Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Query questions

I will admit, I don't have much today. In fact, I haven't had much to talk about in weeks. Okay, little things here or there, but that's about it. There will be those moments where I come up with something awesome that requires a little research and then life takes over. I've been writing when I can over the blog, as you know. I really want to query this story by the fall, and then revise my first one in the hopes to query that one day too.

Now on to my stupid questions:

Have you queried two stories at once?

Not that I am. I'm just curious. Both of these will not be ready at the same time,  so if I did query both, one would come later. I know it can and has been done, but the thought of it makes my head dizzy. I'll be lucky to query one this year.

I'm probably getting ahead of myself with these questions, but I'm a curious bugger.

How do you list the agents you want to query?

Do you query your top choices last?

Any other query tidbits you would like to share?

On another note--go over to Ann Best's blog. It is launch day for her book, In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets. Go check it out.

Have a great day! I'm keepin' it short.


  1. I found QueryTracker incredibly helpful when searching for compatible agents, and also for keeping track of who had what--queries, partials, fulls, and the status of each.

    For me, I have never had two books out at once (even when I was agent searching) because I always had something that was 'the strongest', and so that is what I went with. :)

    Good luck on the querying trail, Christine!

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  2. I think the advice I've read is to go with the one that is the strongest. When I group the agents, I don't put all the agents that I think are best in the first group b/c what if my query still needs work? And my best advice is not to query too soon! :)

  3. Sometimes I wonder how I can keep "ideas" flowing for my blog! And time to do it all, especially when I want to write another book. Just keep your own writing going.

    Since I landed my memoir with only one query, I haven't a lot to say about querying and landing an agent. I did query some agents a while back. Got one nibble at the first 50 pages. As we all know, it's a long, discouraging process. To come up with A Plan/A List would be most helpful I would think. And I hear others talking about Query Tracker.

    Short post is sweet. Now you get busy with writing/life!

    And thanks so much for your kindness in recognizing my launch day. This is a new and exciting experience for me. I wish this experience for all of my Blogger/Writing friends!!
    Ann Best, Memoir Author

  4. I've never queried two stories at one either, but I'd go with the one that is strongest.

    As for listing agents, I have them all on Query Tracker. I can research them from QT 9or any other blogs etc) and add them to my list. I also have A, B, C lists of agents, too.

    As for sending queries (when I do) I'm going to break mine up. I'll send a query to hand handful of agents (one from each list) and see how that goes.

  5. I agree with Lindsay, though I use QT more for research. I keep an Excel spreadsheet of agents and rank them by best fit and sales record. Those in my middle category have good reputations but their taste isn't clear from my research.

    I've sent in batches of 5-6 so that I can make course adjustments without burning through the whole list. As rejections come in, I change the agent ranking to D and resort the list in Excel. That way I have a record of who I've sent without having that data getting in the way. The rejections are bumped to the bottom and I can focus on the existing leads.

  6. I have queried two different books at once (quite by accident I assure you) and am now waiting on partials for both. (This is kind of scary.)

    Anyway, the way I've always queried is:

    1)Go to QueryTracker and make a handwritten list of all the agents you want to query who take your genre. (This is important. Just b/c you want to query Janet Reid, if she doesn't take your genre, don't.)

    2)Then go to the websites for said agent and read their bio's and submission requirements and their addresses and write that down.

    3)When the list is finished (you should probably end up with 50 or so) group the agents into categories of A-B-C. A = dream agents (ones you would like to have dinner with) B = great agents (ones you want to have lunch with) C = really good agents (ones you could probably meet for drinks or coffee)

    4)When ready to query, grab your list and pick 3 from the A's, 3 from the B's, and 3 from the C's and send them out. You'll be playing the field and still have enough leftover to keep A's and B's on the list.

    5)If you get no hits on the first batch of 9, rework the query. Then send out to the second batch of 9. If still no hits, then rinse and repeat.

    Also, before you send out the query, have trusted writer friends take a look at it, that DO NOT write in your genre. They will be unbiased with feedback. If you have any questions, you know where to find me.

  7. I'll be quick since my methods have already been mentioned.

    1. Query Tracker for research
    2. Excel spreadsheet for organizing all the details.

    Excel and then folders for sent queries are great for organizing. I think being organized is the key. I can go back and see who I queried, when and with what version of my letter.

  8. I was going to be in this situation soon. I had one book out that I was querying, but I love my WIP so much (as did my CPs) that I felt I should query it first (it will be finished by the end of next month). So I stopped querying the other book (which I wanted to revisit due to comments from a few agents). I did get the call (which I'll be blogging about once I give her my answer), but I really want my WIP to be my first project (which I feel is stronger), and she only wanted to represent the other book and then stop repping fiction (so you can guess what my answer will be.). ;)

    I don't place all my top choices first, but after this one experience, I'm going to change how I approach querying for the next book.

  9. I have not queried 2 things at once, but i won't rule it out. I started with my midlist agents, and then when i got some good bites and slowly started querying my more "top picks" agents.

  10. I started with my top publishers first and worked my way down the list. Ironically, queries is the topic for this Friday's FFW posts. One of my FFW partners might provide some great tips.

  11. You can totally query more than one story at a time. Go for it! I use QueryTracker to help me organize my agent lists. But I'm not very good or into ordering them, like with favorites or whatever.