Author Topic: Queries and Spam filters?  (Read 171 times)

Offline anwynnauthor

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Queries and Spam filters?
« on: July 13, 2020, 10:51:47 AM »
I've been querying my new mss for a few months, and I'm getting lots and lots of CNRs, way more than I have on previous bouts of querying where I got more responses, more requests, and wound up getting agents in the end (I parted ways with one because she lost interest after my manuscript failed to sell, and the other because though she still loves me after we couldn't sell a manuscript, she's not really into my new book or the new genre I'm writing in).

I only bring this up to let y'all know that this isn't my first go around, and while I'm no genius, I know my query doesn't suck, and I know my writing doesn't suck, so I'm wondering what's going on. And no, I definitely am not mentioning past failures in the query...

Then this morning I was reading the Query Shark blog, and on her list of Query Diagnostics for why you might not hear back she asks if the query letter contains any words that might trigger her Spam filter. I do have a few curse words in my early sample pages, not offensive in the context, but the words themselves are harsh. Could I actually be triggering some agents' spam filters? Is that a frequent thing, or am I just being paranoid and desperate?

Offline Tabris

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Re: Queries and Spam filters?
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2020, 11:37:01 AM »
My guess offhand is that if you haven't had spam-filter issues before, it probably isn't now either, but let's gather some data.

Check out a few of the agents you'd expected to hear from by now. LOok at their QueryTracker data. How long have they been taking to respond lately? Have they been C/NR frequently in recent months?

I would bet that just like most of us, a lot of agents are having pandemic malaise. A side effect of that might be that they're not getting to queries at all, or have shifted to not sending rejections because it's just easier. That's why I suggest looking at their request/rejection patterns since last March.

You said you changed genres. Are agents who represent this genre more likely to C/NR their queries?

Are agents recently taking MUCH longer to get to queries? You might not have gotten a rejection because they might not even ahve rejected you.

And finally, here's a test: search out a few agents who *always* send a rejection. Query just that batch with exactly the pages you've sent prior. Especially fast rejectors. See how many of those come back with a rejection. That should tell you whether the queries are getting through. If you only hear back from three of five, for example, you may want to rethink your strategy for the opening pages. (Note: you can change them for the query process and leave the unchanged version in the real manuscript.)

Good luck!

Offline anwynnauthor

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Re: Queries and Spam filters?
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2020, 12:58:09 PM »
Excellent advice, Tabris, thanks!