Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Query Update ...

I'm querying a novel again, and you know, it's actually kind of fun. Well, except for the rejection part. That's not very fun. But it's not that bad. Here it is, by the numbers, so far:

52 queries sent
14 rejections based on the query alone
8 requests for partials or fulls
4 rejections of partials or fulls

I can only assume that some agents have already rejected the query, but just didn't respond. I hear that's a thing now, so the number of query rejections is most likely higher than that.

What do I make of all this?

First off, my query letter must be pretty good. Eight requests for partials or fulls is pretty good. And these are some very successful and large agencies in my genre. So I have no complaints there.

Second, this is a numbers game. I think it helps to keep that in perspective. There's no sense in getting tied up emotionally (if you can help it). Just send out as many as you can, and try to forget it. The Internet is an amazing resource for finding dozens of agents who represent any kind of book. I used www.agentquery.com, blasted out my queries in a three-day period, and that was it.

Finally, the rejections of the partials and fulls have been interesting. This book was originally rejected by a major publisher for lack of character development. The agent rejections have ranged from a simple "Thanks for letting me read it, but I'm passing" to more involved letters. I've heard "I just didn't connect with the character;" "The plot line doesn't feel fresh and contemporary;" and "I didn't find the writing very compelling." Ultimately, they all included some line about publishing being a subjective business and they hope I find representation elsewhere. Two have explicitly invited me to send my next project.

Which brings me to my point. I don't really have a feel for whether this book will sell or not. But I'm already deeply involved in the next project, so I'm not as emotionally invested in young Murph and his search for the toy maker. If he goes onto greater things, wonderful. If he doesn't, well, I have high hopes for Flynn ...

So speaking as someone who's deep in the query process, here's my single best of advice: ignore the process as much as possible and start on your next project ... I think the best thing you can do to make querying easier is to try to forget it's even happening.

9 comments:

Natasha Fondren said...

When I first started writing, I couldn't write at all while I was waiting to here from my little pubs. (Get out the violins, because I think the most I had to wait was a week, LOL.)

Now, I'm writing so fast I don't have time to think about it. That works for me, lol.

Natasha Fondren said...

Good luck, Jon! :-)

LurkerMonkey said...

Natasha,

Thanks! And yeah, when I first started querying, I used to send out three letters, then wait on each one on pins and needles. Ha ha! No more ...

Mark Terry said...

Based on those stats, I think you're doing great. Stick with it, you should pick up an agent.

LurkerMonkey said...

Mark,

I have a very favorite rejection so far ... Remember Rick Riordan's agent? I queried her, and my book opens with a mass-barfing scene (it's actually kind of an homage to Stand by Me barfing scene). She wrote back and said, "This is not the book for me. I could feel my gorge rising by the second page." He he.

But yeah, I'm not unhappy with the way it's going so far--although I'm far from convinced I'll end up with an agent after this if over. Maybe next book ...

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks for the update! I think I have the same attitude about querying and part of me wishes I was still sending them out. I didn't stop because I was discouraged -- I stopped because I decided the material wasn't ready.

Now I'm hoping I can be in your position in a couple more months with wip #2.

LurkerMonkey said...

Melanie,

That takes a cool head, to decide to stop querying like that. I'll definitely be rooting for you when it comes time for wip #2 ... I like the concept of it, if it's the book I'm thinking of.

Melanie Avila said...

Are you saying I'm cool?

;)

Nah, it was more like good advice from someone whose opinion I trust. I do plan to rework wip #1 at some point.

Erica said...

Those stats are impressive. I'm not to the querying stage yet, but looks like you have the right attitude :o)