September 18th, 2009


letters from the query wars

# of queries read this week: 161
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 0
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: N/A

Including the queries currently in the queue (there are some 400+ still pending review as of this writing), the number of queries received this year has now passed last year's total. With 3 1/2 months left of the year, this indicates there has been a roughly 30% increase in submissions at the query level. Boggle.

Statistics are all well and good, but they do not tell the whole story (just like many a synopsis). For instance, while submissions have increased, it may not have had the same level of effect on the number of manuscripts requested. Here may be some reasons why....

I have noticed more people are querying:

* Without having a finished and polished manuscript to show
* Before doing sufficient research into what the agent handles or explicitly is not interested in seeing
* Not even remotely following guidelines and supplying the information an agent needs to make an assessment

So, even though the number of queries has risen, the number of successful queries has not. On the agent side of things, this makes it harder to be efficient about responding to queries and tougher on the overall system with respect to pursuing submissions. For writers, this may be increasing the time for responses, or contributing to some agents closing queries or moving to a "no response means no" system simply due to sheer volume. And the real fly in the soup is that the queries that are following guidelines, written by those who are doing their homework and targeting specific agents, are in the same boat as those that do not.