Thursday, March 26, 2009

Query Observations

I have received over 2,000 queries since January 1st, and unfortunately I have not responded to most of them. I'm working my way through them though, and I have to ask for your continued patience if you're waiting to hear from me.

In the meantime, here are just a few things I've noticed: 

- I'm getting tons of emails from writers under the age of 18, which I suspect might be due to the increased availability of publishing resources online. If you're wondering, I look at these queries with the same consideration as I do with queries from adults.

- There are two clear groups of queries - the first are from people who probably will never get representation and become published, evident by the crappy writing and lack of effort in their queries. The second group is composed of writers struggling hard with their craft, doing their research, and drafting thoughtful and composed queries. In the past I would say more than 75% of the emails I got could be grouped in the first group, but I think the numbers have reversed and 75% would now fall in the second group. 

- I continue to get catty emails in response to rejections, and I continue to struggle not to respond in kind. 

- I just haven't seen that many truly inventive mystery ideas, but urban fantasy queries are ripe with creativity.

11 comments:

Kristin Laughtin said...

How interesting about the numbers switching--a number of other agents have seemed to imply that the first group is still prevalent. With the amount of easy-to-access information out there though, the numbers *should* reflect more people doing their research.

On the other hand, this makes the competition tougher all around!

ryan field said...

Two thousand. I freaked over two hundred e-mails on my yahoo account last week. Evidently, there are a lot of writers out there.

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks for the update. It's nice to see you here more regularly.

Oopsy Daisy said...

Being a submitter of one of those urban fantasy queries (hopefully one that is ripe with creativity as you put it), I have to wonder if it is a good thing if it takes a long time to hear from an agent or a bad thing. For instance, if I am going to be rejected is more likely that I will hear from the agent in a shorter time period? Or is it just a matter of wading through the pile?

Jonathan Lyons said...

r me it's just a matter of wading through...

-Kelly Meding said...

Everyone knows Urban Fantasy is where it's at! *g*

But two thousand queries? Hoe-lee cow.

Robin S. said...

You're a nice person - I'm sorry you're having nasty replies to your
rejection notes.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of queries, your submit form calls for a synopsis but limits you to 500 words. Are you in fact asking for an actual synopsis, or do you say synopsis but mean pitch?

Jonathan Lyons said...

Anon - For me, a pitch is a query. Do you mean tagline or something like that? If you have a few killer lines that really sell the book, include it in the synopsis.

By synopsis I mean a brief summary of the work, whether fiction or nonfiction.

I think you might be overthinking things. There's a space for your name, title, synopsis, and bio. Use accordingly...

jonas wunderman said...

Just curious to know if you ever consider representing authors from outside the U.S.

cheers...

Aimless Writer said...

Please ignore the snarky replies. Most writers have better manners than to bite the hand that might some day feed them. :)
Those who don't, don't deserve your time.
I'm with Kristin. The reversal in numbers makes me think the competition is getting tougher.