When do you (personally) query?

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When do you (personally) query?

Post by klbritt » September 3rd, 2012, 1:29 am

I'm thinking I've just about polished my query letter for The Phoenix and was wondering when you (personally) begin to send out queries. My first draft is complete, and I'm just about to begin my edits and rewrites. I plan on doing the first round of edits and then handing off the MS to a few readers to preview. Then when I get the feedback, go one more round of edits and then begin querying.

I've started a list of potential agents to query on Querytracker.net and also wonder how many agents do you (personally) query at a time. I know that the typical response time is anywhere from 2 hours to no response at all. That being said, is it best to query a handful of agents at at time and then begin again if you get no response or rejections? Or would you go ahead and query 100 agents (okay, maybe not that many) and see if you can land one?

In case you want to read/critique my query: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=5249

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Re: When do you (personally) query?

Post by Sanderling » September 4th, 2012, 11:55 am

Your plan sounds like a good one. I start querying when I reach the point where I'm ready to set my MS aside and move on to the next one, when I feel like I've made all the big changes that need making and mostly all that's left is tweaking words here and there. It is so tempting to start querying before that. But if you have a particularly prompt agent write back two hours after you send your query saying "please send me the full!", you don't want to keep them waiting around while you frantically make changes (not to mention, those changes are probably going to feel rushed, to the reader).

I've heard different strategies for querying, but the one I see most often repeated is to query in batches, with each batch containing a few of your dream agents, 2nd-tier agents, and 3rd-tier agents. Send out maybe six or ten, then see what you request rate is. If you don't get any requests, tweak your query to try to make it stronger and send out another batch. Repeat as needed. That way you don't end up querying all 100 agents with a query that later turns out to have some flaw or that agents aren't responding to for some reason. But if your first batch has a really great response rate, then you can use the query to send out to the rest of your list.
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Re: When do you (personally) query?

Post by Shipple » September 7th, 2012, 9:41 pm

I completely agree with Sanderling on when and how to query, but I'll add a little of my personal experience to it.

I started querying my current novel after my third draft, but I wasn't getting any hits, so I decided to do a fourth draft. So now I have a better novel, but all those query letters I sent out last year are to agents I can't go back to b/c I've already queried them for this manuscript. So that's sad. Fortunately, it wasn't terribly many, but it was a few dream agents.

Now I'm querying in batches, and I've just re-written my query letter after my second batch. I'm not completely certain it's a stronger query letter, but my first batch didn't get any hits, so I'll try this and see.

I've definitely looked back at old query letters (that I had spent a lot of time on) and thought "I can't believe that's what I sent out!" So definitely don't blow all your most hoped for agents in one batch of querying! You never know how you'll feel about your query letter down the road.
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Re: When do you (personally) query?

Post by breathe » September 7th, 2012, 10:35 pm

I'm not even anywhere close to thinking about querying. Honestly, I don't even understand all that stuff because I'm still on Step A :|
I always assumed that I would 1st draft, revise, reviese, revise x million, go through CP's, revise again, CP's, revise again. Then Query.

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