Friday, July 22, 2011

I see a trend

This week seems to be querying week. Why stop now? I know some of you haven’t even made it to this process. That’s okay. I’m not there yet. I mean, I’ve been there once but now I’m a more knowledgeable querier ready to strike again.

How does one prepare?

Well I have to assume everyone is different but here is my secret recipe.

1. Write the story

2. Revise the story (twice before sending to crit partners)

3. Ask crit partners to be nice (but secretly have them rip it to shreds – nicely)

4. Revise again

Okay so that’s the beginning. While I’m in those steps I’ve got my query perfected (in an unrealistic world) and my synopsis is gold (this is even more unrealistic). In here is where I research.

QueryTracker & Agent Query are my go to places. When I find an agent that has a cool name (yes I start out like that), a neat website, and represents my genre I put them in my YES pile. For those I like but they have a flaw (in my system) I put them in the MAYBE. And for those who don’t rep my genre they are obviously in the NO.

I’ll research my YES pile first. I’ll use publishers marketplace to see what they’ve repped. How well they’ve done, and any other goodies I can find. I read their website, see what they represent, what the agent represents. Then I search for books they’ve written.

My MAYBE pile is to see if there was something I missed. If I love their personality they’re in. But you have to start somewhere with the list.

Not every agent needs a personal touch. They’re looking for the story. I have that; the personal touch is more for me. To show I’m interested and care. That it would be an honor to partner with them.

So… what’s your method?

35 comments:

chasing empty pavements said...

I don't have a method yet because I haven't even gotten to number 2 on your list. haha. But this sounds like a pretty awesome method to follow when I get done with number 4! Thanks for breaking it down!

Jennifer Shirk said...

I haven't done the agent research yet. I have a few saved in my maybe pile, but it depends if I change genres or not.

But I do steps 1 thru 4 exactly the same! :)

Samantha VĂ©rant said...

I ask my magic eight ball. If I don't like the answer, I shake it again. SERIOUSLY, when I queried I did the same thing--QT and AQ!

Diana Mieczan said...

I really love how organized you are, darling! Have a great Friday and a relaxing weekend:) Muah

Stephsco said...

Not ready to query but I've done some poking around about what agents atte looking for. I live finding out their favorite reads, that's helped a lot.

Stephsco said...

Sorry for typos, posting via phone!

Amy Saia said...

I always have trouble with the personal thing, because I was never able to come up with a line of greeting that felt natural. Submitting short stories is so much easier because you're not expected to do any of that. Just, here's my story and thank you.

I say stick with what feels natural, and let the story speak for itself. If your'e good at personal greetings, then go for it, because many agents do want that type of thing.

The East Coaster said...

Ditto steps 1-4, then I figure out the market by searching for similar things.

For my MG book, I'm querying agents found through the the boards at absolutewrite.com

For adult books, my queries are split by genre, some need an agent (so I query) and others I go direct to publisher. For all things, though, I double and triple check the agent and publisher online. The only thing worse than no deal, is a bad one.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Send out queries to evry science fiction publisher in the book. When that doesn't work, try other publishers and genres. Not the best method, but it did eventually work!

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

i use QT, and sort by every agent who reps my genre (first YA and Fantasy, then YA) then i'l go throuhg each agent. Check P&E, check their website if they have one. Make submision notes. Read their blogs if they have one, read any interviews. Then based on that i assign a number of 1-10, 10 being the worst. Though occasionally i'll just disregard them all together if they say something i find offensive etc.
Then i send out a few queries from the 5 group and test the waters. If i get a few requests, i send more queries to my lower numbers. And that's my method in a nutshell

Jemi Fraser said...

I use AQ & QT too - they are fabulous sites! My process sounds an awful lot like yours! :)

Matthew MacNish said...

I try to go with the dousing a candle with a firehose method.

Leigh Ann said...

I'm in the home stretch of option #4. I'm putting my ms in a drawer until mid-August, then again till mid-October. And while I'm on hiatus from that, I'm building my list.

I searched "YA literary agent" on twitter, made a twitter list of them, and checked out their websites. Every Agent I like, I put in an Evernote file. Under their name I put their contact info and sites. If I really like their site and personality, I search for interviews with them and copy-paste any snippets of info that I think will be important when crafting my query. I'm going to keep myself from sending anything until I have a list of 40 agents I want to query, because I want to do five at a time.

Beth Revis shared her Google Reader method in Elana Johnson's "Query to Call" ebook. She just starred every agent article and blog post that spoke to her, and built her list from that. That sounds like it'll work for me, and is one more leg of my strategy.

So excited to read everyone else's - and yours, of course. Great post.

Karen Walker said...

