Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Querying more than one project at a time

 Yesterday's blog post drew a comment from Jennifer R. Donohue

I'd been operating under the (pre plague, perhaps) notion that querying multiple projects at once was frowned upon? I don't know if I read that advice here however, and we know how these kind of nebulous Things That Are Done™ get shared around without attribution sometimes, and are permutations of what us querying writers on the hamster wheel have extrapolated, vs. being things that actual agents have said.

Response times are horrifying, harrowing, abysmal. I've had a full out for what will be a year on Wednesday (with nudges and communication, not radio silence.)


Querying more than one project at the same time seems like a database nightmare to me, BUT the reality of response time, and the prevalance of no-response-means-no require an adjustment of acceptable practices.

 Waiting a year is not unheard of, I'm sorry to say.

There are some very good writers who are being very patient with me right now, and I'm truly grateful my doormat does not have flaming bags of kangaroo poop on alternate Saturdays.


If you've queried enough agents and not heard back, it makes sense to query a second project.

You might want to query a new batch of agents instead of just sending to the same list you used before.


I have a regular querier who has queried me probably a dozen times this year for different things.

I haven't mentioned to him that a dozen unsold projects in a year isn't something I think is a plus.

 To me, it means you've got a dozen things that are half baked. Revising and thinking take time. If you're churning out a ms every three months, I'm doubtful you're doing much thinking or revising.

 But if you're not speed querying, you do need to keep your career moving.

Querying a second project makes sense.

Now the question is, do you mention the first project?

I suggest you not.

No sense in making the agents in Round 2 look like second choice.

No sense in making your project sound like the first runner up.





Steve Forti said...

Always looking to find the exceptions to the rule so we can know when to break them. That's us. So my question is in response to your comment at the end. When querying for a second book to an agent that rejected your first book - let's say that agent had requested the full first book, would you now, two years later, mention that when querying for the new book? Would you open with that ("hey buddy, you liked me some but not enough last time, remember that?") or at the end? Would that be more or less likely to get you a chance for a request?

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I wonder how the strike at (is it Random House?) is impacting the already glacial slowness of publishing? Is there any chance that after all this disruption that things might improve in publishing? If you've been waiting over a year for one project, I do think querying the next is fine. Does not sound like publishing is speeding up at the moment. Might as well get another option out there.

Good luck.

Janet Reid said...

The strike is at HarperCollins.
As far as most of us are concerned, everything at HC is pretty much at a dead stop.

AJ Blythe said...

Jennifer, I recently hit the two year mark on a full before I heard back from an agent. One of the comments I received was that covid has made things far worse in publishing, particularly for debut authors. That while people were reading more, they were reading favourite authors and not trying new things, so the last couple of years wasn't the best time to be a debut author.

Janet, there is a shortage of flaming roo poo for writers because everyone DownUnder has halted exports and are using said bags to keep ourselves warm (it snowed in the hills here yesterday - the same week 8 years ago was 36'C/97'F). I don't think you have to worry about your doormat for quite some time :)

I haven't heard of any strike at HarperCollins. Off to Google to find out what's happened!