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Is the Query System Dying?

Monday, January 10, 2011

My agent, Rachelle Gardner, shared some statistics last week. This was one of them: “Queries received in 2010: around 10,000. New clients taken on from query (no referral): 0.”

When I read that statistic, I was shocked. If you read Rachelle's blog, did the statistic surprise you too?

Think about it. Those 10,000 queries represent approximately 10,000 writers who have dreams of seeing their book in print, who’ve likely spent months on a manuscript, who are desperately seeking a chance at traditional publication.

Out of 10,000 ideas, surely there had to have been a handful--even just a couple--that showed some promise. But Rachelle didn’t take on any new clients from those queries. Of course she took on new clients through other methods (referrals, conferences, blogging, etc.). But NONE through cold querying.

I can’t help wondering what this would have meant for me. You see, in mid-2008 I cold-queried Rachelle with The Preacher’s Bride. I didn’t have a referral from one of her clients—I didn’t know any of her clients. I’d never met her at a conference—in fact, I’d never even been to a writer’s conference. I hadn't mingled with her in cyberland—at the time I hadn't started blogging.

In other words, I was just another unknown writer and another statistic in her in-box. The truth is, if I’d queried Rachelle in 2010 instead of 2008, things could have been very different for me. My query most likely would have gone unnoticed along with the other 9,999. But that wouldn’t have meant The Preacher’s Bride didn’t hold promise or was unpublishable—because obviously, the book is now in print and recently hit the CBA best seller list.

So what does that say about the query system? Does it really work anymore? Is the system slowly dying?

Of course the system isn’t dead yet. From time to time, I still hear reports of writers landing agents through cold-querying. But if the statistics of gaining an agent through querying are slim and growing narrower, what can writers do to increase their chances of getting an agent?

Seek out new agents through reputable literary agencies.

When I queried Rachelle in 2008, she’d only been an agent for about a year. She was still actively building her client load.

Yes, there is some risk in going with a new agent. They don’t have a big track record of sales. Their influence among publishing houses might be minimal. But all agents have to start somewhere, and newer ones are often more open to debut authors; whereas, established agents have less time or need for new clients and are more choosey.

Realize the query system may not be enough.

Even though Rachelle requested a full as a result of my query, I didn’t gain her attention until I finaled in a nation-wide contest for unpublished authors.

Contest finals can often be a way to give our queries an advantage. A personal connection with an agent at a conference can help too. During those appointments, agents often give writers permission to send in a partial or full, which then bypasses the cold-query pile and gets the agent’s more immediate attention.

Shift to a new way of relating to agents.

Through social media, many agents are more accessible than ever before. Numerous agents hang out on twitter or have blogs. If a writer spends some time building a viable web presence before querying (like commenting on agent blogs or mingling on Twitter), then agents will already be familiar with our names and more likely to take a look at our query over a complete stranger’s.

My Summary: Yes, the query system as we’ve known it may not work well (to put it nicely). But as with all the changes in the industry, we have to be willing to adjust. Writer friends continue to land agents. In fact, a wonderful blogging friend, T. Anne, built a web presence, and after months of perseverance and connecting with agents online, she was offered representation by Rachelle Gardner. She’s celebrating over on her blog today!

So, what do you think about the query system? Do you agree that it’s dying? Has it failed you? And have you felt like a failure as a result? Well, take hope. The query system may not accurately reflect your potential or your story’s possibility. You may just need to look for other ways to seek out an agent.

72 comments:

  1. Wow! I am not to that phase, yet, but I am glad to be reading and researching for that future process. I think I will be hitting some conferences this year though.

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  2. Connecting is SO important. I would not be where I am today if I hadn't forked up the dough to go to a writing conference and meet Rachelle and some editors face-to-face.

    So exited for T. Anne! Her post is hilarious!

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  3. The query system might take time, but I don't think it's dying. I read about lots of successful writers that signed through the cold query in the past year. But through her blog, Rachelle might be moving over the crew that signs just through referrals. But I think it's still about the writing and idea. :)

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  4. Jody, it's definitely tough out there. I was fortunate enough to sign with the Seymour Agency last week but that was after 7 months of querying and probably 150 rejections or non-responses. Like you, I've signed with a newer agent who is just building her client list, but she's been super and is a really great match for us, and that's what really matters. But it wouldn't matter how great a match she might have been if she wasn't taking new clients.

