Sending Out Queries

I am sending out queries for Midnight In Vegas. I am trying to find the best matches for my book. I have been using my Writer’s Market book in conjuction with and have come up with a good system.

I have already gone through my Writer’s Market book with a highlighter and bookmarks and identified all the potential markets I might query. I then added them to the MyMarkets section of it has a handy tool you can use to track your submissions.

Then I find the website for the market I want to query and read all I can about the agents that work there. There is a great deal of information posted online. There is more than the simple lists of what they are interested in or not interested in. After reading about the agents I determine if they would still be interested in my work. I am surprised to find out how many this eliminates. You might think that eliminating agents is a bad thing but it isn’t. I don’t want to waste time submitting my work to someone who is predispositioned against it (or waste their time either, I wish more authors did this it would probably help the query process immensely.) Instead, I am sending my work to people who express interest in the type of book I have written (and are thereby less likely to reject it.) I am also looking for people who have similar business/writing philosophies to mine. I see an agent as a business partner. It is important to find somebody I think I can work with. I hope to have a lasting relationship with this person. A business relationship is often like a marriage, I don’t want to get stuck in a bad one.

After I have read the bios and selected an agent I carefully read their submission guidelines. Since I am being selective it is important to make sure that I send my work in the proper format. Every agent and agency wants something different. I don’t know if this is part of a test to see if writers are doing their homework or just the personal idiosyncrasies of the people writing the guidelines. Whichever it is (I suspect it may be a little of both) I carefully tailor my submission to match the given requirements. I don’t want my work thrown out because I sent in 5 pages instead of 10.

I am shocked by how time consuming this is. I thought that once I was ready to send out my query it would quick; just a matter of changing the names on the top of the letter and firing it out. This is definitely not the case. I suppose that in desperation you could do that, (I can even write a macro in Word that would do it for me) but I won’t. I think that part of the slush pile problem is too many people are doing that. My hope is that the time and care I put into this process now will pay dividends later.



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