Batch Querying

I wasn’t kidding in my last post when I said I put my MS away when it was almost ready to go out into the world. A week after that post I sent out my first MS query!

I am batch querying my MS, which means that I am only reaching out to 4-6 Agents at a time. This is a traditional method of querying in the traditional publishing world, though I have heard that since Covid literary agents are receiving more bulk email queries where people are BCC-ing 50 agents at once.

I prefer the batch query method, not only does it mean you are taking the time to select agents that represent books in your genre but it also means if you receive feedback from an agent you can take that advice into consideration and if applicable make changes.

I already from my first batch of querying have learnt so much, below I have listed some of the things I have learnt!

  1. I can’t decide what genre to put my book in! This might sound weird but its true. So far I have categorised my MS as Urban Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Suspense, Fantasy, Romance, Women’s Fiction and Speculitive Fiction. I think now, to give it the broadest categorization I am now calling it Womens Specultive Fiction.
  2. Not all agents want synopsis but will want to know who you read?! In preperation for querying I wrote my synopsis and query letter spending lots of time researching how to write them and then having people critic. However when I went to query agents what they were regularly asking for were: Bio’s, Query Letters, First 10 pages – 3 Chapters of your book, and Book Comps. As such I ended up creating a second query letter for those agents that didn’t want synopsis’s as my original query letter was a taster in preperation for the synopsis.
  3. Book Comps A lot of people provide comparisions for their MS e.g. Its Pride and Preduice meets Tomorrow When the War Began (not my comps) but it is not necessary. However I have already had 3 of the 6 agents I queried in this round have a seperate section requesting book comparisons. I wasn’t prepared for this and wrote a really dumb answer for the first time it was asked (that agent rejected my MS in a day).
  4. Bio’s Again, I hadn’t been expecting to have to provide a second bio to the breif bio I put in the query letter. This threw me through a loop the first one or two queries, espeacially if agents are requesting you submit your MS through Query Tracker. I have since revised my query letter, reducing my bio there to 1 sentance, and drafted a short 4 line bio for those agents providing a brief background of who I am and what inspired me to write my book. If you have writing credentials though, this would be where you would mention those.
  5. Some Agents will get back to you in a day, others advise if you haven’t heard from them in 3 months then its a no. This was a crazy thing to read on agent sites, that they wouldn’t get back to you to say no. Not even a form reject. Aware that agents are getting bulk emailed for MS that aren’t even in their genre’s I can understand that agents are overwhelmed but having to wait 3 months just to know that particular agent is not interested is dissapointing. Espeacially if you can not submit to another agent at their literary agency until that 3 month period is over.

So these are just a couple of the things I have learnt in my first week of querying, I am sure there are much more that will come up. Until then, in the words of Dr. Bonney Henry:

Be Kind, Be Calm, Be Safe.

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