    I think you've listed some really solid ways of looking at the system in a slightly different way. From the writer's point of view, it's a very frustrating and discouraging process as rejections come in bunches some days. But I don't think the system is dying. It is, however, a sign of the digital age, and, due to e-mail querying, agents get flooded and the slush pile is bigger than ever. It's tough for them too to find that diamond in the rough and some have had to go the route that Rachelle took and close their doors part way. But hopefully the real diamonds in the rough with still get spotted!

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  5. I love the news about Anne. And I hope that I get there soon. But you may be right about the query system. It ain't working like it should. :)

    BTW, I love The Preacher's Bride. Have I told you this all ready? It's wonderfully written. Your characterization is brilliant.

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  6. Great variety of thoughts this morning, everyone! Congrats Jen, on signing with the Seymour agency! That's so awesome! I'm really thrilled for you!

    And Robyn, so glad you liked my book. I always appreciate when writer friends can find some good things to say about my writing and story! :-) Writers can often be tough critics on books! (At least I am!) So, I'm grateful when I hear writer's compliments!

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  7. I admit the whole process makes self-pubbing more appealing. But I'm just so afraid of making that attempt.

    Altho the results of querying are dismal, there is always hope.

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  8. I'm so excited for T.Anne. It's been a long road for her and now she has someone to join her on that road trip. A good match.
    ~ Wendy

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  9. I think personally it's a sign of your agent and her agency having grown and established themselves. My agent was brand new to her position when she signed me. She signed several others, too. Now she's moved to a new agency (Bradford Lit) and taken some of us with her. She's not accepting queries right now because of the transition but once she gets settled in, she will be...for a while. But how long until she's so overloaded with coordinating her clients' deals that she doesn't really have time for the query system? That's when she stops finding new clients. That would be my one piece of advice for new writers -- don't discount those new agents. New agents will someday be experienced successful agents...

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  10. I missed Rachelle's post about this, but I'm not surprised. I read several blogs by established agents and they take few clients on in general each year. I understand it--they already have a client list full of talented, productive writers and there are only so many hours in each day.

    Very interesting post, Jody!

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  11. I think not giving up is the more important aspect of this. Connecting is huge, but have something offer besides just a great story. If you can offer a career or a strong platform, I think there is more appeal in you as a writer, because that's what most agents are taking on - authors, not just stories.

    So far, love working with Rachelle! She's to the point and gives great advice.

    Thanks for the awesome post!

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  12. I agree with Stephanie that agents close the query door when they have an established client list and simply don't need the added work of reading 800 emails a month. I still get read requests from agents on my MG manuscript, so the door is not completely closed. However, I believe that one day it will be, except for a very few small/new agents that don't have an established list of clients who can help them earn a decent income, just as publishers eventually had to close their doors to unsolicited queries.

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  13. Thanks for the shout out Jody! I am living proof connections are important. I know queries have worked for some people, but perhaps it's the very nature of their structure that causes writers/agents to repel. I think as people interpersonal connections are very important. Great post! I heart you for including me in it. =)

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  14. My novel is being published as a result of being in the "slush pile" at a publishing house. The publisher recently announced they no longer accepted unagented manuscripts. Like you, I feel extremely blessed that my manuscript fell in the right hands at the right time!

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  15. I'll admit it, I'm stuck in the trenches of querying. I'm been pulled out of the slush pile, read, mused over, but have yet to nail my agent. The thing is, I too, am starting to really believe that this business is about building relationships. That is not easy, mind you. You not only need a great product, you need to understand the business of self-promotion and platform. I am committed, to the point of possible insanity, so I will continue to keep my fingers crossed and work on my craft. Thank you for the thoughtful post, I'll check back again.

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  16. From reading Rachelle's blog, I got the feeling that she was getting a little burned out, and I completely understand how that can happen. The thought of 500 new emails a day gives me the itch!

    But there are always new, fresh agents coming out, there are always success stories, and there are always agents saying they "love" finding pearls in the slush.

    So I think the system's still alive and kickin~ ;p

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  17. I think it's all about timing and fate. Each person's novel/piece of writing will eventually fall into the hands of the right people. Patience and time is mostly that is all to be needed.

