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Q & A – Querying a Literary Agent – Part 2

Welcome back to part 2, let’s jump straight in with a few more questions.

Do Agents Need to Know, in a Query, if I am Writing a Series?

As a matter of courtesy, yes, but you could also mention that it can be a standalone book too. This makes it look less like you are asking for a 5-book deal and the agents are more likely to consider it.

Do I Need To Mention My Previous Self-Published Books?

You can if you want. If your book sales have been poor, it probably isn’t a good idea but if you have experienced excellent sales then do mention it. Only do it if it is likely to help you, otherwise, don’t bother.

My Book Doesn’t Really Fall Into One Specific Genre; How Do I Handle This?

It has to be in one genre or another and you must call it something. Choose the main genre otherwise an agent won't even look at it. If you really need to, you can always compare it to other books, something along the lines of X meets Y, but only if you really can't describe it any other way.

How Many Rejections Does It Take Before a Major Rewrite of the Query is Needed?

Never submit any more than 10 queries at the start. If you get a response from one agent who wants more, consider yourself to have a problem. Then it will need overhauling before you submit it anywhere else.

Can My Query Be Over a Page in Length?

Consider the agent that has to read the query! There is no harm in going a couple of sentences over but you don’t need a long query. It is considered unprofessional and if you submit one, it will be rejected. Be succinct in how you write your query and it should fit a page.

Should I Send Samples With My Query?

It won't do any harm but if you are emailing your query, do NOT add the samples as attachments. Always paste them below the email and do not go mad.  It may help but if your query is not up to scratch, you can send as many samples as you like; it will make no difference.

An Agent Hasn’t Responded to My Submission – What Do I Do?

First, make sure the agent hasn’t gone on holiday or hasn’t moved to a different agency. Also, check their submission guidelines - some will only respond to queries they are interested in and will tell you that if you haven’t heard after so many weeks, your query has been rejected.  Some agents will say they will respond within, say, 3 months. If that deadline passed a couple of weeks ago then, by all means, follow it up – nicely. Paste the original query to an email and ask if they are still reviewing new queries. Do make sure that you are not to blame for the lack of contact though – did you add an attachment when you shouldn’t have done? Did you put Query in the email subject line? Did you spell the email address correctly? Check it all before you go chasing up. And if you still don’t get a reply, time to move on.

Read on for the last couple of questions.

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Anne-Marie Reynolds