their publicity and the author's career after that debut novel.


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4 comments:

Lexa Cain said...

Thanks as always for the insights on the inner working of the agent's world. Interesting that you'd pass on something because you already rep someone whose works resemble it. Perhaps it's because those works haven't sold? It's something that never occurred to me.

L.P. Hernandez said...

I imagine with 166 queries you must encounter a fair amount of crap. I've been a member of a few writing boards and websites in my life, and the majority of what I read was so terrible I had to clear my browsing history when I finished. But, this unforgivable writing got heaps of praise and encouragement. I remember reading a poem that included the lines "I am a sad clown, I live with an internal frown." I had to spend the next hour cleaning vomit from beneath the keys after I read that garbage. So, my question is, what percentage of that 166 is absolute drivel that will never see the light of day?

Suzie Townsend said...

@LP--Actually I'd say the biggest problem with queries is that there isn't a lot of crap...

There are some things that are bad--bad writing or bad idea.

There are somethings that are a combination--great idea, not great writing or vice versa.

And then there's a lot that is just okay, that feels like something you've seen before.

I have read some terrible manuscripts, but I've read a lot more that weren't terrible, but they just didn't WOW me.

natalie said...

Thanks for doing these round-ups! This one bummed me out, because I am doing revisions for my novel that is a fairy-tale retelling, and am really excited to query you. But your reasoning makes sense!

I can't wait to read The Nightmare Affair. What a great concept!