Novel Query Strategy

The first bath is away!

Most of the query advice around is what not to do, like mass emailing agents or sending them material they don’t take.  The only strategy I’ve read is:

1. Make a list of all the agents you want to query.

2. Divide them into three groups: Agents at the top of your list, agents in the middle, and the ones who are last.

3. Start submitting to the top names.

This is mine:

  1. Pick 3-5 names who take the genre.  In the case of this first submission, I chose them because they wanted the same materials submitted–query letter via snail mail.   The number of names picked is easy for me to handle in a weekend or over a couple of nights.
  2. Then I research each agent online–if they have a website, that’s where I go.  Preditors and Editors is, of course, also included for a quick check.
  3. I pick at least one more name to research, because I’ve likely discovered an agent is no longer taking submissions; stopping taking that genre; or the information was wrong.
  4. As I tick off the first agent’s research on my list, I make up the query letter.  I paste in the agent’s name from the website–no misspelling here!–as well as the address.
  5. Record what I’m sending on the idea map and do the printing.
  6. Away it goes!

What strategy do you do?

One thought on “Novel Query Strategy

  1. I agree to all of your steps. I have also made a list of my top choices, then the rest, and I pick one top and a couple from the rest. This is advice I got from Chuck Sambuchino (who writes Formatting and Submitting Your Manuscript and The Guide the Literary Agents): to see what the responses are to each batch of submissions and tweak your query accordingly–you don’t want to be rejected by all your top choices because you had a crappy query because they won’t consider you again for the same project. Once people start requesting material you know your query is at least working, then it’s up to your material.


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