I have just submitted 3 query letters to 3 different agents (at different agencies). I selected these three based on their bios, genres they liked and the vibe I got from them.
My question is, how many should I be sending out? I have completed my 75,000 word women's fiction novel and though I still plan to read through it a few more times, it has been edited 3 times now (once by an editor and twice by me). I felt like it was time to start looking!
2 agents said they take 6-8 weeks to reply and the other said 1-2 weeks.
Any feedback you have is welcome!
Me too - in fact turn 60 in a few weeks and I have to say the old brain isn't as quick as it used to be. They say all this social media is supposed to keep us sharp but I feel like I'm drowning sometimes. I do like this site because it tells me how long I have to edit my comment. What a nice thing to do :)
Thanks, Rebecca. I never thought much about book length. I just wrote the story until it was complete. It does have a natural split in the middle that could lend itself to being two books. Would you recommend that I offer that as a suggestion in my query?
I would recommend that you query confidently, with a project that makes sense for the agent you are querying. They don't want you to brainstorm in your query. They want a product that's ready to go. You may want to look at comparative novel lengths in your genre:
you can use this link to search for a book series. I think it may be only up to YA novels, but there are other sites out there that can give you Word Count Estimates.
In my opinion, you need to take a step back and look at the reality of the market. If only 0.001% of new authors publish a novel as long as yours, you are not facing good odds. I would make choices that improve your odds.
Every novel I have beta read has needed significant cutting--and I'm surprised that you have worked with pro editors who did not suggest that. They aren't being very fair to you, because the reality is 200K would be hard for JK Rowling to get published. It would have to cost over $50 for a publisher to make money.
So, stop querying for now. Make the work shine, then query. I hope this energizes you, and that I've not been too direct. :)
Also, I'm doing a one-click poll on my blog right now, Writer's Greatest Fears! I'm eager to see if we all share the same ones :)
I agree with Melanie. Never ask an editor and/or agent to do your work for you. Offer it as two books or start with book one. Since you're unpublished, I might keep the pitch really clean and offer one up front. When I was starting out (which was a very long time ago) it was difficult to sell a series by an unpublished author to a traditional publisher because they wanted to see if your first book had legs before they committed to a second. This could be totally off base now.Times to change. I think in the digital world series do so well because we can offer our books at a really reasonable price and there is no worry about a bottom line as there is for a publisher that has so much overhead - sales force, public relations, editors etc. So put your best pitch forward. If it is two books say it's two books but don't ask for their opinion. I do think if they see that the manuscript is 200,000 words they may balk just at the reading time. For my money (IMHO) that might kill you right there. Fingers are crossed. You've put a lot of work into this book. It would be great to see it sell but sometimes our vision needs to be readjusted. Done that a zillion times and have never been sorry. On my 27th book now and I have learned a lot from rethinking according to what the market needs and wants. Good luck!
Wow, 27 books! You're my idol :)
LOL, thanks. But look at it another way. A book a year? That means I'm old!
Hi Danielle, I haven't read every post here, but you're not going to like my answer on how many queries you should sent out -- as many as there are agents and small publishers who handle your genre. And don't wait to hear back before you query others or you could be querying for years. Set up an excel spreadsheet to track who you send to and when; then check them off as you hear back (if you do; many times you won't). Multiple queries are expected and you don't have to say that in your letter.
After more than 200 rejections, I independently published my novel, Husbands May Come and Go but Friends are Forever, and the book has been optioned for the big screen, proving that indie publishing your novel is always viable alternative.
Wow! Good for you, Judith :) That's a wonderful story. I think there are many, many more great stories out there than there are agents and publishers willing to publish them. Just because you don't find an agent doesn't necessarily mean your work isn't worthy--it just might not be on-trend, or may have hit the wrong people at the wrong time.
After more investigating and querying this past week I know that you are right. I have to be my own advocate at this point and be fearless about promoting this story that I love so much. Thank-you!
Congrats on the movie option!!!!
Also, what is the difference between a small publisher and an indie publisher? I'm such a newbie...
I've sent to over a hundred agents. Blame it on Query Tracker!!!!! The premium membership enables you to do very little at all except --click!
Laura--I love Query Tracker--what is the difference between Agent Query and Query Tracker? Is one better than the other?
I fell in love with QT and have not looked back.
Call me old-fashioned but I like using Jeff Herman's Guide to Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents as a resource for querying. You go through the sections, mark those interested in our genre and send queries. He updates it every year and for $20 on Amazon, you can't go wrong.
No-not old-fashioned! Different strokes. I have a copy of Jeff Herman myself, bought a few years before I heard of Query Tracker.
But there's no denying the advance and advantage of technology. Agents, like editors are prone to play hop skotch on a dime. Query Tracker updates upon immediate notice. For example, last month or so at least 3 or more agents I submitted to--moved. One switched agencies, one started her own agency, and another left agenting altogether!
Simultaneously--Query Tracker adds new agents who are looking for submissions and it's a one-time fee of 25.00 for a premium membership. You can do a lot of submissions for free--but premium membership and its features is worth every last penny. Compare that with any written annual publication--no matter how comprehensive---- is kinda hard to ignore.
I just wish I knew the difference between Query Tracker and Agent Query.