In The Query Trenches

One of the goals I am hoping to achieve this year is getting an agent. I know that goal is not completely dependent on me, but my goal is to take the query steps I can to make that happen.

So, since I have a manuscript ready to submit, I started the process in December. After many hours exploring agents, I discovered the top ones in my genre. I created a database of 50 agents, and prepared to contact them in January.

I worked on my query both with my 2 co-authors for this manuscript and with “outside” eyes for objectivity. After we had the skeleton, I wrote all the query letters, personalized them and formatted them as the agent specified in their submission guidelines. I pasted the appropriate number of manuscript pages and any other requested material (such as synopsis) after the letter. Also, I made sure my contact info and links to my website and other social media were included after the signature of the letter.

Every Monday I sent out 10. If I got a rejection back, I would send out another immediately. By January 23rd all the queries but 2 who were closed to queries until February were sent. I had ended up with a total of 51 queries because one agent referred me to a fellow agent as a better fit.

So how’s it going? With 49 queries out, I got 11 rejections, 2 full requests, and the rest are still pending. Eventually I will have to start marking the “no response means no interest” people off my list, but I usually wait at least 2 months for that.

Now that the queries are out, it’s a waiting game. I am moving my attention back to another manuscript that I hope to have ready to query sometime this year. So if the current one on submission doesn’t land me an agent, maybe the next one will!

Anyone else on the query-go-round? How are you holding up?


  1. I love the way you’ve attacked this – and having co-authors to bounce off of it incredible. Wishing you the best as I put together a HUGE (not saying the word the way Trump would) proposal for a top NY literary agent. Got a referral for him from a true crime author friend and she helped me pitch him. It helped that I got Nick Pileggi (Wiseguy, Casino author) to endorse.

    An odd aside, my book is not published, but I have draft copies – one of them finding its way into the hands of a Hollywood director/producer. We’ve got a shop agreement in place to develop a TV series. Could happen in a year, 10 years, or never.

    I guess the message is … keep plugging away, make connections, enter contests, get on someone’s radar. You just never know.

  2. Good luck Kerry! I have a friend who got a rejection after six years.

    Six years: you’d think the agent would just pretend she never received it. I have another friend who, int he years of hard-copy submissions, received a particularly enthusiastic in-person request for the full. When my friend called after a year with no word, the agent said she’d never read it, and her assistant found it wedged between the desk and the wall! It was damaged, so she asked my friend to resubmit. That was a particular hard “no thanks after all” for her to read.

    Keep up the good work!

    • I’ve already gone through 3 agents with this book. My gangster killed one deal with his ego, another agent got dementia, and the last tried but all he could do was a manage a 4th-tier wannabe publisher. It’s been a year and a half, and now I’m taking another run at it.

      You never know…

    • Kerry Gans says

      Oh, my! The stories you hear! Yikes!
      Thanks for the encouragement. 🙂

  3. Lots of luck, Kerry. It’s the most stressful process. Hang in

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