STATUS: Auction day tomorrow. Always fun.
What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? HOT STUFF by Donna Summer
I can’t help but think of the movie The Full Monty whenever this song pops up on the iPod. Always good for a smile.
I must admit that I’ve been a little behind on query reading so Sunday evening, I sat down to power through them. You are reading the above title correctly. I averaged less than 60 seconds for each query read.
If your pitch wasn’t, well, pitch perfect, I was hitting the pass button.
Here’s something agents hardly ever reveal (and this of course could only apply to me so take it with a grain of salt) but I honestly believe that your chances of grabbing an agent’s attention decreases in the warm summer months.
Quite frankly, I’d rather be outdoors doing something fun rather than reading. I feel the exact opposite in winter months. I’m happy staying home and catching up. Consequently, if I were to look at my client list, I probably took on more clients during the winter months than I do during the summer.
Not a hard and fast rule by any means but something to keep in mind.
So Sunday I’m reading 68 queries. I actually only asked for sample pages for 10 of those queries. You’d be right to think that the ratio was small. So what was up?
Here’s what I saw:
1) At least 10 YA dystopian queries where I didn’t think the concept felt original enough for what is a crowded market.
2) 5 queries for literary novels that said there was a commercial bent but I wasn’t seeing it in the query lettr. They sounded too literary for what I can take on and be successful with.
3) Several queries from writers that we had passed on but they had revised and wanted to know if we would read again. Right now I’m too pressed for time to give something a second read so I passed.
4) Several authors looking for new representation but I didn’t think we’d be a good fit given what they were currently writing and what has been appealing to me as of late.
5) Several middle grade novels that the queries themselves sounded too didactic. I didn’t take a chance to read the sample pages fearing the same.
6) Several steampunk fantasies that obviously pay homage to Gail Carriger but sounded a bit too romance or derivative for what I’d take on considering I rep Gail Carriger.
7) Lots of epic fantasy queries from a previous blog post where I mentioned that editors were more open to seeing these stories as of late. But it’s hard. Most of these queries were a bit too generic and you really have to make your fantasy pitch stand out. I particularly liked the one where the writer instructs me it’s not the “typical fantasy” as this one has character development. Like that’s the original element. Trust me, I’ve read a lot of epic fantasy and all the terrific ones have great original concepts and excellent character development. You are going to need both.
Then of course there were the 10 queries I asked sample pages for.
One query startled a laugh out of me. That got a request. Another was a really charming middle grade novel. The query was inventive, well written, and charming in and of itself. I had to ask for sample pages. The writer left me no choice.
I only have August and September before the weather turns cool again so I’m looking for reasons to say NO. Come first snowfall, I’ll probably be looking for reasons to say YES.