Monday, February 17, 2014

Querying Like a Madman

Apparently that's what I'm doing. Not because I'm firing off dozens of queries from my automatic query-cannon (I have one, it's got an extended magazine and a techno-gadgety scope thingy), but because I'm not sending out dozens.

I'm sending five.

Five at a time is apparently whack-a-doodle crazy numbers and I'll "never" get an agent that way. That's what I've been told by an anonymous agented third party (who I'll allow to remain anonymous for the sake of their um, anonymity).

I'm not sure when querying became about simply getting an agent, any agent. That doesn't fit with my (possibly misguided) view of how things should work. Querying, to me, is about finding the right agent. Finding an agent that fits well with how I work, what sort of stories I want to tell, and most importantly, finding an agent for my writing career.

It means I can't take just any agent. It means I have to stalk research each agent and carefully select who I query, then personalize that query to them. That takes a LOT of work on my part. It's a similar amount of effort as to what I put into building a character backstory and system of rules for the world I'll set a book in. 99.999% of that effort never touches the finished pages, but I need it there nonetheless.

I can't imagine doing it any other way, I think the stress of having more than five queries out at the same time would kill me. If that makes me some sort of oddball, so be it. I'll get an agent when I do. And not just any agent, but the right agent.

- Alex

1 comment:

  1. I was a 10 queries out at all times, person when I was querying. But I also spent at least two months before I ever queried researching every agent on my list, and putting them in an order I liked. Then when I was ready, I started slowly, and once I got some bites I expanded until I had 10 out.
    5 does not seem a bad number to me at all. Everyone has what they're comfortable with. I think if you were only doing one at a time I'd tell you to kick it up a notch, unless you want to query for a decade, but 5 seems like a good round number. And, also, you can always send out more, or less, later if you want. Nothing is set in stone.