    The going with a new agent reminds me of youths coming out of college. In order for them to be hired they need experience but in order to gain experience they need to be hired. I would takea chance on a new agent. I've been there before (being the new unexperienced one)

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  18. Is the query system dying? Maybe. Maybe not.:) I had some luck with queries as far as getting requests to see my manuscript by editors. I didn't query more than a couple agents early on and I've been at this for many years.

    I sold my series myself(and then I got an agent, Rachelle Gardner) and I think you can still do that, but you must pay close attention to what is happening, what people are looking for and I can't stress the importance enough of networking. Get to conferences, get your manuscript critiqued at conferences if that's offered as it is at ACFW. Persevere. There are no guarantees.

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  19. I think it's a combination of things. More and more people who "think they can write" are sending in queries just because it's easier than ever with e-queries. And, like you said, if an agent isn't building their client list, but open to new clients, that means they're going to be really picky. All the more reason to ensure your query is as best as it can be.

    Lynnette Labelle

    www.labelleseditorialservices.com

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  20. I would also say that the field is flooded with writers who "think they can write." It's been too easy with email to just send off a bad query, and there in lies the problem. I don't think agents would be so overwhelmed if they stuck to a method that discouraged those who really aren't writers. Agents want convenience, but that comes at the price of burnout. So then there are new rules, like a prospective writer needs to have this wonderful communication going on with their agent of choice. And then when the agent reads said writer's material and decides not to take him/her on (this happened to a friend of mine)? The writer is stuck back at square one trying to build another relationship with another agent. There isn't enough time in a day to attend to a never-ending correspondence and be a good writer at the same time. Sometimes too much just wears everyone down.

    ♥ Mary Mary

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  21. The cold query system doesn't work well now because it's just that - cold. From a single page, an editor or agent is supposed to assess not just the worth of the story idea and the quality of the writing, but also the intangibles - is this writer committed, professional, teachable? When they meet writers at conference or even through blogs, they can assess these vital intangibles much better. Like Jillian, I found my publisher first - at a conference - then signed with my agent. Because I'd gotten to know agents and editors at conferences over five years, I knew whom I wanted to target - and I think they felt more comfortable signing me because they'd seen me every year - I'd persevered. I firmly believe a good writers' conference is the best investment you can make.

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  22. Like you, Jody, my offer of representation came as a result of a contest. I entered several contests in 2009 knowing that if I finaled, my manuscript would be seen by agents and editors serving as final round judges. The entry fared far better than I expected, and it was seen by numerous agents and editors. I received five requests for fulls: three from editors and two from agents. Because I believe having an agent is vital to my career, I sent the story to them first. I was overjoyed when I received my offer of representation from my Dream Agent.

    As you said, Jody, it's important not to rely on the query system alone, but to explore other options for connecting with the publishing professionals.

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  23. The query system worked for me. My agent has signed a handful of other authors this past year, all through queries. It's still possible, though I too was shocked by Rachelle's statistics.

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  24. When I read those stats from Rachelle, I was shocked!! Out of 10,000, not a single contract signed! The query system did work for me, though. I cold-queried my agent (and sent a terrible query letter, too!) in late 2009 and she asked for a proposal and my reply was "What's a proposal?". Eeek! I've obviously learned a lot since then, but I did end up getting a contract. I feel really blessed/fortunate after seeing those stats!

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  25. I was very surprised by those stats on Rachelle's blog. I know the query system still works for some people but I'm not sure it's the best or most efficient way to get your work in front of agents or publishers. I haven't queried widely or much, really, but making connections still seems like a better way to reach agents--whether through social media or even conferences.

    Oh, and congrats again to T. Anne. Great news!

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  26. I'm so pleased to hear T. Anne's news. Congratulations to her!

    I don't think the query system is dying, but it's definitely changing. I was discouraged when Rachelle closed to queries just when I was about to send one off but I've always believed when God closes one door he opens another. I still believe in the current system but will have to be more flexible when it comes to how I pursue my goals. Thanks for helping to renew my determination.

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  27. Your advice is right on target. I said the same thing in an interview recently: unpubbed writers must either look for new agents or make really good connections with established ones and then be VERY patient, like T. Anne has been. Like you, I was offered representation by Rachelle on the basis of a cold query. But that was because I was among the very first to submit to her! And I do not delude myself about what would have happened had I submitted to her today instead of two-and-a-half years ago. The world is full of talented writers, and my first novel was certainly no better than some of the 10,000 cold queries that were rejected last year.

