Happy New Year, everyone!
I tell you what, there’s nothing quite like returning to the office to face 123 queries in your inbox. PEOPLE. Publishing closes down over the holidays, and trust me, you don’t want to be 1/123rd of your prospective agent’s grunt of “UGH” when they open their inbox after the holidays — they have plenty of other work that has built up. Avoid avoid avoid sending queries from December 18th – January 8th and the week before and after the fourth Thursday in November.
Of course, I ended up requesting four partials out of those 123, so what do I know?
On to the stats! Now that I’ve been doing this query stat thing for a while, it’s interesting to see the trends. Admittedly these are small and subjective sample sizes, but the gap between suspense/thriller/mystery (which is the perennial leader) and YA has continued to narrow, with 23 suspense to 19 YA. And this week’s unusually popular category award goes to male ennui: 8 were firmly in the “disaffected man goes on road trip/embarks on journey of self-discovery/decides that the world is full of BS” category. I guess these authors weren’t exactly feeling the Christmas spirit.
Young Adult: 19
Women’s Fiction: 10
Male Ennui: 8
Literary fiction: 7
Science fiction: 6
Short story collections: 6
Middle grade: 5
Historical fiction: 4
Politics/Current Events: 2
Picture book: 1
No freaking idea: 3
Of these 123, 36 were personalized (a sad 29%) and 8 began with rhetorical questions.
Other fun categories:
Queries that bragged about the amount of violence and/or sex in the novel: 3
Questions about my interests that could have been easily answered if the person had Googled my name: 2
Mentioned that relatives and/or friends loved their work: 3
Queries that were obviously mass-mailed to a thousand agents (often with every agent’s e-mail address included so we can all see where it was sent): 3
“Read receipt” turned on: 1 (much better!)
Follow up questions: 2
Addressed “Dear Sirs” or to the wrong agent: 4
Addressed “Dear Nate” (it’s “Nathan”): 1
Last fun (or not so fun) fact: only one of the four partials I requested was personalized. The query “rules”? OUT THE WINDOW!