A query coffee date

I have sent out seven query letters. My plan is to send out about 80, which means I’m pretty much still a query virgin.

As for the agent response, it’s about as expected: three form letter rejections (two within 48 hours and one within 10 days, on a Sunday night); three no response; and one tiny nibble of interest, with an agent requesting my full manuscript. Everything I’ve read suggests a 1% request rate is common. So if an agent gets 500 queries in a month, they’ll request more from about 5 of them. Stiff odds, for sure, but there are plenty of agents out there. In fact, I have a list of over 250 who represent women’s fiction. (Read: Don’t. Give. Up. Of course this is hard, otherwise everyone would be doing it.)

So a nibble is exciting. But it is far from a book deal. Let me explain. Before I met my husband I dated, like most of us do. I went on blind dates. Coffee dates. Dinner dates. Weekend dates. And I did a few rounds of speed dating. Ultimately I wanted to get married. So I knew the only way to achieve that was to date. A lot.

But the road from coffee date to the alter is fraught with challenges. Most of the guys I had coffee with did not make it past date #2. Similarly, most of the agents I query – including the ones who request a full manuscript – will not be taking me past our coffee query date. That’s the reality of the industry. But all it takes is one agent to see potential and take a chance.

Good thing I like coffee…


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  • Sharon July 31, 2012  

    I have no doubt that you will find your marriage worthy agent 🙂

  • Karma July 31, 2012  

    Let’s hope so. Otherwise I drank a lot of coffee for nothing!

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