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  28. Interesting stuff. My agency (Nelson Lit) posted their stats for this past year as well---36,000 queries, 9 new clients (me being one of them--yay for that!) But they didn't break out how many were from conferences, referrals, or cold queries. It'd be interesting to know. I landed Sara via a referral from another author I had met via blogging so not a cold query either.

    I think you're right about expanding your approach. I entered a lot of contests and garnered a few full requests from winning a few (one from a publisher who is still considering a manuscript I had subbed before I landed my agent.) So I think that's a good way to get in the door.

    I also went after a new agent. Sara only had one sale I think at the time. Then after I signed with her, she sold 4-5 debut authors back to back in only a few months, including me. So new doesn't mean bad. Just means new(and hungry.)

    And in my case, networking made the difference. I didn't personally know the writer who referred me,just had chatted with her a bit via our blogs. So had I not been out there online, who knows if I'd be where I am right now.

    I don't think querying is dying, but I think as is the case in ALL businesses--personal connections and networking count for a lot.

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  29. I hate sharing the way I got published, the way I got my first agent, the way I hooked up with Rachelle. I know God's hand was in it all, but when I describe the whole wacko process, it seems like a total fluke and no one can glean any helpful tips from it all.

    Kind of like this rambling comment.

    LOVED T. Anne's post!!

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  30. I read that stat on Rachelle's blog too, and no doubt it was discouraging. I guess it's just one more of the many changes in the industry to work around.

    I haven't made it over to T. Anne's blog yet today, so I'll have to pop over there next. :)

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  31. Thank you so much for this post. I wrote ten queries and then decided to stop. I am now focusing on building relationships online and entering contests. I realized my bio needed some chops before anyone would pay attention to my queries. Thanks for confirming the direction I'm choosing. I am now following along here.

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  32. I'm really loving hearing the diversity of opinions here today! Some of you feel like the query system IS changing. Others have mentioned that most agents get to a point where they're established and can't take on many new clients--and that's likely what happened to Rachelle.

    Either way, it seems to me that the numbers of writers querying far exceeds the number of agents that are available (whether new OR well established). And that such an unbalanced query to agent ratio demands our evaluation as a writing community.

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  33. I hope its not dead as I'm just about to enter it, but you've given some great advice and I should probably start with some social sites.

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  34. I gots to get crackin' on my invites to submit!! :)

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  35. Oh my, great post, but... Every time I start thinking about entering contests, etc. I see another plate spinning out there. I did just get my new smart phone, so I'll have better access to twitter. If I only knew how to use it. Thanks for the grounding though. I needed that.

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  36. I think, like in any business, relationships are really important, and in publishing they are becoming more important as social media explodes and puts authors and agents and editors closer together.

    I think about it this way: I might read ten novels that I love about equally, and I imagine that if I was an agent, if I could sign one of those authors, I'd be far more likely to sign the one who I had a personal connection with (via conference, Twitter, what-have-you).

    As for self-publishing, there's a post up over at Hartline Literary's blog (which I found through Jody's blog roll on the right side of the page) that may make you think twice about doing it. It definitely got my attention.

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  37. Not good news for those of us querying in 2011! Will consider the other alternatives. Thanks for this post. :O)

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  38. Hmm, I don't think the query system is dying. Not yet. It may eventually be replaced, but agents NEED authors to be successful and the query system allows them to scan new authors quickly to see if they have any interest in pursuing them further. Will the query system eventually be replaced by something more efficient? Maybe. But I don't see anything coming just yet that would do the filtering for agents yet have no conflicts with the high ethical standards required of agents. It could be just around the corner, but I don't see it yet.

    I do think, though, the query system only works when an agent is seeking new talent. If an agent gets "full" such and doesn't need new clients then it no longer makes sense to wade through all the queries.

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  39. I am still jumping up and down here for T Anne's news:)) And your book made Bestseller list! Wow!
    I so agree with all of your suggestions. Most of all, write a good book and maybe it will shine through all of that stuff:) Dreaming down here in Fl:)

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  40. When I saw that, I was surprised... and a little discouraged. I can't afford a writing conference and I'm about to start querying again. It makes it hard to dream with a statistic that difficult.

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  41. I believe I have to utilize every available method for getting my books in front of agents and editors. I query, I pitch at conferences, and I enter contests in the hope of getting my work in front of editors and agents.

