If you are a querying writer, chances are you are a fan of the #10queries hashtag on Twitter. Honestly, I’m a huge fan too. I like seeing what my follow agents are getting in their inboxes (and feeling better that I’m not the only one who gets a significant number of queries in genres I don’t represent – read the guidelines before you submit, people!). However, I rarely, if ever, participate, in no small part because of my odd work hours, I don’t think a huge number of people are checking the hashtag in the middle of the night when I often read queries, although I could be wrong.
Anyway, I am once again going to give you the blog post version of #10queries, 10 randomly selected queries from my inbox and my response.
1. Contemporary commercial fiction, I think. There’s just a brief synopsis, not the 1-2 pages I ask for, and there is no writing sample at all. Once in a great while I will email back and ask for a sample if the synopsis sounds amazing, but generally if you don’t give me what I need and ask for, it will be a pass.
2. Calls itself women’s fiction, but I’m not sure it isn’t actually YA. Either way, the writing isn’t up to par, so pass.
3. Some vaguely historical commercial/literary crossover that seems to have a really great voice. The author has a pitch appointment with me at an upcoming conference, so I’ve let her know I want to hear more about it there before I make a request.
4. Historical fiction. Looks solidly strong, but the subject matter just isn’t capturing my attention (as it didn’t with the three or four other novels about the same time period that have popped into my inbox in the last year).
5. Historical fiction with fantasy. Beginning of a trilogy and nearly 200,000 words. This isn’t totally unheard of for either historical fiction or fantasy, but super long debuts often (not always) are more difficult to sell, and I often have issues with long books, I rarely think a book that long truly needs to be that long. Add to that the time period isn’t grabbing me, and pass.
6. Literary speculative fiction. The writing here is great, but I’m just not captivated by the voice or the synopsis. Pass.
7. Women’s fiction. Immediately captivating story and a genuinely unique premise. Full request.
8. Upmarket women’s fiction with a speculative fiction bent. Referred to me by Laurie and I can see why, really intriguing writing. Full request.
9. New Adult science fiction. I’m not opposed to New Adult, but I’m also not particularly looking for it, and things that are primarily in the science fiction genre aren’t really my specialty. Pass.
10. Appears to be erotica, which I don’t represent, but I’m not actually sure because the rambling query which is meant to be charming is something I consider fairly off-putting and not terribly informative. Pass.