Any insights into querying Agents/Publishers?

Hi everyone,
I’m part of a book club, and we’re discussing questions sending out queries to agents and publishers, and how to go about them.

We would love to know some more about what’s involved when querying our stories to agents and publishers and thought, why not throw the net wide and ask the community for advice on the do’s and don’t’s.

This is especially with books we write on WP.

  1. Firstly, one of my biggest questions is, have you queried any of your books you have here on WP?
  2. Should we leave the book in question on the platform, or remove it before querying?
  3. Would you say, don’t query a WP book at all because it may already be considered published?

Any tips to help newbies who might be wondering about querying their works for the traditional channel of publishing.

Your help is greatly appreciated. :hugs: :+1:

Heya!

The Cafe is where Wattpad members connect socially about topics other than reading and writing. :coffee: :speech_balloon:

The Industry Insider club is for discussions about the publishing industry so I am going to move your thread there for you. Being in the correct club also helps you find the audience you’re searching for much easier! :smile:

Thank you for understanding,

Eva
Community Ambassador

Thank you for helping with this. Much appreciated.

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Hi,
if you check out the Pitmad or Pitchwars sites and, most importantly, Janet’s Reid’s bog (Queryshark) , you’ll get tons of great advice on querying.

Otherwise, about your questions

  1. Yes.
  2. If you have a first draft on the platform, you can leave it on. I would, in any case, never put a final draft on WP in full. Any modern agent/publisher should not have a problem with that. My publisher (Literary Wanderlust) even allowed me to keep the draft on, they see Wattpad mainly as a networking and training site, and believe it is a good thing. Some agents or publishers are tetchier, but the odd agent who will reject you because of having the draft out on WP imho is not worth your custom. WP has quite a presence, and to look down on it is just snobbery. So, don’t bother with those. Note this is different for short stories. Once they are published, they are published. I’d only use WP for novels or novellas.
  3. Of course you can query and I’m doing that all the time. Nobody has so far had any issues with my WP presence. I mention my Watties, am totally upfront about it. No beef.

As to tips, there is one main piece of advice - your novel needs to be READY for querying. You cannot send in a first draft. Nor a second. Or a third. These days, publishers and agents expect material that is on a level of 9.5 out of a scale of ten. They have neither the time nor the money to edit your story to a quality required for publishing.
Changes will happen, but these will be copy edits and some adjustments to meet the requirements of specific publishers. Your novel has to be right up there.
What does that mean? I woul suggest to read Jeff Gerke’s “The first fifty pages”. That will give you a VERY good idea of what is expected out there.
The book isn’t long, but it is extremely helpful.

I queried two novels, got one contract and with the second one got very close. Very close still is a failed, but at least they gave me valid feedback. It can work. There’s hope. There ARE people getting published, but you absolutely must be right up there. Otherwise, you just fall into the great mass of authors querying despite not having a proper manuscript.

Oh, and I would consider building up a backlist before going out there. It is very hard to get traction with only one novel. If publishing one novel with a publishing house is your dream, okay, but to get real success it is better to have more than one.
My debut is on 1 July and so far I have written 7 novels I believe I can get up to expectations… Daunting, eh? :wink:
Hope that helps, you can always ping me for more feedback

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This is a trove of helpful information! Thank you so much for all the suggestions.
I have a novel I’m polishing up that I want to query, and a few in the works. Was wondering if I should wait a while till I finish at least one more before I start, so that information to have a backlist is so much appreciated.
I am planning to hire an editor to help me spit polish my work.

Would you suggest still holding off querying that till another novel is ready too?

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I wouldn’t. Querying can be a long, arduous process – that novel may be finished before you get an agent anyway!!

Lina gave a great response. I would add only that if you are querying SHORT STORIES, as opposed to novels (as a collection to agents or individually to a magazine), then you likely do NOT want to have posted the stories on Wattpad or anywhere else online. The short story publishers are much pickier about that than the novel publishers.

Oh, I also wouldn’t mention in the query that the work has been on Wattpad unless you have millions (literally) of reads, or you have won a Watty. If your book has very few reads, when you mention in a phone convo that the book is on Wattpad, say that it’s here for some feedback, but you didn’t market it widely. There’s nothing worse than implying, “Hey, I put the story up for free but no one wanted to read it.”

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If you have one novel finished, you can start querying. It takes ages and working on your next project will cover the time. But to have a concept, or at least a first draft will help if you get an agnt or publisher interested. They too prefer authors who can deliver more.

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Remember what a query is. It’s a marketing pitch. It’s purpose is to get your manuscript requested/read by the agent. So treat it as such. Make it enticing, engaging, interesting, and of course informative.

Choose your agent wisely. Make sure they represent what you’re writing. Don’t send your gory horror novel to an agent who represents children’s books. Okay, that’s extreme, but you know what I mean. Use https://querytracker.net/index.php to research agents.

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The bit with the gory horror made me snigger. Thanks, I needed that :hugs:

Yeah, I’m thinking I won’t mention it, as I don’t really have millions of reads, even if the feedback have been so positive. I write novels mostly and want to query them, not really my shorts. They are just something I do for fun. :slight_smile: Thank you for your insight. :pray:

I might do that. Query this one while I continue working on my others.

Thank you for this link! :smiley: I was doing research longhand the other day and was pretty exhausting. :slight_smile:

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Query Letter Hell on Absolute Write is also worth reading