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!
Give time in-between submissions, and check what each magazine is looking for and when. However, I would suggest making small tweaks to the story each time for a different flavor or feel. Too many submissions close together can signal being desperate.
Ah, thank you. Great point.
Thanks for the answers ladies! You are a treasure of knowledge!
I am loving this thread of posts because I have just received twelve rejections in the past month. I've sent out twenty queries thus far. My novel is long - 200,000 words - but it's been edited and copy edited by freelance professionals and I've received great critiques from the few people I've selected as independent readers. Although I know rejections are the norm, I'm feeling so down about it. I still have a list of 100+ agents to contact - I've been working through the Writer's Digest Guide to Literary Agents - but wow. For email queries, I've gotten replies within two weeks. They're all standard rejection forms, which kind of stink because they don't indicate what may be wrong - query, plot, length, wrong agent, etc. I'd love to know why my book is being rejected.
That is a length most publishers won't accept, especially from a 1st time author. Half that at 100,000 words, is a possibility, but unless you are proven, have a built in audience, the cost of a 200,000 word novel is too expensive to risk on a newbie.
If you can break it up into 2 novels, you may stand a better chance.
I agree with you, Shawn. I have chosen to break up my novel in two, cause, I'm a 1st time author.
Shawn, In the beginning I only sent out three queries. My strategy was to see if all three said the same thing. If one liked my work and the other didn't, the third agent would be a tie breaker. I spent 25 years in traditional publishing and had a total of 4 agents. I ended up selling my first book myself and my first legal thriller when my agent didn't want me to try that genre over women's fiction. If I were you, I would try AgentQuery.com. I love that site. You can get an almost instant reply from some of them. If they ask you to submit, you're still looking at a wait but at least you know there is interest.
Allison, You may want to rethink your novel's length. Publisher have length guidelines for a number of reasons. At a certain point what they can charge for a book won't meet the production costs of a very long book - unless you're a big name. They gang print books (run a lot on the same press run so they all should be about the same length) and bookstores have display units that are made to hold multiples of a book of a certain size. If you're oversized they may only be able to carry 2 of your books rather than 4 of a 100,000 wd. book.
Could you break it down into two books of a series? Series are doing great with digital customers (and a traditional publisher wants to maximize digital rights as traditional distribution falls). While my stand alone books are doing well, my witness series has been on the top 25 legal thrillers both U.S. and U.K. since December. I am stunned by the response to a series.
If there is a natural break in your 200,000 word novel, creating two books might make it much more attractive to agents/publishers. LOL, sorry, this is a novel! Sorry but hope it helps a little.
Thanks for the advice, Rebecca, but I don't need an agent, I'm already published with 6 books out. I had agent who got me the 1st contract, the rest I've done myself since my publisher passed on the rest of my fantasy series to go in another direction.
LOL, Shawn. I thought I was writing to Danielle and Alison in a general message. I am so sorry. I've been doing the same thing. Publisher passed on the rest of the series and now it's going great guns. There's a lot to be said for going Indie. It's been a wild ride but it's been great. So sorry, again. I have to look and see how I do a general response. Have a great writing day!
lol No, problem. I thought you might have gotten the names mixed up.:)
Heck, I spend half my life mixed-up. Nice to have people out there who understand!
Hey, I'm over 50 - I can give some leeway where memory is concerned. :D