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So Tell Me: Your Query Tactic

This is something I've wondered about for awhile but I always forget to blog about it.


What was/is/will be your course of query-action?


Specifically, did you query your top agents first?  Did you do any exclusives on the off-chance that your dream agent would want to take you on?  Did you hold off on querying favs in order to see how your query would do elsewhere first?   Or did you just query across the board and hope for the best?


Whatever your tactic, I'm curious!  How did you approach the monumental task of querying?  And, is there anything you regret or have learned that you'd like to share?  Please do!


Tyler said...

Yes to your first two questions. While it wasn't an official exclusive, I didn't say it was a multiple, and didn't query anyone else. Ended up being lots of waiting.

But once I started querying again, I went for the top-down approach. Here's why: If an agent you like but isn't Dream-Agent offers you representation, you're probably gonna leap at it. I would. BUT, what if Dream Agent would have also loved it? Never know.

The other thing I've learned, which is tough to adhere to, is not to shotgun query. Because you can learn lots from rejections, too. If you send out to several agents and get no bites at all, then maybe a query rewrite is in order. While if you shotgun query, you'll have wasted the opportunity to revise and query others on your list.

As in all things, patience is the ultimate skill required when you've reached the query game. It's a really frustrating, but really exciting process. One that I'm still actively involved in--although hopefully not for much longer. ;)

PurpleClover said...

I queried my fav agent as an exclusive and then found out that it is not necessary to do that unless they request an exclusive. some agents prefer this but usually they say so on their website.

After that I queried about a handful of my favs. I only go to reputable agents that I've heard of or can do research on. I want to know the agent I'm querying so that if I get a call I'm not like, "And WHO are you?"

Fran Caldwell said...

I research them well, choosing the ones who's voice (on their websites or blogs) sounds most like mine, because they
should empathize with my stories.

So far I've avoided those who don't take email queries, but that could change. One of my email submissions asked that the first three chapters, synopsis and bio, be mailed to her, which I found odd, but exciting.

I don't even pick the top ones, unless I've done it accidentally, not recognizing their prominence. I figure the bigger they are, the harder to get an unsolicited query onto their desk.

I do find the blogging agents very helpful, and new ones pop up all the time. You can really see there "voice" there.

Last, and this is a bit silly, I've mostly sent queries to New York agents because they're geographically convenient, in case they want to meet me. What an optimist I am!

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

top agents - 5 at a time. No exclusives on fulls or partials unless they asked and I had none out. a couple asked for exclusive fulls but I had to say it was already out. They wanted it anyway even if it was not on exclusive.

Casey Something said...

I love all your thoughts and comments. Querying from the top down definitely seems the best way to go, but it's also rather frightening.

As Tyler pointed out, there is a lot to learn from rejection, but it's unfortunate that you usually have to burn through your top agents to get there.

But, you never know unless you try, right?

Thanks everyone!