Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Query Strategies--The Batch Method

For those who wish to pursue the traditional path to publication, it often involves finding an agent who will, in turn, submit your work to editors at publishing houses. In order to find an agent, one must send out query letters. The purpose of my Wednesday Query Critique Giveaway (which I swear I'm getting back to next week) is to help people polish their queries before they send them out into the world. If you're at the stage where you're ready to query, and have carefully researched agents using sites such as Querytracker and AgentQuery, here's why I'm a proponent of sending queries out in batches of 3-5 (aka The Batch Method):

1) If you don't get any responses other than form rejections or the sound of chirping crickets, your query likely needs work. The good news is that since you only sent out a few queries, you haven't used up all your top picks at once.

2) If you get partial requests off the bat, then you know your query doesn't suck, BUT that's all it means (sorry, harsh but true). Wait and see what happens. If the partial requests are all rejected, then it means the book didn't live up to the query. Take any personalized feedback to heart and work on the book again before sending out more queries. Again, because you're using the batch method, you still have a ton more agents to query.

3) If the partial requests turn into full requests, then you should do a little happy dance because it's definitely a step in the right direction. I'd also recommend sending queries to any remaining top choices if you haven't already because things can move pretty quickly at this point. Some people recommend waiting until you actually have an offer of representation and then dashing off queries to any remaining top picks, but that feels icky to me. If you've done your research, you should only be querying agents that you feel confident about in the first place.

Has anyone used this method? Any other tips people would like to share about querying? 

Happy Querying! And I'll be back with Query Critique Wednesday next week.

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