I'm an established full-time author - willing to answer questions if you have them



I once submitted a query to an agent. I had to use their web form. Some fields were required, others optional. The “your novel is the same as” field was required.


“In your opinion, how important is having titles to compare your novel to? Query examples that I have encountered typically say “My novel incorporates the dark fantasy elements of Such and Such” towards the end of the letter. I am finding this difficult for my vampire novel because…well, vampires. It’s a genre that everybody has an impression on. For this reason, I am trying to go out and read more up-to-date sci-fi/fantasy titles to become more acquainted with what is selling right now.”

Important that your comp titles are recently published. I’ve heard agents at cons ask “what books published in the last 2/3 years is your book similar to?” when writers have pitched to them.


I’m not surprised. It’s an easy way for them to “get a feel” for it. The “industry” want’s “original” stuff but not “too original.” They really like to get something they’ve seen before in at least some sense.


Interesting. I didn’t know that had become “a thing.”


Thank you!


Thank you for the suggestion!


You are very welcome.


what to look for in an agent ? How to tell if that person is trustworthy and professional? Is having a story on wattpad a thing to mention or not ? (And thank you for making this thread!!)


You only mention Wattpad if you have over 100k follwers or a story with million reads. Or a Watty win or two. Otherwise, it won’t do anything for you. Wattpad is seen as a trainingground for aspiring writers.


I only have one small question and it’s quite like what @sarakbeeksma had asked on their thread but what I want to know is what are some publishers you might know for authors writing in the mystery/thriller genre?


There are many ways to check out agents. One of the best? https://querytracker.net/. If they are on there they are a known agent. Publisher’s Marketplace https://www.publishersmarketplace.com/ can give you more information about the agent too but to get info on their sales past and such you have to pay and its expensive ($25 a month i think?). Query tracker is free though. the pay subscription allows you to track more about the agent’s response rates. Its only $20 per YEAR so its a decent deal. I would also suggest following http://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/. Not only do you get verification of the agent, but agents update with what they are looking for. Thats what’s key to look for in an agent… one who actually reps what you are pitching :slight_smile:

I STRONGLY suggest joining twitter and the #writingcommunity. Look out for pitch events too on twitter. Agents live on that platform and they often tweet when they are open to submission or have new requests. I follow a lot of agents… lol

@lhansenauthor’s advice is solid and what i had always been told. Dont mention wattpad unless you have somthing to show. 100k reads is enough to maybe mention ( an agent gave me that number). Def if you have 1m+. If you have a watty, you can mention but thats not actually going to look as good as the reads I would bet. Most agents dont know wattpad that well I have found


Thanks for your answer!


Im not MichaelJSullivan but I know the query basics. Been at it for over a year now hehe


If I were to get accepted by the big 5, would I need it edited by an editor before submitting it to agents (Or to those small press companies directly)?


How do you know if your ideas are revolutionary or just crazy, if they stray from the mainstream?

And what do publishers think of that?


I can’t answer all of this, but I think having Beta readers can help you determine if your ideas are revolutionary or just crazy. Multiple readers can help you determine flaws and weak points in writing, and if the story itself is engaging. It can help you fix up your work, odds are every story is a little “crazy” and has aspects that don’t work. Instead of thinking in an “all or nothing” focus on finding readers and polishing.


If you get accepted by the big 5 either you already have an agent or you send them an email outlining the details with “Offer from XXXXX, agent needed” in the subject line.


If you were to sell something to a publisher you would be edited by them.

If you’re going to submit to an agent, your manuscript needs to be the best it can be. Some people do choose to pay for professional editing ahead of time. In my opinion, that’s money wasted. If you agent is able to sell the manuscript, it would STILL go through editing, so all the money you spent would be lost. And you will be expected to quickly turn-around edits that are as polished as what you submitted.


All you can do is query. If it’s too far from the mainstream, they’ll tell you. If they can’t sell it, they’ll tell you.


You want to make a good impression. Your query must be perfect. Absolutely no typos and a lot of other factors like following their instructions to the letter. As to the manuscript, I doubt they’d read it if it was shoddy. That would be a negative reflection on you.