    Great post!

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  42. The system was always rather rude to writers. One sided. Writers had to query one agent or editor at a time, and the agents and editors could take their own sweet time in replying. It could take a writer's lifetime! This new reliance on schmoozing puts some writers, such as those with kids or those without the spare change to hit those conferences, at a terrible disadvantage.

    It just seems to me that the system needs some tweaks to make it more like the rest of life: fair, cordial, welcoming. The business needs better manners.

    PS: I love the Preacher's Bride, too, and this blog.

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  43. Jody, I just realized that while I linked to you this morning, I failed to comment here. It was my first day back homeschooling after a LONG break and I was kinda running around like a crazy person. Anyway, as always, your blog left me with much to think about.

    While I am enjoying the query process right now, I am also attending a writer's conference next month and am going to continue to enter to contests and connect with agents via Twitter and the blogosphere. Thanks as always :-)

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  44. Wow, that is an amazing statistic. The writing world is constantly changing. I remember a best selling author telling me how many years ago when she first started writing she felt it was so much easier to get a foot in the door. She mentioned how tough it can be these days. I guess we just have to keeep on trying though and not give up! I need to go celebrate with T. Anne, I had no idea!!

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  45. Very interesting. I appreciate the info. There are so many budding writers out there and it can be overwhelming to think "How do I do this? Will my writing ever amount to anything"? The old standards of hard work, persistence and relationship-building still seem to be in full swing so that is encouraging!

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  46. First of all, congrats to you on the bestseller list and to T.Anne. Yay!

    Next, let me just point out how sad it is that 10,000 authors were rejected and that Rachelle (or her assistant, if that's the case) spent all that time reading queries that resulted in no clients. A waste of time, to be sure, and sobering stats as well.


    Contest fees and conference registrations can be outside of the budget for many would-be authors, so here's to hoping that new agents continue to pop up, hungry to build their list (as Rachelle was once upon a time)!

    Cyndi
    http://ctefft.blogspot.com

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  47. Jody, thanks for your insightful post today. I'm not quite at the point to submit a query yet. But, found that your comment to look for new agents a great tip. One that will help narrow down the list of agents to put on my list. =)

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  48. The statistics are interesting. Having read The Preacher's Bride, I can only say one thing. Rachelle has good taste and recognises a good book when she sees one! :)

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  49. Wow. I just posted something along these lines today. I DO think it's dying and it's almost impossible to stand out, even if you've written the best query/novel EVER.

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  50. Congrats on getting into the bestseller list, Jody. I was just thinking that next month I should work on my query letter.

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  51. @JodyHedlund would your followers be interested in the new @Tiborjones #pageturnerprize for unpublished novelists? Representation and £1000 for the winning Page Turner http://bit.ly/fY31Dq

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  52. whoa, I can't believe that number! I haven't done any querying yet and the more I hear the more terrified I get! eep! (think I need at least a few dozen fingers to cross!)

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  53. I don't think that querying agents is the wrong way to go, at all. But I do think that you need to do your research well, and choose someone who has space on their list and represents the kind of work you do.
    I suspect that Rachelle, along with other 'high web profile' agents such as Nathan Bransford get/got sent a lot of queries simply because people googled 'literary agent' and they were the first to come up.
    Even if their blogs are fantastic, and even if your work is excellent, you are still going to be struggling to be heard in a great crowd of voices.
    I strongly suspect that with smart targeting of agents there is still every chance that good work will get snapped up.

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  54. I read that statistic too and wow, it was shocking! It's scary for a writer who is just beginning the process of querying. Even with writing experience, I don't have any weighty referrals or connections. I think social media as you said is important these days.

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  55. Hi Jody -

    Awesome news about T.Anne!

    It's funny, but I've never been drawn to the whole querying process. At a recent conference, an agent panel took a poll. Every person said they get their clients through conferences and referrals.

    I'm sure there are exceptions, but how can anyone give 10,000 queries enough attention?

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

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  56. I queried Rachelle in 2009 and didn't get a response, but I kept querying, rewriting my query, etc, and I signed with Jenny Bent in the summer of 2009. Cold query sent to her inbox, no connections, no recommendations. I had never been to a conference and had just started my blog.

