Blogger: Rachelle Gardner
Recently I was asked, “What are the odds of getting an agent if you have a strong query?” I don’t know the answer, but I do know it’s the wrong question. This is not a game based on “odds” because all the players are not equal. For example: About zero percent of writers with uninteresting queries will get an agent based on the query. 100% of writers with queries that knock my socks off will get a request for a proposal or manuscript. So you can’t learn much from trying to calculate the odds.
But the question addresses an important point: What if a dozen agents request a manuscript based on the query, but nobody goes the next step and offers representation? Then you have a problem. Your query is good, and possibly your first few pages (if they were included with the query) were also promising. But the book itself is failing to deliver. It may be time to get some help evaluating your manuscript and try to determine what you can improve.
You could doggedly keep submitting to agents and that might do the trick. But if numerous agents are reading your manuscript (not just your query) and you still have no agent, seriously consider whether you need to stop submitting and fix your book or write a new one.
It’s easy to focus on the query, because it’s the first step in grabbing the attention of someone who can help get your book published. But don’t forget, the process can easily end with the query if the book isn’t carrying the reader all the way through. Most of your focus should be on your book. Continually be open to learning how to improve your writing. Even writers with multiple published books are still learning.
So where are you in this process? Have you received requests for based on a query? Got an agent yet? If not, how are you planning to proceed?