Author Topic: Query Trenches Struggles :/  (Read 774 times)

Offline djl43516

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Query Trenches Struggles :/
« on: August 30, 2021, 03:23:25 PM »
Hi all, I hope everyone is well and healthy.

I've just made this account looking for some peace of mind and reassurance, or a reality check maybe. Lol I'm unsure. I've been querying for about 3 weeks; my book is YA fantasy.

When I started querying, I was quite happy to get a partial request from one of my dream agents, and then another partial shortly thereafter. Since then, though, I've gotten a string of consistent rejections that are really just making me spiral (including a rejection on one of the partials, which came this morning). Now I'm at about 2 requests and 14 rejections for a request rate of 12.5%.

Disclaimer, I know YA fantasy as a market is saturated as heck, and my book is fairly long at 105K, but I'd just like to hear some thoughts about whether or not I should be freaking out or even mildly worrying...a little over a week ago I was pretty optimistic, because once I had my second partial request I had a request rate of about 25%...and now I'm down to half that.

Offline Mentha piperita

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Re: Query Trenches Struggles :/
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2021, 05:24:36 PM »
I don't know whether to tell you to be hopeful, but I can tell you that you're doing better than I am, statistically, and I'm feeling discouraged too. I had a few more rejections and started querying two years ago (with a long hiatus of not querying). I got a full and a partial request as part of my first batch of 5 queries. I had another partial leading to full request from a conference, but I'm not really counting that. All ultimately passed. I queried another 5, rejected, then stopped querying. Since I've started up again I've queried 10 and heard only crickets and rejections.

Have you changed your query package at all? I rewrote my query to "improve" it, and think I'll go back to the one that got the requests.

Mine is adult fantasy.

If I hadn't gotten that interest at the very beginning, I'd probably have lost interest by now. I'm wondering if the market is different now, but that doesn't apply to you, since your requests were recent. So keep going!

Offline AVA_writing

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Re: Query Trenches Struggles :/
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2021, 06:42:33 PM »
I just posted my stats under Literary Agents in the Revise and Resubmit discussion. I attended a workshop that basically said if you aren't biting at 25% for a full or partial, something is really off. I have not been able to get to 25%, but will say the feedback from the R&R has been extremely helpful on what is not working.  Keep at it. See what feedback you can get and work on another piece to take your mind off the timelines.
Good luck!

Offline lemur

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Re: Query Trenches Struggles :/
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2021, 04:35:33 AM »
As someone who just sent my 99th query (also with a YA fantasy), with nothing in response but form-rejections and silence, I have to say I envy your two partial requests. At least that shows there's *something* in your query package that might spark some interest. It's taken me about a year to rack up 99 queries; I do one or two every few days after researching the agent and trying to adjust my query letter a bit to tailor it to their interests. At this point, I have to admit to myself that, as AVA_writing points out, "something is really off" with either my letter or manuscript (probably both). Believing in yourself and your book is important, but so is accepting the "feedback" from the system (even if that feedback is just the aggregated data of zero out of a hundred agents showing any interest). I do still like some of my own ideas, so I guess the next step is to step back from querying and try to diagnose and solve some of the problems. And yes, I realize I should have figured that out months ago, but sending one more query is just always so much easier than buckling down and planning a major re-write.

djl43516, for what it may be worth, and you've probably heard this elsewhere, I have heard that the ideal word count for a YA debut would be well under 100k. Mine is 81,000. Of course there are examples of longer books that get published, some of which become wildly successful. If you do decide to think about making changes before continuing to query, that might be one thing to consider; on the other hand, I'm hardly the person to be giving you advice, with my 0% request rate... anyway, djl43516, I really hope you do keep trying (whether with or without changing anything); if you've gotten two partials already, I feel like the right agent is definitely out there for you somewhere!

Offline djl43516

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Re: Query Trenches Struggles :/
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2021, 10:54:00 AM »
Thank you guys all so much for your kind words. I suffer from severe anxiety so the querying process is just the worst for me...I am working on a new project though, about 12K in, so I probably should just get back to writing that.

I haven't revamped my query package yet, mainly because I don't think my query is the issue; from my research, it seems like a few agents currently have my initial query in their maybe pile, having liked the query enough to read the sample pages but not having had time to do so yet. And actually yes, lemur, my word count used to be higher lol. It's a high fantasy, though, and I've pitched it to some as a queer, women-led, YA Game of Thrones with witches...so I'm hoping the comp will help agents swallow the word count.

I think you've all made me reconsider, for sure, though. Thanks for helping me calm down a bit :emb: I've heard about the 25% request rate being the goal as well, but I think that's pretty idealistic to shoot for. There are so many factors that drive how your pitch finally does when you send it out, including genre, word count, what mood the agent is in when they read it, etc...people can get signed with any request rate. I've just got to keep heart. Right?  :koolaid: