[CLOSED] Ask Us Anything! Beth and Victoria will answer your query questions HERE from 12-3PM EST!


Today is the day! From 12-3PM EST, Victoria Lowes and Beth Phelan will answer your pressing questions about queries, the art of querying, the agonizing rejections, the energizing requests and offers, and anything else related to queries that you can think of! We promise transparency and minimal bathroom breaks. 

Please remember that Beth and Victoria are human beings and this is a subjective business – nothing they say is meant to be taken as a hard and fast rule of querying, but they offer their honest answers and hope that gives you some perspective. 
Please also remember to keep your questions broad and not too specific to your unique situation as we want all the questions and answers to help other authors too!
They’ll answer as many questions as they can between 12PM and 3PM EST when duty calls and they have to return to their magnificent clients. 
Post your questions in the comments section BELOW this blog post. Comments will be moderated so please wait a few minutes before trying to repost.
Thanks for joining us!


[EDIT 3:02PM EST] We are now closed to questions! Thank you all so much for bringing so many wonderful questions! 

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112 Responses to [CLOSED] Ask Us Anything! Beth and Victoria will answer your query questions HERE from 12-3PM EST!

  1. John Strong says:

    Hello! Thanks for doing this! My question:
    If an agent rejects an initial query, will the agent let the author know if they are open to future queries? If not, when is it appropriate for the writer to write back about another manuscript the agent may be interested in? (For instance, what if the author has two other picture book manuscripts besides the one that she/he submitted?)

  2. Beth Phelan says:

    Thanks for the question! Yes, we are generally always open to queries from authors for other work. I wouldn't query for multiple projects at once, and would query only one project widely at a time. But a no for one sub isn't a no to you!

  3. John Strong says:

    Thank you!

  4. Good Morning, Beth and Victoria. Is there a specific time period in which you would consider looking at a re-query of a work that you had rejected? Beth provides wonderful feedback to many who query her. After following her suggestions and improving a manuscript, would you look at a second query? Thanks. Beth

  5. Anonymous says:

    What are your thoughts on re-querying an agent who has already rejected your initial query and sample pages, IF both your query and novel have gone through MAJOR revisions? (i.e. you queried before your letter and novel were truly ready).

    Also, can you please provide guidelines on how to approach this, if you say it's okay to re-query? I.e. For example do you tell the agent that months ago you jumped the gun and that the novel has gone through extensive revisions?

    Thank you both so much!!!!

  6. DK says:

    Regarding book pitches, are agents/publishers more receptive to singular novels or a multi-book series?

  7. Beth Phelan says:

    Hi Beth! If you agreed with the feedback and revised according to the agent's suggestions, then sure, it never hurts to ping them to see if they'd be interested in looking at a revised. We won't always request, but it does not hurt to ask. Thanks for the question!

  8. aightball says:

    A couple of questions:

    1. I've had people tell me "your book is women's fiction!"…which is great…except the MCs are guys. So if someone wants women's fiction, does this book count? Right now it's being queried as Contemp. LGBT

    2. Is it a hard and fast rule not to query agents and small presses at the same time? I only ask because from two separate contests, a small press and an agent made a request, so I submitted to both. Did I break a cardinal rule of querying?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Is it the worst idea ever to query a MG ms that's fully outlined, but only 2/3 written?

  10. Beth Phelan says:

    Thanks for the question! I would say that there is nothing stopping you from re-querying that agent, and it might catch their eye – you never know! But make sure you aren't pinning everything on one agent and are moving forward and querying other agents as well.

    I would definitely mention that you had queried previously on such date, but the pitch and pages had changed.

  11. Thanks for your question! I think this depends on the agent. As for me, I'm don't necessarily prefer stand-alone or series. It depends on what works for that project. That said, if you think your work does have series potential- please let us know!

  12. Beth Phelan says:

    Hi there and thanks for your question! It's probably not the BESTTTT idea to start querying something that isn't actually ready to be read. I suggest finishing the ms, and then probably going through revisions and crits, before moving onto querying.

