Query Cycles

Submission protocol, query etiquette, and strategies that work
Post Reply
User avatar
christi
Posts: 166
Joined: January 31st, 2010, 3:54 pm
Location: Texas
Contact:

Query Cycles

Post by christi » February 12th, 2010, 12:27 pm

So, an agent recently posted that agents go in cycles. Sometimes all they do is read queries and look for something from the slush pile. Other times they ignore queries totally and work on submitted manuscripts, hash out contracts, meet with editors, etc. This is disheartening, but also enlightening. I wonder if there are other cycles. Is Monday a bad day to query? Maybe they just got a hundred queries over the weekend. Is Friday a bad day to query? Maybe they just want to get out of the office early and don't have time to browse the latest offerings. Or maybe there is no good or bad day because their list is long, and it doesn't matter if you queried on Tuesday because they might not see it until two Fridays from then. I suppose each agent is different when it comes to how quickly they go through their slush pile. One even said she 'dumps' every once in a while and deletes them all without reading them. SCARY. Any thoughts, anyone?
Would you sign my story for a Klondike bar?

http://christigoddard.blogspot.com/

User avatar
maybegenius
Posts: 349
Joined: December 7th, 2009, 4:49 pm
Location: Northern California
Contact:

Re: Query Cycles

Post by maybegenius » February 12th, 2010, 1:47 pm

I think it probably does us little good to fret about these things, lol. That's the worst part about sending our work out - once it's out there, we have so little control over what happens with it. I think that's probably why so many of us try to crack the secret code of when the "right" time to query is. We're trying to reassert a teensy bit of control over what happens with our work. Unfortunately, I don't think there's ever a "right" time. Outside of the advice not to query around Christmas, anyway!

I'd stick with the advice in one of Nathan's recent posts: don't query every agent on your list at once - query them in batches. Yes, you might hit a few agents during a "bad time" and they may not pay as close attention to your query as they normally would, but there's no way to predict that, so we just have to go with it :)

Which is HORRIBLY difficult, I know!
aka S.E. Sinkhorn, or Steph

My Blog | My Twitter | YA!Flash Tumblr

Represented by Michelle Andelman of Regal Literary

User avatar
JustineDell
Posts: 293
Joined: January 15th, 2010, 11:38 am
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: Query Cycles

Post by JustineDell » February 16th, 2010, 10:07 am

Tuesday seems pretty safe to me. Don't cha think? I hope so, cuz I sent three queries today, making my grand total at five. I'll stop there and wait for the embarasssing rejections to come along before I go further.

~JD

http://www.justine-dell.blogspot.com/

"Three things in life that, once gone, never return; Time, Words, & Opportunity"

kristi
Posts: 81
Joined: December 7th, 2009, 11:40 pm
Contact:

Re: Query Cycles

Post by kristi » February 16th, 2010, 1:12 pm

I read that same agent post but realized I'm not quite ready to submit. I believe that when you're sure you're ready to query, you'll find the right agent for your work. I'm not ready yet so I've decided not to worry about cycles. That's my new zen query approach. :)

r louis scott
Posts: 118
Joined: December 14th, 2009, 7:36 pm
Contact:

Re: Query Cycles

Post by r louis scott » February 16th, 2010, 11:01 pm

christi, I saw that too. The timing is perfect for me, but by the time she gets to mine how many will she have looked at already? And maybe she just got back from lunch so she's just a little bit tired and groggy and just kind of hits the DELETE key out of the monotony of it all.

I'll tell you what, I'm going to try and time my submission for when she first gets to the office after a great night's sleep and is just as perky and excited as can be about finding her next new talent. I've got the email all set to go, I'm just waiting for the right moment to hit "send" ;)

User avatar
christi
Posts: 166
Joined: January 31st, 2010, 3:54 pm
Location: Texas
Contact:

Re: Query Cycles

Post by christi » February 17th, 2010, 5:46 pm

lol RLS. Yeah, I sent to her. She totally booted me after three days. Le sigh. No one wants my crazy book.
Would you sign my story for a Klondike bar?

http://christigoddard.blogspot.com/

Ghost in the Machine
Posts: 89
Joined: January 26th, 2010, 10:20 am
Contact:

Re: Query Cycles

Post by Ghost in the Machine » February 22nd, 2010, 9:04 pm

Hi Christi,

This query process is such a beast. I feel like I’m in a pitch-black room throwing query-darts randomly without knowing upon which wall the target is posted. For all I know the target’s on the ceiling.

I think we should lobby for a Query-Relief Act. Here’s my plan for agents who give form responses. These agents, or their assistants, would grade each query with A, B, or C.

A – This isn’t ready for prime time. Revise, rework, or give it a proper burial in a trunk.

B – This may be publishable, but I’m not interested. Proceed on your query-quest.

C – The demons in hell are in need of ice-skates. Please send a partial/full manuscript.

Aspiring authors everywhere would be praying for C’s. It would be great!

Who’s with me?

Ghost in the Machine

User avatar
christi
Posts: 166
Joined: January 31st, 2010, 3:54 pm
Location: Texas
Contact:

Re: Query Cycles

Post by christi » February 22nd, 2010, 9:15 pm

That would be so awesome Ghost. It'd really help us know if we suck or are just not finding interested agents.
Would you sign my story for a Klondike bar?

http://christigoddard.blogspot.com/

User avatar
Nathan Bransford
Posts: 1382
Joined: December 4th, 2009, 11:17 pm
Location: New York, NY
Contact:

Re: Query Cycles

Post by Nathan Bransford » March 1st, 2010, 6:45 pm

christi wrote:So, an agent recently posted that agents go in cycles. Sometimes all they do is read queries and look for something from the slush pile. Other times they ignore queries totally and work on submitted manuscripts, hash out contracts, meet with editors, etc. This is disheartening, but also enlightening. I wonder if there are other cycles. Is Monday a bad day to query? Maybe they just got a hundred queries over the weekend. Is Friday a bad day to query? Maybe they just want to get out of the office early and don't have time to browse the latest offerings. Or maybe there is no good or bad day because their list is long, and it doesn't matter if you queried on Tuesday because they might not see it until two Fridays from then. I suppose each agent is different when it comes to how quickly they go through their slush pile. One even said she 'dumps' every once in a while and deletes them all without reading them. SCARY. Any thoughts, anyone?
I try to stay as even as possible and not have cycles where I request more than I otherwise would and cycles where I am stricter. But at the same time, human nature is human nature. When I happen to have a ton of manuscripts waiting for me in the inbox it's inevitable to grow a bit cautious about requesting more.

But for authors querying, there's really nothing you can do about it. Just avoid the weeks around major holidays and I wouldn't query if you know an agent is out of the office (because they're facing a deluge when they return). Otherwise you just have to leave it to fate.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest