Query Roundup 8/3

As of 2:14 pm, Friday, August 3rd, I'm caught up on queries. That means I have gotten the query inbox down to 0. If you queried me this week and didn't get a response, double check the submission guidelines and send off the query again.

This week there were 159 queries in my inbox!

Of those...

The most common genre this week--I saw a lot of middle grade and a lot of paranormal romance (YA and adult) in my query inbox this week.

No matter the genre, it's important to convey somehow in the query that this project is unique from what's already out there. So if you have a middle grade novel about a kid who discover's he's a wizard and goes to a school for other wizards, you have to make sure you're emphasizing to plot and the character development that are unique rather than the elements of the story that are going to make me think "I've read this before..."

But this is especially important in genres that are "dead" or "dying." If I'm queried with a YA vampire romance or an angel romance, I'm very quick to think this isn't going to work. It's also what editors are going to quick to think when I try to pitch them. Which means, you need to be extra clever with your pitch. Emphasize what's new and different about your manuscript. (And by emphasize, I mean show. Don't just tell me it's different--that's not very convincing).

Why I rejected most queries--I'm not grabbed
Like the past few weeks, most of my rejections stem from not feeling grabbed. This doesn't mean it's bad, just that nothing stands out or really jumps out and says UNIQUE! What is it about your character and this concept that are going to lure me to the edge of my seat and want to know what happens next. I really need that shown in the query.

Queries I regrettably passed on--2

YA fantasy--the query was a little confusing, but it seemed like there might be a great premise in there, but as I read the pages, I realized the world building problems in the query also seem to be problematic in the pages
YA fantasy--great query, but the pages lack voice

Manuscripts I requested--3

Adult mystery/romance--really cool concept and great writing. I'm interested to see where this goes
Adult urban fantasy--a manuscript I previously requested. It's not been revised. Still a great premise!
Adult science fiction--writing (in the query and manuscript) that's completely swoonworthy. I actually sat up straighter and leaned into my computer after reading the first line.

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Kathryn Faye said...

It always happens when something a genre type grows too big. Which is sad because some really good ones might fall through the cracks just because of the genre its typecast in. I love hearing your blog Ms. Suzie Townsend, it's insightful and I enjoy hearing what an agent sees and feels when they receive queries. Thank you.

Lynn(e) Schmidt said...

Hey, question for you. I've tried to query you twice now. The first I didn't get an automated response (it was when you guys were first establishing New Leaf) but this time I did, but didn't hear anything. Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

We once had a query that described in terrifying detail exactly how and where the author would hunt us down and the descriptive horror of the outcome should we neglect to make them into the "Stephen King of the 1990's" We had to explain that King was still alive and kicking and needed no replacement. That was fun. Needless to say, we all changed our names and addresses after that..

Danielle Behr said...

I have to admit, I'm incredibly curious to know what the first line of that adult SF was...