  13. 1. I'd suggest categorizing your project in whatever way you think is best.

    2. This is certainly not a hard & fast rule- authors have gotten agents after receiving an offer from a small press. That said, if you do have the offer (& are inclined to take it) you will be limiting how widely the agent can submit your work. In your case, I'd say it's fine since your double submission is the result of contests. Just be sure to let the agents you're querying know if you do get an offer from the small press!

  14. Thanks for the answer and sorry about the repeat!

  15. Anonymous says:

    What's the state of New Adult in the publishing world? Is it becoming easier or harder to sell?

  16. Beth Phelan says:

    Great question! And tough to answer! I'm not the most well-versed agent when it comes to New Adult but from what I can tell, and what editors have told me, I think it's a growing category. I've heard that eds are looking for New Adult that isn't strictly romance, they want NA that goes beyond that. Original content as well. Of course, they still love the NA romance too, but I think it's less limited now than it has been in the past. I've spoken to editors that are very excited about their recent NA acquisitions that are psychological thrillers.

    It's not necessarily "easy" or "hard" to sell. I think every submission takes work, no matter what it is.

  17. Hi! If a novel is a "younger" YA (MC is 13-14), does it make sense to say it has middle grade crossover potential, or is that assumed? Thanks!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Hello –

    First off, thanks for doing this!

    My question: Chick lit has such a negative connotation these days. What alternative genre could I use as a classification? I see my manuscript being read by women who enjoy a healthy dose of humor in their fiction.

  19. Rita Sawyer says:

    How do you feel about working with Hybrid authors?

  20. Kristen says:

    If an agent has rejected a submission but with the specific comment that she would like to review future work from me, should I mention this in the query letter for a new project?

  21. Hi Kristen! I think you should just say that your novel is younger YA. The agent will be able to tell for themselves if your work has cross-over potential.

  22. Beth Phelan says:

    Hi Rita! Thanks for this question. I personally love working with hybrid authors because they are so good at marketing themselves.

  23. Hi there! Definitely.

  24. Hello! Just wondering how much an authors current platform (or lack of) effects your decision to request a MS or offer representation? Also, what can a previously unpublished writer do to improve this section of their query and catch your attention? Thanks!

  25. Anonymous says:

    An agent recently tweeted: Watch your use of italics as inner monologue.

    Do you agree with this? And how do you think an agent would react to an italicized word in a query? ….ie…How much is too much? It feels like one wrong thing could kill someone's chance!

    Thanks!

  26. Lots has been written about literary agencies with self-publishing arms. Some agents are also authors in their own right. Just wondering: How do agents deal with these multiple roles and priorities? Is there a hybrid-agent model?

  27. Hello! If your novel is chick lit, then be proud to call it chick lit πŸ™‚ Agents who are looking for it (like myself) don't believe it has a negative connotation! Also, a good project is a good project, no matter what you classify it as.

  28. 1. What is an acceptable range for the word count of a novel?
    2. If an author had a freelance editor work on their MS, do you want to know that in the query?

    Thanks!!

  29. Anonymous says:

    What are your thoughts on querying a second MS when a first MS is in the hands of agents (they requested fulls)? The second MS is polished, ready to query, and several agents who rejected the first MS asked to see another project. Is it poor form to go ahead and query second MS or better to wait until all agents are heard from on the first MS? Thank you for your time.

  30. Beth Phelan says:

    Hi Katrina! For me, it definitely depends on whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction. For fiction, it doesn't matter. A damn good book is a damn good book and I won't necessarily care if you have 4 Twitter followers (but I wouldn't NOT care if you had like 100k).

    But for certain types of non-fiction, your platform will matter. And I don't just mean your social media following, but whether you are a trusted voice in your field.

  31. Hello! Well if it's a agent's' pet peeve, then it would matter more to them. Personally, whether a word/phrase is italicized would not make or break a query letter for me.

  32. Beth Phelan says:

    Hi Laurel! Thanks for this question. Honestly, I have CRAZY respect for any agents that are also authors. As a young-ish agent, my job is kind of my life right now so you just make it work for you. It's the same as wondering how someone with a full-time job can also write — we make time for what's important in our lives. And as an agent's role changes, we change too. Our job is to sell books and protect our authors, and what that actually means changes all the time.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Hi Victoria and Beth! Thank you so much for doing this! I have two questions for you both:

    1) How long does it typically take for you to read a requested full manuscript and respond to the writer?
    2) What factors would influence you to give an R&R as opposed to a rejection on a full manuscript?

    Thanks again!

  34. Hey there. For the purpose of just streamlining your submissions, I'd wait until you've heard back from all the agents regarding MS #1 before going out with MS #2. That way if you get an offer of rep for the 2nd MS, all the agents who have the first one don't have to rush to read both manuscripts.

  35. Beth Phelan says:

    Oooh, these are good, especially the second one. Thanks for asking!

    1. It can take me anywhere from ONE DAY to a few months to respond to a full. Some weeks are just busier than others.

    2. I'm still figuring this out and I think it's different for every agent. For me, if I'm reluctant to see that author go with another agent, and I think that the changes wouldn't be too much work, but would make a big difference, then I would ask for an R+R. If it seems that the changes would be too much and I really don't have that feeling in my gut that makes me NEED to rep that project, then I'd rather let it go for another agent to fall in love with.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Ah Victoria, I would love to query you! My research has shown that last year your focus was on digital first, is this still true as of today?

  37. I do both digital-first & traditional print so send your query on over! πŸ™‚

  38. Anonymous says:

    I'll send it today!

    Again, a big thanks to both you and Beth for doing this, it is so helpful!

  39. Hi Beth and Victoria! Thanks for putting this on!

    In your opinion, are there months that are better for querying or worse for querying? Such as around Christmas or peak conference time, etc. How does that affect your submissions / requests. Are there "better times" when you normally see a submission lull?

  40. Pizzos3.com says:

    Good Afternoon Victoria and Beth! Wow, I'm a little starstruck even hundreds of miles away. My question is regarding diverse books and multicultural authors.
    Although We Need Diverse Books is an amazing movement, the reality for multicultural books and authors seems to be that they are still very limited when it comes to shelf space and representation in the market. Also through hours and hours of research few agents represent authors of color.

    Can we get an honest preview of how diverse books are pitched, marketed and sold internationally?

    Also can multicultural authors request a more mass appeal marketing strategy once the books have been accepted?

  41. Beth Phelan says:

    We get this question a lot and it can be difficult to answer. The trick is, you have control over when you send the query, but not over when the agent actually reads it. So if you send it at Christmas, that's not a great time to be reading queries for most of us. But that doesn't mean I won't read it eventually — like when I get back to the office in January. We may close during Christmas and summer months just so that we don't return to the office with a sky-high slush pile. But if we don't, and you send your query, it'll still get read. Send it when it's ready!

  42. Jennifer says:

    How important is formatting on a manuscript submission? Specifically, starting chapters halfway down the page… It seems like a waste of space. The way I have mine set up now, I'm starting chapters at the top of the page. I think everything else is pretty standard though – double spaced, times new roman, etc. Would love your feedback on this. Obviously if it makes a difference I'd re-structure. Thanks!

  43. Anonymous says:

    Hello Victoria and Beth. Thanks for the Q&A.

    What would you like to see on your desk today in terms of YA & MG?

    Thank you.

  44. Anonymous says:

    What is your perspective on calculating word count? I've read a lot of conflicting information about using MS Word word count versus estimating 250 words per page. My women's fiction manuscript is 120,000 words according to the computer word count, but is just under 400 pages (properly formatted, double spaced, 12 point font) due to the pithy narration and dialogue. I want to be sure that I'm accurately conveying the length in my query, and since I've heard that anything over 100,000 words can be an automatic rejection for some, I want to make sure that I'm doing things properly. Thank you so much!!

  45. Anonymous says:

    Hi! On material that was requested, like a partial or a full, do those have 'no response means no'? If it's been about say six months, should we just consider it a CNR, or nudge a second time?

  46. Hello! I don't represent MG but for YA, I'm always looking for realistic contemporary, romance, historical fiction & thrillers/suspense novels.

  47. Hey there. Everyone has their own preferences on this (I just did a mini-poll here in the office.) Personally, as long as it's double-spaced, 12 point, Times Roman, I don't care if the chapters start at the top or middle of the page.

  48. Beth Phelan says:

    Wow, this is a tough question! But a good one! And one we are all definitely thinking about and trying to find answers ourselves. The truth is that it still just comes down to the book and the writing (for me anyway). We want diverse characters and authors, but we also want great storytelling and development.
    We aren't necessarily looking to appeal to only readers of a certain culture, but always looking for ways to bring these diverse characters and authors to a wide readership.

  49. Beth Phelan says:

    I want to see so many things! I'm really into magical realism right now, and stuff that is just sort of weird. Great writing above all. Maybe something a little literary.

  50. Hello! If an agent hasn't responded yet, that means your MS is still under consideration. Sometimes we just get really behind on our reading πŸ™‚ I would say just send over another nudge.

  51. Beth Phelan says:

    If it takes 120,000 words to tell your story the BEST way, then that's just the word count. I've requested things over 100k words because it sounded awesome. I wouldn't try to lie or stretch the truth in your query though! And if the agent auto-rejects just because of the word count, then you're better off going with someone who really believes in the book.

  52. Jennifer says:

    Thanks, Victoria! That's what I figured. As long as it's not a deal breaker I'll probably leave it as is. πŸ™‚

  53. Anonymous says:

    Hello,

    If a novel is set as the world is ending, should it automatically be queried as dystopian fiction? Mine is an action-adventure/love story with a female lead (adult), so it feels like it could fall into other genres, or is at least a blend, so I'm wondering how to classify it.

    Thanks for your help!

  54. Beth Phelan says:

    Hmm, well, dystopian covers all sorts of worlds so I think it depends on what your world actually is. Just because your world is about to end doesn't mean it's dystopian. But if you're scared of the term and not sure it even applies to your work, there are two things you can do. First, research similar titles and see how they are classified. Second, either embrace the genre or else classify as speculative if that makes the most sense for your novel. I hope that helps!

  55. Anonymous says:

    Thank you both!

  56. Hi Victoria and Beth! Thank you for taking the time to do this for us aspiring writers. My question is this: when trying to find comp titles to your book what should be the most important criteria? Should I be looking for similar stories or similar writers? Should the writers and books I comp mine to be contemporary? I'm finding it very difficult to do this and I'm sure other writers are as well.

  57. Beth Phelan says:

    Also, watch our blog because we are posting monthly round-ups of what we are particularly hungry for. End of every month!

  58. Hi Johnny! The books you comp can be similar either in the storyline or in the writing style/tone. Both are very helpful. They don't necessarily have to be contemporary- unless that's what works best for your project, of course- they just have to accurately represent some facet of your novel, whether that be your story structure, your writing style, your characters, your plot or subject matter. Also, be sure to specify what links your work to your comp titles!

  59. Anonymous says:

    In your opinion, what is an appropriate amount of time to nudge an agent with a partial or full (if the agent has no guidelines listed)? Will a polite nudge, say after a few months, annoy an agent?

  60. Hi Beth and Victoria, Thanks for guiding us on the query-ship! I'm wondering what the Bent Agency's guidelines are for re-querying. If an agency (like yours) has previously requested a full MS, then declined it, after revisions, is it acceptable to re-query the same book again?
    In my case, I've received a lot of feedback (good, not-so-good, and helpful) from full MS requests. After taking the numerous agents advice, I'm never sure if I can knock on the same door again…

  61. I'd say that a nudge after a month is totally fine.

  62. Beth Phelan says:

    Thanks for your question! Usually an agent will ask to see a revision if they want to. But if they don't, that doesn't mean you are barred from subbing again! It never hurts to ask just as long as you are up front and let them know they had already considered.

  63. Rita Sawyer says:

    When submitting say a contemporary romance. Should the author mention if it also has rom com or chick lit feel? Or would you rather they stick it one genre?

  64. Thank you, Victoria!

  65. Sometime it feels as though a MS can go through revision forever. In your opinion when is a MS ready to be submitted? How much do they change through the process in a typical publishing situation?

  66. I'd say to go with whatever ultimately describes your book the best. If you think it has elements of two genres, it's fine to say that as long as you specify which elements of each genre apply.

  67. Beth Phelan says:

    Well, I think this will depend on the agent. But there are so many agents, so many authors, and so many GREAT projects that it can be risky to send something out that you don't believe is at its best. I will go through revisions until I feel like I've helped all I can. At that point, it's up to the editor. And often, they will have their own revisions as well that can take another round or more!

  68. Perfect. Thanks so much, Beth!

  69. Anonymous says:

    Hi Beth and Victoria,

    I write under a pen name, and that's what my social media accounts and website are registered under. I've heard that agents sometimes google authors after reading a query, but I worry if I only mention my real name they won't get the relevant search results. Should I mention my pen name in the query letter? Or is there a way to simply link directly to my social media accounts and website?

    Thanks in advance!

  70. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, Victoria.

  71. Hello! Thanks so much for your question. You should definitely include your pen name for the exact reasons you mentioned. You can always sign your query with "real name w/a pen name." You can also include your twitter handle, Facebook link, website/blog link all in your signature. That's always helpful!

  72. Paige says:

    Hi Beth and Victoria. Thanks so much for this opportunity to ask questions! It's much appreciated. I have a couple:

    What genre seems to be starting to oversaturate the YA market? That is, what looks like it's fixing to be the next paranormal romance or dystopian?

    What are query letter mistakes that you see good writers (people whose pages you like) make?

  73. Anonymous says:

    It does, Beth, thank you so very much!!

  74. Thanks, Beth! I have a completed MS and a synopsis but I'm hesitant to start the query process, of which I know so little. However, its good to know that agents will go through revisions if they see holes in a work.

  75. Beth Phelan says:

    This is a tricky question, but a good one! I haven't seen anything totally oversaturating the market just yet. I think we're still getting out from under paranormal and dystopian. We're seeing a lot of contemporary YA selling. It's always been selling, but I think there's been a bit of a bump. Which doesn't mean it's oversaturated.

    As for mistakes, I don't know if I've seen any sort of trend. I guess one mistake would be not giving us enough of the story in your pitch, and just going straight to embedding pages.

  76. Beth Phelan says:

    Send it out when you feel you've done everything you can to get it ready. That's all you can really do, right? πŸ™‚

  77. Hi Beth and Victoria! What a cool idea to answer questions in real-time. Here's my question: how does an agent determine what imprints are best for a particular ms?

  78. Anonymous says:

    Hi Beth and Victoria! Thanks so much for doing this.

    My question is more about a writer's publishing history. If a writer self-published books that are not-so-stellar (say, oh, poetry when they were an angsty teen ten years ago), will this hurt their later writing career? Apparently certain websites won't take down listings if the books sold any copies. Would this deter an agent if they Google the writer?

    Thanks in advance!

  79. How much should we give away in a pitch/synopsis? Should the ending be laid bare or should we stick to only characters of relevance to the plot and the stakes?

  80. mandawhite says:

    Hello! I have been querying several agents and have received rejection after rejection. How do I know when it's time to give up and realize my book isn't ready to be published? Or should I keep trying hoping for someone to like it? I've been feeling so discouraged! πŸ™‚

  81. Beth Phelan says:

    Thanks for this question! Oh, that angsty teen poetry coming back to haunt us. We all know that feeling. I think that if you've scrubbed what you can, and it's not terribly offensive if ever found (I hope!) then you should be fine. For self-published books, it's not like we can use that to help sell your next book, but it won't actually hurt if the new book you have is strong. It's all about moving forward. Unless you self-published a book about kicking puppies — then I might think twice… πŸ˜‰

  82. Hi Leslie! Each imprint has their own brand so we know which ones would be a better for commercial projects, which would be more suited for literary projects, etc. and definitely take that into consideration when submitting project. I think it's even more important though to consider the tastes of the individual editors we're pitching to.

  83. Anonymous says:

    Hello,

    I see a question similar to this, but mine is a bit different, so with apologies, I will ask it: How much should we give away in the query? I have seen recommendations to discuss only your main character, but if you have two supporting/almost main characters (and those two fall in love), does an agent want to know about them and about this relationship? Would that be a draw, or would it be too much detail/give too much away?

    Thanks so much – truly appreciate all the help!

  84. Beth Phelan says:

    Hi! This is probably the hardest part ever. It's hard not to be discouraged. I think it really depends on what kinds of responses you are getting. If you are getting form rejections, it could be something with your pitch/first pages. If you are getting requests and then passes, then look for something common in the feedback from those agents. If you are still getting passes, it never hurts to go to a conference or enter contests to find other people to read and help you figure out what the problem is — if it's something in the craft, something fixable, or if it's really the concept…. meaning you might be better off shelving it and working on something else for a while.

  85. Here's another…and I realize this is tough one. Is there a "season" of publication that is typically more sought-after dovetailing with genre? For example, beach reads in summer…psych/suspense in fall, etc. or does that not really matter?

  86. I think that depends on the project. You want to give enough that the agent knows enough to request but also leave us wanting to know more. I don't think it's necessary to give away every single plot twist but you do need to accurately convey the stakes. I hope that helps!

  87. Beth Phelan says:

    Great question! You don't want to give too much information in the query. We don't need to know every character that appears in the story. That's too much detail. What we do need to know is who the main players are and what the conflict/stakes are. If explaining that well means you have to introduce more than just the MC, then that's what you have to do. So if that relationship between the two other characters somehow affects the MC's conflict, then it is worth mentioning.

  88. Hi Leslie! I think this is really only applicable to stories that are explicitly seasonal i.e. Christmas-time romances.

  89. Anonymous says:

    Can you shed some light on this please? I'm stumped: I queried an agent with a PB ms, agent requested other work, I replied that the queried ms was my most complete and polished, but attached two other PB wip mss. Time elapsed–maybe a month. Response came following email inquiry from someone in agent office–not agent–with critique of two wips. Declined offer. I'm confused because the first project was the one for which I was seeking rep. I knew the others weren't ready. Bummed. I thought I'd be assessed on level of commitment to career (and strength of first project, not on portfolio as though I were an illustrator. Can you provide perspective here?

  90. It does. Thanks, Victoria!

  91. Beth Phelan says:

    Sorry, but I'm confused. Do you mean that the agent sent some feedback on the other two WIPs, but not on the first requested ms? And then did they offer and you declined, OR did they decline to offer, i.e. they passed on all three?

    I don't rep picture books, but I would imagine that they agent, in considering your first ms, was interested in seeing what other ideas you had. If you'd told them they were WIPs, then they should have considered that as well. But ultimately, we want to represent authors for their whole careers, not just their book one, so part of deciding if we can work with an author is by figuring out what else they are working on, what else they've got in the pipeline.

  92. Anonymous says:

    What should you do if the main feedback you're getting from agents is "I didn't connect to your story/main character the way I hoped I would"? Is that agent code for, "your story is good but not great" or something else? If there's no concrete feedback on how to improve the ms, should that be an indication to keep querying or set it aside and work on something else?

  93. Anonymous says:

    Thanks again!!

  94. Great question! This business is ultimately SO subjective, so I think if you're getting that kind of response, it just means your project wasn't in line with that agent's specific tastes.

  95. Thank you both for such insightful and quick feedback on our questions. My only other question would be: what is the volume of queries you typically get? Of course this is another way of asking just how saturated the field of writing has become. Are you inundated daily or seeing something once every couple of days? What genres are you seeing the most of and what sort of quality is normal lately?

