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Query or Sample pages?


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#1 Erevos

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 07:58 AM

I know of course that a good query can definitely help, but aren't sample pages more important?

 

So far I've sent out 10 queries and had 7 "NO". The first 5 I knew they were gonna fail, since I realized I had many mistakes in my MS after I pressed that SEND button...but the last 2 I had high hopes for.

 

Now, my query isn't the best, but it's not bad either. I have 2 POV/MC (One old man and one young boy) and I wrote the query from the pov of the old man, mainly because I couldn't write stakes from the perspective of the young boy, at least not without delving too deep into the story.

 

The question of whether my query works or not has been gnawing at me for quite a while... (Of course sometimes both the query and the writing work, but an agent isn't simply interested.)

 

On the other hand, out of the 7 rejections, 2 were personalized. They both read the prologue and told me exactly why they weren't drawn into the story. So does that mean that the query kinda...works?

 

Btw, the first 4 agents who said no read the prologue, and the other 3 read the 1st Chapter.. I decided to take Janer Reid's advise and skip the prologue until that partial/full request comes.

 

 


My Query http://agentquerycon...a-high-fantasy/ Let me know if you want me to look at yours. Will happily do so.


#2 lnloft

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 09:52 PM

You know, this is the problem of being in so subjective a field, that even on something like this, there's no hard and firm answer. So much is going to depend on the agent. But I would hazard that for the agents who want you to submit the sample pages along with your query, the query still takes precedence. So if your query just sounds unappealing, they won't even bother looking at your pages.

 

Now, I would also guess that pages can make or break a query that's borderline. If they're a solid "maybe" on it, but the pages look good, then they'll want more, but if the pages don't appeal, they'll pass.

 

Seven rejections isn't time to panic yet, though, especially when you recognize your mistake on five of them. Querying can be a long, arduous process, and having a thick skin is a requisite. However, if you are having doubts about your query, then it might not hurt to revisit it, and see if there is anything you can shore up. Obviously I can't tell you what about your stuff, whether it's the query or the pages, that's not catching the agents' attention, although honestly it's probably a bit of both. But, again, you're not exactly in despair-mode yet with the rejections. And remember, it only takes one agent to make it all worth the while.


Nothing to reciprocate on right now; I'm off in the query trenches.


#3 WWP

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 11:00 PM

Due to the reason that there are possibly hundreds of thousands of us hopeful writers out there attempting to entice agents to take a chance on their work, I went into it expecting dozens of rejections (to include those agents queried who use the WRII (will respond if interested) method. With my book I've queried 57 agents. 15 have responded with a rejection. I'm still waiting for the rest. Thankfully I'm rather thick skinned to rejections (that's why I still persist).  I'm quite aware that not everyone has the same tastes as me and all the others who have actually read my book. But all the same, it's not easy getting a no from just one, much less dozens.  Just hang in there. Just as Inloft said, all it takes is one agent to make it all worth while.



#4 Erevos

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 08:49 AM

Thank you both for your responses! They give me strength!!

 

Any yes 7 NO isn't a big deal... I was reading today that some of the most successful writers had to endure a year or even more of constant rejections before finally finding that 1 agent..

I guess I need to develop that thick skin everyone's saying  :happy:  Perhaps I'll try and see if there is anything I can do to improve the query...though, it wa such a relief when I finally said, "It's ready."


My Query http://agentquerycon...a-high-fantasy/ Let me know if you want me to look at yours. Will happily do so.


#5 Niambi

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Posted 16 December 2017 - 02:54 PM

Ten/Fifty-seven queries.

One year of rejections.

 

Welcome friend!

 

I was at a good 27 or so rejections before I realized all of my work needed improvement.  And by improvement i don't mean grammar.  I basically had to trash and rewrite my entire work.

 

That was almost two or three years ago.

 

Starting to get some traction now though.

 

Stick in and sadly inloft is correct.  It's such a subjective field that you may never know what anyone thinks or if what they think actually applies.  

 

For me, changing my comps was all it took to start getting requests from agents.  



#6 Nessa

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Posted 16 December 2017 - 08:17 PM

Welcome to the game. :) Take it slow, and write another novel while you query.
 
I recommend you query in small rounds.10-15 queries in one batch. Wait until you can close all of them out. If you have no positive responses, take a step back and consider revising your materials. Then send another 10-15 out. Rinse and repeat.
 
There will be times you don't want to revise, and that's fine, but if you reach 40 queries with no requests and no personalized feedback, you should consider getting CPs on your project.
 
Also, be prepared for responses to come after 100+ days. My longest time to get a rejection was 158 days. My longest time to get a full request was 123 days.
 
I also want to highlight what Niambi said about comps. Make sure they are good â€‹comps, published within the past 3 years and not outliers (crazy sales or big screen adaptations).

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#7 Erevos

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 08:51 AM

Thank you for your responses!

 

Comps is something that troubles me a lot. I try to find novels similar to mine, but it's not always easy... Also sometimes a comp - in my opinion - can have negative results if the agents didn't like that book at all.

 

If anyone can suggest a comp, please do! My novel is high fantasy, people born blessed with magic while others are commoners. My MC is a commoner trying to prove himself inside a Guild of blessed men, then his past resurfaces...etc etc

 

 

Editing: Perhaps I should make a new thread asking about comp? Hm...


My Query http://agentquerycon...a-high-fantasy/ Let me know if you want me to look at yours. Will happily do so.


#8 Nessa

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 12:14 PM

Comps can be your rising or downfall. :D But I firmly believe in them. When I started querying, I experimented with comps. Sometimes I used them. Sometimes I didn't. I never got requests without them. Once I mentioned The Young Elites and The Darkest Part of the Forest, I started getting interest. They don't match my book exactly, but they're comps because of story elements, like theme, setting, and plot devices.
 
If you're worried about the agent not liking the comps (and not because they're outliers), then don't query them. I adore TYE and TDPotF. If an agent is worse than neutral regarding them, I wouldn't want her.
 
I don't read a lot of Adult Fantasy, so I don't have any suggestions. Look at what you've read and search for common themes, settings, character types, etc.
 
"[TITLE] will appeal to fans of the magic system in X and the underdog story in Y."
 
"[TITLE] fuses the magic system of X with that of Y."
 
:) I hope this helps!

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#9 smithgirl

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Posted 22 December 2017 - 07:49 PM

Re comps, in my experience they make no difference one way or the other. I queried a book with no comps (I had a hard time thinking of any). After I'd been already been querying for a bit I read a new book that was a great comp and added it to the query, but my request rate stayed the same (very low). Then I read a second book that was a good comp, and I added that, too. Still no difference.

 

Both the comps were very recent, sold very well -- one was a finalist for the Man Booker.

 

So I queried the same book with no, one, or two comps -- no difference. I've had three requests for another book (still waiting to hear back), with a query that has no comps.



#10 Erevos

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Posted 25 December 2017 - 04:14 PM

Good to know!!

 

I'm thinking of dropping a movie in depending on the agent or something like "Inspired by..."

Many advise against, but I've read a lot of successful queries who used movies or even video games and had no issues!

 

Happy holidays btw! :)


My Query http://agentquerycon...a-high-fantasy/ Let me know if you want me to look at yours. Will happily do so.





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