    I don't think the query system is dead but I think the way things are now, it makes it much easier for writers who may not be that serious about writing to query. And although as Rachelle pointed out, she isn't buried under actual paper, she probably has even MORE queries and manuscripts to wade through.

    The system worked for me and I believe it can still work for others!

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  57. I can lay claim to being one of Rachelle's 10,000 in '10. I'm in the process of writing my first non-fiction manuscript and sent out approximately 67 unsolicited query letters or emails. In the end, I received three offers of representation and ended up going with Frank Weimann at The Literary Group. I never attended a conference but had I not received my offers in a timely manner, I would certainly be signing up and attending those I felt I could get "face time" with the right agents. Personally selling your ware is still the best method.

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  58. Hey Paul, Congrats on siging on with another literary agency!! That's fantastic! It's interesting to hear your perspective, that even though cold querying worked for you, that you'd still advocate the personal connection.

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  60. These stats are staggering, as are another set I heard at a webinar last week: 36,000 queries received; 200 first pages requested; 50 fulls requested; 9 authors signed. That's an unbelievably small number. I think this is also why we're going to see more and more authors seeking publication through e-pub sites and other non-traditional means.

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  61. Interesting post. I'm a newbie to Twitter but have quickly realized there is an entirely new system of agent-author relating going on that's much more personal than querying. While it's a new skill set for authors to learn - and one more thing to squeeze into our lives - one of the great things about it is that it enables a better personality match. Agents and authors get a better sense of what the other person is like and whether they would want to work together. Yes, it makes the agent/writer search not just about the writing. But ultimately, the working partnership is about so much more than that, anyway.

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  62. VERY good point, Julie. Yes, it is a bit intimidating to think of networking with agents. But you're so right--it does offer writers a way to get to know them and their personalities. A writer may find out that they don't particularly like an agent or may find one they really click with. All the better to find that out before jumping into the partnership.

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  63. I HOPE it's still working, but I can see how it definitely helps to have something else working for you.

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  64. Very depressing to read those stats for those of us who live at the far edge of the world and would have to spend $5k just to GET to any kind of convention.

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  65. It does show that it pays to go to a conference when your manuscript is ready since a positive personal contact can be a good thing. But it's tough if you're not in a position to be able to do that.

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  66. Hi Beth, I agree. It pays to go to conference WHEN you're at the right point in your writing career. Before that, it could be a waste of money (at least on the agent-end of things). Obviously there are other benefits to conferences besides linking up with agents.

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  67. I managed to get signed by cold querying in 2010. It's not an easy road, however, it takes patience and the ability to laugh despite the rejection (because there's quite a bit of that).

    So I wouldn't say the query process is dying (2 other friends of mine were signed in 2010 and 1 signed a few weeks ago--all cold queries), but it is getting more competitive. You have to do a lot of research to make sure you are hitting the right agents and write the best book you can. If you do that, though, there are still opportunities out there.

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  68. I think cold-querying can still work -- it's how I landed my first agent, and my crit partner landed her agent. The key, I think, is to target your queries after tons of research.

    That an agent represents your genre isn't enough to warrant querying them, IMHO -- read the books they've represented, read interviews with them, read their blog/tweets, so that you can better judge if they are a potentially good match for you and your work... that, and a dynamite query letter (no prob, right? lol) that includes the well-researched reason you decided to query them. Doesn't mean you won't get rejections, but I think you greatly improve your odds of getting that elusive YES.

    ymmv... ;)

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  69. Of course, there is always the option of going with a small to mid sized publisher who doesn't require an agent.

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  70. Wow, Jody, interesting post. I had not read this or heard that stat before. It seems like the world of publishing (both books and magazines) has changed so much in the last decade. Who knows how it's going to work down the line? I know I got my agent from a query I sent totally out of the blue; but I'd had years of writing for magazines first, so maybe that was enough of an entry point. I also know that of all the magazine writing I've done over the years, I basically have no personal connections with anyone, don't go regularly to writers' conferences, etc., but just send stuff in, unasked for. It seems like you can still sell that way . . . but maybe it's all changing, as the stats from your agent seem to indicate. Interesting topic! Thanks for opening it up for discussion. (Even if I'm a little late to the party ;))

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  71. Hi Lynn! No you're not too late for the party on my blog! It's ongoing! Yes, times are indeed changing, and as writers we'll have to adjust! :-)

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  72. I, for one, would love to see the current query system radically overhauled.

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