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In the Query Trenches

It’s been a while since I’ve made the rounds with querying. The last manuscript I shopped was Changers: Manifesting Destiny, which was eventually picked up by Evernight Teen and published *gulp* in August 2016. Has it really been that long? All the more reason to finish Changers 2!

With Manifesting Destiny I sent out 70 queries and received two offers, both from publishers, none from agents. Actually, when I queried The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller, I sent out 100 queries—I had vowed to stop at 100 and self-publish if I didn’t get any nibbles—and despite a lot of agent interest still only received two offers from publishers. (That one came out from Tirgearr Publishing in January 2016.)

I did send Brynnde to one well-known romance publisher. When they passed, I self-published it. I don’t really count that as a round of querying given that I didn’t try very hard. It was more like a shot in the dark.

So. Here I am with Hamlette. I’ve sent 46 queries, was briefly repped by an agent, but am now back in the trenches. I’ve had 19 rejections/non-responses so far, 3 requests for the manuscript, and am waiting to hear from the remaining 24.

I’d forgotten how difficult the waiting part is. I know I should busy myself with other work, but I keep wanting to check my email. Makes it tough to focus on my current WIP.

However, I’ve learned a lot from previous rounds of querying. Back when I was sending out Peter, I didn’t know you aren’t supposed to query agents and publishers at the same time. It makes sense when you think about it, but I guess I didn’t think about it, and therein lies the problem. So now, with Hamlette I’m focused on agents for now and may move on to publishers later, though given my track record, I may do better self-publishing. I think a publisher would have to be pretty special at this point to win me over. (Though of course Evernight will continue to get Changers!)

On the plus side, given how well my Peter query did (I had 17 requests for the manuscript based on the query), I at least have a good sense of how to structure a query in a way that gets responses. Though that may also just have been Peter; I’ve found writing queries for YA is a bit more difficult for some reason.

How about you? Ever run the querying gauntlet? Any tips or tricks? Or do you prefer to go straight to self-publishing? (I decide from manuscript to manuscript whether I’m going to query it or publish it directly.) Any small publishers you like? And if you’re not an author, does it matter to you if a book is self-published, small published, or comes from a major publisher? Where and how do you find/choose things to read? I’d love to know! Tell us in the comments!

2 thoughts on “In the Query Trenches

  1. Oh yes! Waiting is one of the most difficult parts. My fingers are crossed for you. I’ve queried in the past, and while I still do send short stories out, I don’t with my novels. Two bad publisher experiences have turned me off them.

    1. Yes, I don’t think I’d be inclined to submit to publishers again (or at least I’d be very selective). I’m hoping Hamlette is promising/commercial enough for an agent to want to champion it. If not, though, I’ll probably self-publish it.

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