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Author Topic: Query and Other Writing Help  (Read 1860 times)
Carmen
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« on: September 19, 2017, 12:13:42 PM »

Hi! Smiley I have now been querying for about six months. My stats so far: out of about 76 letters sent, I have had a partial and a full. Most of the rest have been rejections, though some I closed out due to no response.

I'm not sure if these stats are normal. My query was graded by all you lovely people. I guess what I'm wondering is, should I post my synopsis, first chapter, etc. for peer review, keep going the way I have, or just query a new project? I have been working on a novel that I'll be done writing soon, and I'm not sure, but I think it may be more marketable than the one I'm querying now.

Please let me know your thoughts. I welcome any suggestions.
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Sarah Ahiers (Falen)
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« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2017, 02:35:16 PM »

a 10% request rate is generally considered good. So you're pretty far below that.

How many more agents are on your list? It's probably worth looking at your query again, but at this point, I think the majority of your energy should be going toward a new manuscript
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Carmen
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« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2017, 03:33:00 PM »

I have about 21 agents I'm still waiting on. I was thinking of maybe getting some beta readers to look at my manuscript also, if that would be helpful. I kind of hate to shelf one project while I can still fix it up some.
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Drachen
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« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2017, 10:10:49 PM »

As Sarah says, 10% is lowish, anything much lower and you've got serious problems.

If you've queried that many, you must have had lots where you sent only a query. So... IMO the query is A problem. But lots of agents at least glance at the first page if the query isn't horrible. So... probably there are other issues.

The community here is nice, but I find in general they're a little too heavily weighted toward encouragement over criticism. If you want criticism over encouragement, AbsoluteWrite is a good alternative. I'll go see if I can find your query now and give it an eye.
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Carmen
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« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2017, 10:23:50 PM »

A lot of my rejections have been from agents who have said it's not right for their list at this time, it's a subjective business, etc. Not sure if that means anything.
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Drachen
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« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2017, 11:31:03 PM »

Form letters. All it means is, "no".

In general, unless the agent specifically mentions something about your book other than the title, it's a form.
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mgmystery
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« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2017, 07:17:11 AM »

Carmen, is your current manuscript MG or YA? You might be interested in this if you'd consider revising with a mentor. http://authormentormatch.com/
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Curious Author
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« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2017, 02:40:42 PM »

I vote that you put all of your energy into the new MS. Get beta readers for the new MS, get the query as polished as possible, and then go out with a new round of queries. Do it in small batches so that you can gauge if the query's working.
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Carmen
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« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2017, 04:52:04 PM »

I may take your advice. Thanks much.  Smiley
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gckatz
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« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2017, 01:11:12 AM »

Go ahead and lay both your pages and your query on us and we can give you our best guess of wherein the problem lies.
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Munley
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« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2017, 07:27:20 AM »

The one piece of unheeded advice that several of us have given over the past year or two was for you to offer critiques on other people's queries and writing samples.

There are some things that are learned only by noticing for yourself what another writer is doing well or ineffectively. Critiquing other people's work -- not just posting your own work for feedback -- helps with resolving problems pointed out in the extensive feedback you have received. It is part of the homework you need to do for yourself, that no one can do for you.

Your work keeps getting the same things pointed out every time you return to QT:

1) -- the need to single out a clear protagonist. Whose story is it?

2) -- the need to include specifics (not just vague assertions)

3) -- the need for a protagonist who is not passively waiting to have everything taken care of for them.
If a protagonist doesn't have something they'd be willing to go to the ends of the earth for, there is no overriding basic question that the reader wants to know the answer to -- will the protagonist manage --by their own wits and actions -- to reach that end?

On the plus side, you have a pretty good command of grammar and sentence structures.

You ask where to go from here -- whether to post this or that for feedback.
Unless you take advantage of the opportunity to analyze with some depth what works well and not so well in other people's queries, you are unlikely to solve the 3 problems above in your own work. And you'll keep getting the same 3 things pointed out in your work.

So my answer to your question about where to go from here -- given your stats -- is to learn more by critiquing other people's work. Also, looking at examples of published writing in your genre of historical fiction.

Lots of people here -- including me -- have had to address similar problems. You can see how they've managed it or have improved by implementing useful feedback.

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Carmen
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« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2017, 12:43:08 PM »

Okay, I will spend some time critiquing others' work and queries. Thanks.
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deutschlandchick
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« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2017, 06:25:09 PM »

what genre? the success rate depends on genre...like: literary fiction has a why lower percentage of success than YA or Fantasy....the other day, I talked to someone that send out 200 queries before he got a full request...that full request turned into a contract...NEVER GIVE UP!
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