Thursday, February 24, 2011

Queries the dos and don't

I started the query process.
Since then I've associated clicking send with the vomit swelling my in throat.

Lovely image early on a Thursday Morning.

The shark herself posted, never talk about queries on your blog, never post by name which agent your querying.  The agents WILL find out. 

So obviously I will not be posting who I queried or any news about rejections.

Instead I will talk about HOW pick agents-

Everyone talks about RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH.  But what does that really mean?

According to there are 348 agents who rep YA.
Should I query every single one?  HOLY HANNAH, NO WAY!

So this was my process.
A few months ago Writer's Digest listed a bunch of agents looking for clients.  I went through and circled all the agents who repped YA.   I created a spread sheet, listing all their names, website,  if I thought they would be a good match with my novel.

Then a few weeks ago I went through the Guide of Literary Agents and looked at different agency that represented YA.   I circled all the agencies that I felt was a good match.   I added them to my spread sheet.

Then the hard work started.

I researched every agency and picked which agent would be the best match.

Then I cross referenced my list with Literary Ramblings and checked out if they had an agent profile. 

Literary Ramblings gave me WAY more information about the agent and helped me gauge if we would be a good match.

Are you noticing a trend here?

At every step I am evaluating if my novel matches what the agents likes.

I did not take into account the size the agency but my list contained big named places and small agency's as well.  

The next step is to rank and list them

I have a list of top 10, 10-20, 20-30. I should say, I was extremely through with my first list that ranking the agents were extremely hard. And really for most of them the only difference between a top ten and a 20-30, was some of the top ten's like John Green.  Sometimes it came down to how super facial stuff like the web design.   As far as I could tell from my research, every agent was professional and sold books.  But all 30 agents are awesome. 

I made a list of Round 1, Round 2, Round 3.

I pulled three agents from each list, my top ten, 10-20, 20-30.
So each round is mix of a bunch of different agents.

This way if I need to tweak my query,  I haven't blown my chances with all my top tens.

How long did I research?
Two hours for the writer's digest
Two hours with the Guide to literary agents
Six hours researching each agency and picking the best match.
Hour double checking to make sure I have all the submission requirements.

At least 11 hours of RESEARCH. 

Why would I spent three years writing a book and just sent it to any agent?  Why would I waste my time and theirs?

That's just silly.

I will NOT be posting on my progress on querying.  That's between me and the agents. 

Although I'm not above tweeting when I do a happy dance.

Jess also covered this topic AMAZINGLY on her blog go check it out 


  1. This is a good post- it's always neat to see how people choose the agents they want to query and I think you have a good process going here. I am also querying right now and find the vomit feeling very familiar :) Good luck and I'll be looking out for your happy dance on Twitter!

  2. Can't wait for a happy dance tweet! (thanks for the link love)

  3. Your process is pretty similar to mine; my only qualm was that while I would be researching my lists, I'd hear about another agent and have to decide how to rank them!

  4. Wow, you've VERY thorough, but I think all of that research will result in something good. :) Can't wait to dance w/ you on Twitter!

  5. You've certainly done your homework! Good for you!! Here's to dancing the happy dance, and soon :D

  6. My agent research is similar. Though someone did send me a pretty awesome list recently. :)

  7. Good luck! I think your research will pay off because you're querying the right agents for your project. I hope you get to do the happy dance soon!

  8. Good luck! Can't wait to hear your news when Agent Awesome picks you up!