Monday, August 20, 2012

8/18 Chum Bucket Results

There were 35 total queries this week which feels much closer to the right number. The big drop is in people querying for categories I don't take on.

Here's the rundown on this week's results:

Category I don't take on: 5 (there were 21 last week)

I reply to these but it's just a very plain "I don't do YA fantasy" kind of thing. It's not a problem to send them, but the answer isn't going to be all that useful.

Didn’t get my interest or attention: 4
Often times writers are sending good serviceable novels but they just don't gleam enough to catch my attention. A lot of these are first novels, and I think writers have to write them, but then it's time to move on to the second novel. I'm looking for something I haven't seen before. A new take on an old trope. Almost every agent I know says this same thing.

A category I don't much like or have affinity for: 3
I'm not much on historical fiction set in the US but I do like historical fiction set in other places. So, this isn't "I don't do this category" but it's "I don't do this subset" I also don't much like satire, or quiet domestic dramas.

Referred onward: 3

Not for me, but query someone else and tell them I said to do so.

Overused tropes: 2
If you describe your main character in a way that evokes more than one successful series, a Die Hard movie, or lots of the old TV shows on Netflix, it's overused. I'm not looking for overused. I'm looking for something I haven't seen before; a fresh perspective on the old tropes.

No plot: 2
Generally this means no stakes. You have to tell me what's at stake in a novel or I don't care what happens. If I don't care what happens, I don't want to read it.

Memoir without the larger picture: 2

The larger picture means what value is this story to the reader. Without that, it's a story like every one else's. Why this one?

Mismatched tone/content or comps: 1

If you've got a serious subject and a whimsical tone, or a comp titles by authors who started publishing 20 years ago, you've got a problem. (Guys with 20 year publishing careers have more leeway in what they write than debuts)

Can't sell: 1

Too scary: 1
Lovecraft! nooooooo

Writing isn't polished enough in query to give me confidence in the pages: 5

Send a badly written query and I suspect it's a badly written novel. This is not to say that all hot mess queries are badly written.

Made the QueryShark weep bitter tears: 2
Those who claim to have read QueryShark but put their contact info at the top of the page send the Shark into existential despair: SarteShark is not what you want swimming about. Really.

First draft writing: 1

Not bad writing, just not polished.

No fucking pages: 1
A query that might have survived, but failure to include pages would have led to a form rejection in the unchummy bucket.

Requests for fulls: 1
Yea. One in 35. Those aren't bad odds.


Margot Galaway said...

Just a note to thank you for your wonderful generosity. I hope one day to be ready for the shark.

Wendy said...

Love the chum bucket!

Lucie Brooks said...

To clarify, will you consider YA in a genre you rep, such as YA thriller or YA mystery?
Thank you!

Laura Hughes, MittensMorgul said...

Aw, no love for Lovecraft? And today's his birthday, too!

Anonymous said...

You ARE very generous. It's the only time I've garnered a rejection, but still won a prize. Thanks for your comments on my query.

Janet Reid said...

Lucie, no, not usually. YA is just not my strong suit despite repping two incredible YA authors.

Heidi Schulz said...

Janet - I am so happy you are doing this. You have made sharks my very favorite animal.
One question - if you [hypothetically] refer someone on and they [hypothetically] do not get a response, should they suck it up and move on or give a gentle nudge?
Thanks again!