Monday, July 3, 2017

Are More Queries Better?

There is a belief that if you send out a ton of queries to editors and agents, there is a better chance you will get that contract or offer. While this might sound appealing, the reality is that this approach is not necessarily true. Yes, sending out your manuscript to several places is great, but publishing is about market research. Mass querying is not using market research.

What so many authors fail to realize is that their stories do not fit with every editor and agent out there. This goes far beyond whether or not the publisher or agency represents the genre. This comes down to the voice of the story and the style of writing. Authors HAVE TO take the time to research where their writing truly belongs in the market.

It is a true waste of time and energy of everyone involved to send out your project to every person out there. I see this all of the time with submissions here at Greyhaus. It seems that authors sit down each day making their submission process a 2 week excursion. "So today, I am going to target all editors and agents with names beginning with an A or B." At that point, they massively send out the same query, the same information, in the same material to every person in that group." The next day they move to the C's and D's.

What is the response? It is going to be one of 3 answers:
  1. No answer at all - There are a lot of editors and agents out there that use the approach "No answer is a no." Personally, and IMHO this is an unprofessional approach but it does happen.
  2. A ton of rejection letters and most will be a form letter. While the authors got a response, the only thing they will get to do is to proclaim to the world and all of their friends that "You know JK Rowling got the same number of rejections that I did."
  3. They actually get a request for more (which in this time and day will not be likely).
This mass mailing approach completely goes against everything the business world has truly mastered after all of these years. Market research insures your product ends up in the right hands, and therefore increases sales. 

If you think of the approach SUCCESSFUL business and HR people talk about when it comes to resumes, cover letters and job applications talk about, it all comes down to targeting your market and personalizing that letter and material. EVERY job application focuses in on how you as a potential candidate for that job is a perfect fit. You take the time to shape your resume to show off those skills. You write the cover letter to highlight the qualifications that employer is looking at in a candidate. 

And, more  importantly, you only apply for the jobs you are qualified in. You don't send out resumes for jobs that you don't have the skills for or the training in to do the job successfully.

And the same goes for publishing. You only "apply" for positions your writing is a true fit.

I am sorry to say, but I will continue to strongly disagree with those out there that believe that the mass mail approach is the way to go. It simply is not!

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