  96. Anonymous says:

    Yes, she declined all three based on the 2 wips. I'm guessing she (or the person she had email me) thought they were not strong enough at all and were indicative of my overall promise? Would it have been better for me to have said that I had other completed work to show?

  97. Pizzos3.com says:

    This is difficult to understand, "great storytelling and development" when I often struggle to locate books for my students with diverse characters. Does this mean writers of color are not writing great stories with development? Hard to believe when our world is so incredibly diverse that there would be any deficit in this area. Which leads me to another question perhaps an office poll might be good for this also Victoria. How many ( on average of course) multicultural ms come across your desk in a month? How many writers of color query for representation in a month or less if that's easier? Thank you all so much again.

  98. Beth Phelan says:

    I don't know if she would have declined based on the two WIPs though. Did she say that specifically? If she did, then that might just mean that she doesn't feel the concepts of those are right for her and didn't feel she could get totally behind you as an author with a full career ahead of you.

  99. Anonymous says:

    If it takes a long time and 100+ rejections to get rep for a manuscript, is that any indication that the book is going to be tough to sell to publishers, too?

  100. Well this is different for everyone. Some agents get many more queries than others do on a daily basis. As a new agent, I think I get less than other, more established agents do. I'm delighted to say though that my query inbox has been wonderfully diverse as of late and I'm honored with the quality of writers that want to work with me.

  101. Beth Phelan says:

    All of the agents at TBA are actively looking for diversity, both in the clients, and projects, we represent. And we definitely believe that writers of color are writing great stories. Unfortunately, we don't keep track of who is querying us, nor do we always have a way to learn that information. But, we do encourage ALL writers to query us.

  102. Anonymous says:

    Sorry–NO other completed work.

  103. Beth Phelan says:

    I don't believe that's true. Sometimes it just takes the right agent, at the right time. And sometimes agents fight over a ms and that author gets multiple offers, and then it's tough to sell to publishers. But as long as you have someone who believes in your work, that's the best shot you have, no matter how many other dummies turned it down! πŸ™‚

  104. Mrs. Dub says:

    When a writer makes a mistake in a query, (wrong agent name, misspellings, missing pages, accidental send, etc.) do you appreciate a follow-up email with an apology/correction, or does that just clog up your slush pile further? In my many years of querying, I've had this happen on occasion, and I've always been unsure how to handle it. What is the most appropriate reaction to finding an egregious error? I don't want the agent to think I'm rude/illiterate, but I also don't want them to think I'm fishing for a second chance. Thanks so much!

  105. Hello! I don't think you'd ever go wrong with a quick correction email, especially if you wrote the the wrong agent's name at the top or something like that. That said, I wouldn't worry about a simple typo!

  106. Anonymous says:

    What does an agent really mean when they don't connect with the voice? How often is it just a polite way of saying the writing's no good vs. really just that it's not for them though totally fine otherwise?

  107. Beth Phelan says:

    Great question! I think that those two things can really be connected. If I'm not connecting to a particular voice, there are often all sorts of reasons. One could be that I don't find it believable. Another could be that it's believable and well written, but it's just not a character I personally like or relate to. And of course, it could be that the voice is suffering because the writer needs to do more work getting that voice across.

  108. Anonymous says:

    How long do Bent agents take to respond to queries? If it's been two months should I assume it's a pass?

  109. Beth Phelan says:

    Okay, last question. πŸ˜‰

    We try to get back as soon as possible, and some of us have auto-responders that give the sender an estimate and ask them to requery if they don't get a response within a certain window. For me, it's 4 weeks. But two months is quite a while, so you should nudge.

    No response is never a pass from any of us.

  110. Mrs. Dub says:

    Thanks so much for your response, Victoria! You are all so gracious to answer these questions from us rookies. Happy Monday everyone!

  111. Thanks, Beth! Overachievers exist everywhere. πŸ™‚

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