Pub Writes

About the publishing Industry, editorials, and reviews

Posts Tagged ‘queries’

2016 Query Statistics

Posted by Caitie F on August 18, 2016

I have been neglecting this poor blog far too much this year, because it has been such a busy year!

I am going to try to be better these last few months. So to jump back in, I wanted to share my query statistic for 2016 – as I type this, I have 25 unread queries in my inbox. These numbers do not include requested materials from conferences, but I have not made any offers on anything from conferences so far this year.

Queries Responded to: 2,451

Partials requested: 179, which is 7.3%

Full manuscripts requested, from those partials for the most part: 21, which is .85% of all queries sent

Offers made: 5, which is .2% of all queries sent. (two of those people are with fabulous agents who are not me)

What genres am I requesting most? I have those stats too! This isn’t saying I don’t want things that are at the lower end of requests, usually it just means i am VERY picky on those genres.

YA contemporary 34
YA fantasy 28
YA science fiction 27
women’s fiction 24
MG contemporary 12
MG fantasy 6
YA mystery 6
LGBTQ romance 6
romance 6
MG historical 4
MG science fiction 4
historical fiction 4
thriller 4
MG horror 3
YA historical 3
mystery 3
MG mystery 2
nonfiction 2
memoir 1

Now to the less fun statistics. People who did not follow my submission guidelines  (included pages, sent attachments) or sent genres I don’t represent at all (picture books, chapter books, adult SFF, literary fiction mostly):

306 writers didn’t follow my guidelines. That is 12.4%

126 writers, 5.1%, submitted things I do not represent.

So those are my statistics! Be on the lookout for more here soon – I have a few in the works right now: What I might ask in the call, R&Rs, thoughts on #ownvoice. And I am going to be gushing about my favorite book of the year early next week.

 

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Posted in Agenting, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Life in Agenting – 2: Querying: Do’s and Don’ts

Posted by Caitie F on February 17, 2015

Everyone always seems to have the most questions about queries: how to write one, what needs to be in it  Instead of just saying this is how you write a query, I want to share some of the do’s and don’ts when querying me.

Some background – I have read and replied to over 600 queries since opening up to them a month ago (EDIT: This was an estimate, I just looked and it was over 1,000). That is a lot of queries and that is all outside of work hours. If you query me, you will most likely get a response late at night or on the weekend. Those queries are what inspired this post.

DO include a great hook
What is your book? What makes it great? Figure it out, write a sentence, and make that the first thing I read. A great hook instantly has me excited and hoping that the rest of the query is amazing. I have requested pages when the hook is amazing and the rest of the query is good.

DO write a clear summary
So often, I read the main part of the query and have no idea what the book is about. I couldn’t tell you who the main character is, what the central plot is, or even sometimes the genre!

DO have someone unfamiliar with your book read your summary
That is how you make sure that it is clear. Find someone you know who doesn’t know your book or a community online that you can get someone to read your query. Have them explain back to you what your book is about. You will be able to tell if it is clear.

DON’T tell me your life story
There are so many queries I get that have more about the writer than the book. If you are writing fiction, just a couple sentences are enough. I tend to skim the long bios and probably miss the information that might matter. There needs to be a bigger bio for nonfiction, but some people list every paper they have ever been on and all their media exposure. I just need the highlights!

DON’T be a jerk
I know, it should be obvious, but I have gotten many queries with racism, sexism, and classism. I have also gotten responses to rejections that call me a bitch or say I am going to hell. The only response you should ever send is “Thank you for your time”. But you don’t have to send that.

DO your research
At least to the point where you know I am the right person to send something to. I still get lots of books I don’t represent and those are the easiest to reject. But I hate that everyone’s time was wasted.

DON’T agonize over that personalized paragraph
If you don’t have a personalized paragraph, it won’t keep me from requesting pages if the query is great. That said, those personalizations sometimes turn a maybe request pages to a yes.Not because the person said they follow me on twitter or read my blog, but because they saw I love x book, TV show, or movie and their book is like that is y way. Or they change their comps (accurately!) to things I love. Don’t say your book is like something just because i love it though – I need to see that while I am reading the query

DO query one project at a time
Only one project per query and only one query at a time. If I get four queries in a row from you, I probably won’t take any of them as seriously. I am probably not the right person for all the books. It is fine to be querying multiple projects at once, just end the one you think is the best fit first, then wait a little until you send the second.

DON’T be scared
I want every query I get to be amazing. I want to fall in love with your pitch. I want to want to see pages. I do this because I love working with authors.

DO keep going if I reject you
I am often not the right person for the project. You want someone who loves what you are doing to represent you. I am one person and there are a lot of agents out there.

Good luck!

