The XYZ Affair

Dear Miss Snark,

I have a manuscript I am about to query, and I have been researching agents. One of my dream agents doesn't appear to represent my genre (historical fiction), but she, I discovered, represents three authors, who write in very different genres, and whose work I happen to admire very much. Should I not even bother with the query or should I try it, assuming it likely won't work, but tell her I'm querying her because of authors X, Y, and Z?

Query widely.
The worst that can happen is you hear no and spend two stamps.
Besides, I always read query letters from people who like my authors.


Anonymous said...

Exactly how many agents should I query?

I've queried 15 so far and I've got some requests for partials and nice comments but no offers.

I have a feeling I could find a list of at least 60 agents total that sound good, are interested in my genre, are from separate agencies etc. Should I plan to query all 60 if it comes to that?

Maybe I could find more than 60, I haven't looked that far ahead yet. Should I be planning to query 100 or more?

Anonymous said...


lizzie26 said...

To:Making A List--
The fact that you got some requests for partials probably means (a) your query is good and (b) the premise of your book is good.

If the partials, though, aren't becoming requests for fulls, I'd revisit the manuscript. Does it hook the reader by the end of the first page? Is the writing good?

And yeah, it can take many queries to get an agent.

Anonymous said...

it took me lots of queries before i found my agent. funny how it worked out -- i queried someone, who passed it on to a collegue at the same agency. the process is like dating; you don't know who is going to be the right fit.

Anonymous said...

If querying is like dating (which is beginning to look like the case!) I'm in for a long, rocky ride - Lol!

Anonymous said...


I wish it was like dating. My husband told me he loved me before he even asked me out for our first drink together. Then he proposed on the third date.

For me, querying agents is more like finding the perfect pair of jeans. I'm still looking, but I'm also prepared for the eventuality that I'll never find pants freaking long enough, ever. Or big enough in the ass.

Anonymous said...

My God.

I have NEVER seen so many allegedly professional people and writers obsess over some many trivial points completely out of their control and ignore protocol and common sense and etiquette.

Miss Snark says it time and time again for those paying attenion, good writing gets noticed.

Write well and professionally and be first class and patient and move to the front of the class instead of e-mailing people at 6am.

Anonymous said...

Oh, man, I wish! I was lucky enough to get an agent in about 7 or 8 tries. But I've been single for deserts of vast eternity. Hey, Miss Snark, don't suppose you fancy doing a dating column? ;-)