Ready to Query East of Yesterday. Almost.

I started a blog post called “Ready to Synopsize East of Yesterday” but I never finished the post and now I am finished with both the synopsis and the query.

Part of the reason I made so many changes to the story in the last few months is that it proved impossible to synopsize. I have learned that the process of writing a synopsis will make evident every point in your story that sucks. Because you will find it impossible to write that part of the synopsis.

So I did some rewriting.

I generally enjoy writing synopses. I wrote a blog post and an infographic on the subject some time ago. Still, it took me two weeks to get a two-page synopsis that worked. I ended up writing three versions–one that was too detailed but had lots of voice, one that was concise but lacked voice, and a combination of the above. When I finished that, I went back to the query, but I only made a few tweaks to it because I liked it already. So I am ready. Now I need to come up with a querying strategy.

There are several agents who have read my full manuscripts in the past, and who might like this book, even though it is significantly different from anything else I have written. So they are my top choices. But the question is, do I query them first? The reason I ask this, is after one round of querying, I inevitably think of better ways to query/synopsize, and I revise everything and end up with a better query and synopsis.

On the other hand, one hears all the time that one should not put all one’s eggs in one’s basket. Plus, I think the query is damned good as it is. Any improvement I make, at this point, probably won’t be groundbreaking. Besides, none of the so-called improved queries and synopses ever ended up in a sale.

It has been a very long time since I have sent out a query. I have not queried anyone since before I sold The Sevenfold Spell. I really want an agent for this book, so I’ve been going through the old tools I used to use. AAR, AgentQuery and Publisher’s Marketplace still appear prominently in my Google query. AgentQuery used to be my preferred agent search tool, but the data is looking a bit stale, and I don’t see a good way to check how old each entry is. I

Then I thought of QueryTracker–I remember when the guy first launched it because he emailed me. It has a slew of awards, so I created a account (a new one–the old one seems to have been purged). I just spent the last three hours going through 125 agents who accept science fiction, looking for agents who also accept Historical, and giving each of them a closer look. There’s no category for time travel, so science fiction/historical is the next best thing. I whittled it down to 27 agents.

I found quite a few agents who appear to accept all genres, and QueryTracker’s reports tool was especially helpful here. If said agent have not actually requested any fulls or partials for SF or Historical submissions, I passed them over, for now. I think this set of 27 will give me a good place to start. If I go through them without any success, then I’ll look at the rest of the SF lovers.

I forgot how much work this is!

7 thoughts on “Ready to Query East of Yesterday. Almost.”

  1. Yes, good luck! {Smile}

    It sounds like it’s coming along great. I wish I could I wish I could help you with where to send the queries first, but that’s a side of writing I know only in theory, myself. {Smile}

    A.E.B.

  2. Oy–I don’t miss this part of the business at all 🙂 (Although everything that comes after is also fraught with stuff) When I got to the point of querying my third book, after sending the first one out to LOTS of people (it had over 60 rejections) and the second one out to much fewer, I picked my top three choices and sent to them first. One said no, one said “I like the story but you have to change the voice” (uh, no), and the third loved it but had just signed something too close, so passed me on to another agent in her agency who loved it and signed me. (Ironically, that agent was next on the list.) So my advice is send first to the ones you really want. Good luck!

    1. Thank you, Deborah. Interesting how you got more selective over time. I guess you knew what you had!

      I do have the option of sending it directly to my editor, but I really want to try for an agent first, this time.

  3. Congratulations. This isn’t a place I can offer advice, not quite being there myself -which makes it really nice for me that you’re talking about it. 🙂

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