Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Query Redux

In my zeal to share my brand new novel with the WORLD!!! I misinterpreted "cast a wide net" as "query a bunch of agents all at once."

No, I didn't actually do the whole "Dear Agent" with a million email addresses in the "To:" field. That seemed rude to me... I simply googled agents representing my genre, and on Monday I sent 10 queries, on Tuesday I sent another 10, on Weds... etc.

Only problem is, it seems my query wasn't so hot. I'm getting more form rejections than not, a bunch of non-responders, and one kind agent who directed me to the Heroman's guide. I did manage to score one partial request! But it's still pending.

My question is this: Of my sawed-off shotgun approach, there were about five "ideal agents," eight "perfect match" agents, and several "might like it" ones. And I'm thinking if I'd stumbled upon Nathan Bransford's extremely helpful blog sooner, I might've connected with at least one of the first 13. Maybe even more.

Is all this just too bad for me, or would an agent appreciate an introductory "I'm a dumbass, and would you mind if I tried this again" followed by an improved query? Or should I just go to my room with no supper? And if you say, try the "I'm a dumbass" reboot, how long should I wait? A month? Two? Six?
I'm sure some agents will feel you should just wait to query again on your next project. But others will be sympathetic to the humble "dumbass" approach-- as long as it's just ONCE.

So I guess I would suggest trying that, and sooner rather than later. Be sure to offer the agents the option of not responding to the re-query, if that's what their inclination is, so that it's clear that you know they're doing you a favor if they do consider the re-query. And I would also recommend assuring them that if in another month or two THIS query seems foolhardy and amateurish to you, you will NOT be querying a THIRD time.

7 comments:

Cannonwrites said...

Great question! As a follow up, what is the best strategy for sending out agent queries (assuming you've perfected the query letter and MS)? For example, do you send out to your top agents first, or send out to some second-string agents so you can fix any issues they spot before sending to your favorites? How many queries would you have out at once? Maybe five?

Thanks, EA! And Query Redux: good luck with that partial!

Lisa

Anonymous said...

Based upon my experience with my own learning curve, I'd advise not rushing to re-query. First, research queries and the querying process until most of what you're reading is stuff you already know. THEN re-query.

Kelly Wittmann said...

Well, I'd have to know how long this went on for-- how many days. Because frankly, 30 agents over three days does not seem that many to me, especially if this writer googled them and made sure they rep her genre. A lot of agents these days simply don't respond if they're not interested. A LOT. I wouldn't recommend re-querying the same agents, unless this writer is talking about hundreds and hundreds of agents. Just move on and query other agents.

Kate said...

My sympathies and good luck!

Amanda Crawford said...

Oh, I haven't done this... but I've probably done something equally simply-not-to-be-done that I will read about here soon and shudder....or maybe, hopefully, I will be saved from what I may be considering! I really enjoy this blog.

LTM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LTM said...

I made this mistake. Good news: my technique has improved, and I'm getting requests. We live in hope!

Cannonwrites, here's a link you might find interesting: http://agencygatekeeper.blogspot.com/2010/03/middle-way-new-method-of-timing-your.html

Good luck, guys~