I made a list of all the agents who represented memoir. Then I sent out letters, several at a time. When those got rejected, I sent out more, etc. etc. After almost two years, I gave up and self-pubbed. This time around, I'm not sure how I'll do it, when I get to that point.
karen

Abby said...

I wish I had a query method. Haven't got that far yet, which probably has a LOT to do with why I am loving this post. You definitely ARE a writer and I am loving your personality. I am so nervous to start the "querying" process, but I'm diggin' your method. Thanks so much! I will be back for more!

Jolene Perry said...

You've pretty much nailed what I did, BUT then I went to publisher's marketplace (or actually a friend who subscribes) and looked at their sales - I was SO SO SO surprised.

I was wary when I was offered rep by a newer agent, and then I put in the agents who still had fulls or partials and I was shocked at how few sales (like 1 or 2) in 2 years or so with a BIG name behind them.

In the end - more than anything - I wanted someone I knew I'd love to work with.

Tara (The Bodacious Pen) said...

I'm only on #2 on your list, but when I am ready to query, my method will probably be pretty similar to yours.

Teenage Bride said...

this process makes my head hurt haha

Have a great weekend Jen!!!

Tonya said...

My process is actually almost identical to yours and I think at about the same stage in the game, as well. I'm about to send my ms off to beta readers, then will do revisions, and have been trying to perfect my query.

It is so nice to find someone else at the same place you are.
Good luck! May the force be with you.

Tonya (college friend of Lindsay Currie's)

Romance In A Glance said...

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! I have thought so many times about how much I want to write chick lit. I even have a "Chapter 1" that I started. But I always stop because I think, "how do I publish this?"

That's where the blog came in. And because I love weddings and romance, I write about that. Now I have this new obsession with writing a wedding advice book :)

Well, hopefully it comes true for me and that you continue on to success! I look forward to following you and reading more! Have a great weekend!

Jenny said...

I've just started my "Wish List" for agents. Thanks for the tips.

Laura Pauling said...

The good thing is that once you do the initial research it carries over to the next project. Then it's keeping my eyes open for someone who might connect with my work.

Len Lambert said...

Cool post, Jen. Thank you for sharing your process. I am not there yet...and this will be very helpful when I finally query. :) Have a nice weekend :)

Jennie Bailey said...

I like the idea of a YES and a MAYBE pile! I had a first round, then a second round, then a third round (different criteria for each round). For every rejection, I sent out four more. I'm still in the trenches though. I think you're fully going to rock this! Like you rock everything else!!

Theresa Milstein said...

I like your method.

I collect info while I'm ready. If there's a new agent alert that seems promising or I come across a post about an agent that sounds like a good fit, I link it to a Word Document. Then when I'm ready to query, I check that list first.

There's nothing more frustrating than seeing someone who sounds perfect but your manuscript isn't... yet. Thus, my Word file.

sue said...

I found this really interesting, Not being an author I had no idea how it all worked. It makes me even more in awe of those who manage to get published. You're all amazing! Sue

Donna Hole said...

Yep, in a perfect world it all works out great and I get the perfect agent. :)

..........dhole

Lori said...

I am learning so much from your blog!

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Good planning process Jen! I think so many authors get excited (as they should!) at the prospect of querying and shoot off queries every which way without properly researching. You sound like you've got a great grip on your plan and I can't wait until the offers start rolling in!

Tess said...

ha! I like number one the best. it made me giggle.

ah, the bane that is query-dom. it is joy and pain and light and darkness all mixed together.

but remember, friends, it only takes that one YES!

Lisa said...

Hi, I just wanted to stop by and thank you for commenting over at Talli's blog when I guest posted. Here's a high five and knuckle bumps from one ex-call center gal to another!
Nice post! I didn't have a method. I just kept sending out the queries till my eyes went blurry.

Mindy McGinnis said...

I use QueryTracker to narrow down my genre people, then uh... yeah seriously I look at cool names too :) I mostly query females, which some might think is odd, but I personally think I work better with a female agent, so that does narrow down my field.

Then authors they represent, then Pub. Marketplace, then the query goes out if I think I could make it work. One thing I do is see if there are any online interviews to give me a feel of their personality - if they're not quirky, they might not *get* me. :)

Talli Roland said...

Sounds like you've got it all down pat, Jen! :) Keeping everything crossed for you come September!

joss said...

I haven't gotten this far just yet, although I am very close so i am gonna add your post to my favs so i can think about your methods a little closer to the time.

T C Mckee said...

My method is pretty much the same except it seems as though I've revised way more than that. I queried too soon at first, not knowing enough, so I still spend some time just researching. Seems one can't know enough when it comes to this business. :)