How Do You Decide the MS is Ready for Query?

I am in agony about my latest book. I wrote it thinking it will be for querying. I am now doing the last round of edits on it.

The book got no interest on Wattpad, despite being a popular genre of the NA romance, though everyone who read it through the clubs was complimentary.

I also feel bad about investing so much time into polishing it if it doesn’t go anywhere. But, if it doesn’t get interest from Wattpad readers —who ARE the primary target audience for NA romance— this means that it won’t fly with agents, who presumably know better than I do what people want.

But then again, it’s the agent’s job to take a look and confirm to me that the book is of no interest.

So, how do you decide if you query or not —based on the readership potential/success or because you’ve invested time in it, or just hoping for luck?

Would you query a book that is dead in the water on Wattpad?

I would ABSOLUTELY query a novel that’s dead on Wattpad. Wattpad is capricious, and some books get discovered and others don’t.

Even if a book is in Wattpad’s sweet spot, I wouldn’t consider it a problem if it wasn’t READ. I might consider it a problem if you had a whole bunch of DNFs (after the first couple of chapters) or if you got unfavorable comments.

Wattpad isn’t the real world.

Go forth and query!!!

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I know of a WP author who wasn’t doing that well on WP, and he published his fantasy and it took off. He is still selling well after over a year.

My first novel, on the other hand, was very successful on WP (3M reads when I published). I got a total of 45 sales in my first three months. Part of that came from paid ads. Most sales from WP were author friends who bought the book in support.

So in my opinion, WP sucess doesn’t mean your book will do well/will do bad in the real world. There are too many factors involved to predict how a book will sell. Plus what do you have to lose if you query? The agents might say no, which puts you in the same boat you are in now, but they might say yes. Youll never know until you try.

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Some hard truth is that for most writers they query several books before getting an agent and there is no way to know if your book will get picked up. Most queries end in rejection due to the number of queries agents receive. And once you get an agent, it could take another book or two before they manage to sell you. You need to write for the love of it first and foremost. You should absolutely take the time to practice your revision skills because they are important.

My advice is make sure you have other writers read and give you pointed feedback. Most writers need fresh eyes to spot the issues they can’t see because they are too close to the project. Edit yourself until you feel it is ready, then get other writers to read it and do more revisions. The slush pile is competitive and you want to be as polished as possible.

I agree with this. By trying you will have gained more experience and know better what to expect come the next time you query. That first time querying is hard for a lot of writers due to the amount of rejection it usually involves and learning to not take that rejection personally is a good skill to develop.

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Thank you. I understand all of that, and I have a lot of feedback from other writers here… or as much as I can get.

I decided to wait until I have comfort of achieving readership here before attempting to find an agent. It just feels counterintuitive to sell something that people don’t want for free.

In that case I agree with Sally.

Going into querying with a big readership can be a great bonus, but Wattpad tends to do better in certain genres, like fanfiction and YA romance, than others. Plus there are so many stories that unless you are good at marketing yourself it can be hard to stand out and get that readership. Heck, my Watty winner barely got any attention before it won. It also failed in the query trenches before the Wattys. If you are worried agents will look your story up on here (and they likely will) and see the low popularity, you could always pull it to query. That will put you in the same boat as most other people querying.

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I wrote a NA romance, so if it is mainstream for WP, so I am not genre-gated :slight_smile:

But keep in mind that mainstream genres for WP are also the most crowded and competitive.

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This. Sometimes, I wonder whether it would be worthwile to pool resources between the star authors, setting up genre-related feedback groups. I’ve gone through querying trenches, I’Ve surved the editing stress of my debut novel and I would say I’ve got quite a good idea of what works and what doesn’t
Funnily enough, knowing and WRITING are not the same thing. As soon as somebody points sth out, I go “Duh”, but it takes that nudge. Critiquing another novel is a lot easier …

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Which would be mirrored by the publishing industry, no doubt…