Posted in Editorial | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Internship Musings

Posted by Caitie F on June 16, 2010

It has been way too long since I have written a post. My internship had me very busy and I didn’t finish a book for an entire month! That has now changed and I finished 4 books in the past week (reviews will be up soon…I hope)!

I did want to talk about my internship at an amazing literary agency (I won’t say which one, for privacy sake) a little because I know there are some people who read this who are writers or are interested in the business side. That and I just loved it so much that I want to talk about it.

Mostly, I read. I read queries, partial manuscripts, and every so often the elusive full manuscript. I know some people may take issue with an intern being the first to read their work, but really, it is a positive thing. There is a great blog post on Bookends that talks about the issue. I have to say that I agree with this intern completely. There were so many things that got to the partial, and even a couple of times the full, that wouldn’t have if just the assistant looked at it. There was one project in particular that I was very passionate about and, since I had proven that I had good judgment, we looked at and really liked.

For queries, I tended to just write at the top Y, M or N and had a sentence explaining why. A lot of times I underlined and commented within the query to show why I liked or didn’t like it, for myself more than the agent. It was a great way to learn about why agent’s and assistants make the decision they make. I will say, a lot of times there is some luck in getting the partial request. One example is that both the assistant and I love Lost and Stephen King, so there were a few queries that sounded Lostish or definitely had some influence from Stephen King, so we asked for the partial. One query alluded to Doctor Who, which I love, so I took a look a tthe partial.

Some people complain about those bits of luck, but really they are essential. When you get an agent, you really want them to be the right person and you want someone who will be an advocate for you in the business.  You want to “luck” into finding the right person for your work. I am not saying put references to other works hoping to strike someone who loves it, but understand that those little bits of what others call luck, isnt really luck, it is finding the perfect match.

The best example I saw of this was actually something I got towards the end of my internship. A fantasy YA query came in that was about a 12 year old girl who lost vision in one eye. I don’t want to get into details, but when I was 12, I lost vision in one eye and it has had the biggest impact on my life. I asked the assistant to let me request a partial that day and she let me. I read the partial and I loved it. The author really understood what it was like to go through the event. Sadly, I had to leave the internship before the assistant got to read my comments, but I did put pressure on her to read it soon because I loved it so much.

When I read the partial, I would write short comments, usually less than a page, that gave my opinion on the story, characters, and writing. The assistant would read, then look at my comments. Sometimes we would talk more about the manuscript before deciding whether or not to request the full.

I probably read about 10 fulls in my 4 months there. We didn’t sign anyone from these fulls, but did send back editorial letters to several writers with suggestions of how to improve their work. We would tell them if they did make some of our suggested changes, we would be happy to look at it again. Those letters were probably my favorite thing to work on, and the most challenging. I had to be nice in what I said and not offend the author, but at the same time I had to tell them how to change their story in ways that would make it work better. I am sure some were appalled by my and the assistants suggestions, but it was what we thought needed to be done.

I loved working with the agency and it really made me want to look at the agenting side of the business more. I think it is very different from the publishers side of things. I love both aspects, but it was a great experience!

If you have any questions about what I did or about hte internship (other than where it was) let me know!

Posted in Publishing | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Breaks, Books, and Thanksgiving

Posted by Caitie F on November 25, 2009

I haven’t posted in a little while due to a combination of being sick and having to work extra hours (the company I am temping for just launched the site I have been working on). The site looks pretty good and my job was extended for a couple more weeks, which is very good news! Since it has been a while, this will be a summary post.

What I am reading

American Gods– I have been reading this for a week now and am only to page 178 out of almost 600 pages. I can’t decide how much I like it – it seems to be moving very slowly. I will keep reading though, I had four people recommend it to me and two say that it wasn’t very good – I will see.

The Girls’ Guide to Power and Success – Since I am trying to find unique ways to get a job, I figured reading a book about female success would be a good idea. I forget how far women still have to go in the workplace. It has been a little bit helpful – I think the chapters on communication will help if I ever get an interview. My biggest problem is that it basically is just saying everything I already know and have been taught for years.

On Writing – I just started this book by Stephen King and I think it will be really good. I have no aspirations to be a writer (other than this blog), but I think it could help me be a better editor and help me understand writers better.

Reviews

I haven’t been writing any reviews lately, but I want to go back and review some books I read in the past. Do you have any ideas? Head over to my Goodreads account and let me know if you want a review of anything!

Thanksgiving

I did a big post on my holiday plans already, so I won’t go into that here. I just want to say that I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving. It is hard for me to remember to be thankful this year – after seven months of applying, I still don’t have a job, I miss my Ohio friends and family, my grandpa is sick, and things are just tough all around…but this holiday is making me remember what I do have. Most of my family is healthy and happy, I have made some great new friends here, I am married to the most wonderful man in the world, and I have found another great community to be a part of. I just need to remember the goods things more often.

Have a great holiday!

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