Wednesday, May 22, 2019

pages with a query

I'm about to query an agent who asks for a query letter and the first ten pages of the ms. My first chapter runs to 11 pages and a bit. I don't think it would be a deal killer simply to send 10 pages as specified, but would rather send the whole chapter. Would that be a deal killer do you think?

Oh please,  you'd rather send the whole book if you could!
That's the whole reason query guidelines specify  the number of pages to include in a query.

If the agent asks for the first 3-5 pages, you should send 750-1250 words.

If the agent asks for the first 10 pages, you can send 2500 words.

There is a  wiggle factor here is so you don't have to end mid-sentence (do NOT do this, it's maddening)

Try to end at the end of a paragraph.

And of course, ending at the close of chapter is ideal.

BUT you can't send 17 pages to do any of that.

750-1250 words +/- about 10% or 125 words

2500 words +/- 10%  or 250 words (which is about a page)

So 11 pages is probably fine.
I don't know anyone who actually passes on a project if you send 11 rather than 10.

I do know a whole raft of agents who are annoyed when you send the whole manuscript with a query. And it doesn't do you any good, I won't read much past six or seven pages.  (I ask for 3-5 pages in the query)


Gigi said...

OP - I've been rounding to the nearest scene break or chapter end and it hasn't come back to bite me (I have a decent request rate).

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Just the idea of ending mid-sentence would

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I am so relieved when an agent I want to query asks for pages with the queries. A couple of the agents at the top of my list only want a query. Just a query. I have to nail my query. It is making me nauseous.

But yeah, I figured a 1 page wiggle room was there in this kind of situation. Send the chapter, OP - what is the worst that could happen? However, do not send the chapter to an agent who asks only for 3-5 pages. Ok, back to the purgatory of earning a living by sitting in a cube all day.

Brenda said...

Make the font really tiny and don’t double space or make chapter breaks.

Craig F said...

The protocols of e-mail doesn't allow page breaks. The absence of the tab function also causes extra line spaces in a lot of places. Those make it an effort to tell how many words are in a sample.

Most agents will not put that effort into a query. If it entices them, they will ask for more. If it doesn't entice, they hit that big, red reject button.

Just like a video game. Do it right and pass to the next level, no need to find out how the game engine works.

Selerial said...

For some reason, I’m now very sure there are people out there who cut off their pages mid sentence on purpose, in hopes it’ll make the agent request the full. You know. Just to see what happens.

RebeccaB said...

I love when someone else asks the same question I've been wondering. Yay!