An Agent who wants longer queries? Yes! Plus great book giveaways.

I received two rejections in one day yesterday, one from a query sent way back in July and one from a recent query critique contest. What a vast difference between the older established agent and the young one still building her list. The older agent to whom I sent my longer query gave me nothing to go on. But I almost rejoiced, if such a thing is possible, at the rejection from the young one, to whom I sent my short query. I would thank her, but she tweeted contestants not to because she’s so busy.

I’m not going to reveal the older agent’s name or house. That wouldn’t be nice. But I am going to tell you Suzie Townsend is the young one who I’ve admired since meeting her at Emerald Coast Writers’ Conference a couple years ago when she was just starting out. I had an idea she wouldn’t like my book, even after I made extensive revisions following her suggestions, for a reason I reveal below. But she was gracious enough to critique my new query for the contest to celebrate her move to Nancy Coffee Literary and Media Representation.

I could hardly believe Suzie wanted MORE information on my book. She knew I left a lot out from her previous read of my first three chapters. So after I spent weeks getting query critiques to trim my two paragraph book description down to one fitting Nathan Bransford’s 4 sentence limit, which I never reached by the way, now I can put some back. To be more specific, Suzie wanted more information about my plot in the first paragraph, and then for me to divide it into two, showing what it is about my characters or the plot to really stand out in an overcrowded genre.


Never mind that I understood boy books to be in short supply, fantasy books aren’t.  So I whipped out my laptop and got to work, trying to make my query stand out. The funny thing is I ended up with a very similar query to my long version sent to the big 6 back in July. Well, almost 6. I got one rejection just from asking a question about AAR membership. That agency looked at my website and made a decision from that. If you guessed I did a lot of website work right after, you would be right.

I won’t send the new query to this young agent because she also said my sense of humor isn’t for her. If you haven’t read my short stories or visited my book website, you may not know I use a lot of wordplay and puns. Read the names on this map of the Heartland, traced over North America. Don’t judge, it’s not finished yet. The point is not everyone laughs at puns like I do.

You can bet your booties that I’ve now heard enough agents say that two paragraphs describing a book are not too long for me to decide I’m sending all the rest that way. Some just say keep your query to one page, however many paragraphs it takes. The trick is to get the right words in those paragraphs. I hope I’m getting closer.

How about you? I’d love to know what helpful rejections you received, especially if they helped you create a successful query. If you ask me, any query that received a request for a partial was successful, whether or not it sold your book.

Oops, I forgot to mention that tomorrow’s the last day to enter this month’s chocolate and book contest for followers. See that tab, second from the left, at the top of my blog? Click it to enter.  Don’t be shy about asking for books not pictured. I have boxes and boxes not shown. Comments after the 10th will be entered in next month’s contest. Then come back here and blog hop to your heart’s content to this week’s book giveaways, almost 50 at the time of this writing.

Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. Sher, you are clearly learning so much along the way and thanks for sharing all the positives with Susie. It’s always good to hear some raves about agents.

  2. Thanks for sharing! I don’t have that much experience with querying (yet), but your post about the vast differences in agents is more proof to me that there is probably an agent out there for every writer who works hard enough to find them!

  3. Fascinating about the reject based on the website. And yes, I’ve found that most agents seem to want at least enough to get a feel for the plot.

    Best of luck in your querying!

  4. I got a personal rejection once that was so nice, I actually kept it. And queried that agent again, telling him how much I enjoyed his rejection of the previous novel! Ha! I know agents can’t always take the time to do that, but it sure is nice.

  5. Thank you all! I am learning a lot along the way. Before Suzie’s query, I tailored them to each agent. I should have tailored hers too, but since it didn’t help with the big guys I wanted to test my “multiple submission” version on her.

    Please keep me posted on your progress too. Of course Susan doesn’t need an agent. I’m reading her book and it’s awesome so far. I’m keeping an Open Mind!

  6. I’ve been form-rejected by Suzie Townsend. In her defense, my query letter was a failed experiment. It’s taken ,e a while to feel the agents out. Sounds like you’re doing great though!

  7. Wow, that is an impressive list! Just between you and me, i agree that twitter can be a bore, but every once in a while it reminds me to check in with the likes of you, so it’s not all bad.

  8. A certain agent didn’t appreciate your sense of humour? Might be a thing of genetics. Some folks humour connects only with certain type people. : )

  9. Hi, Sher, Thank you sooo much for your supportive comment on my recent review. Just wait until I review “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” this week! LOL Such a struggle for me. I appreciate so much your posts and heart. I’m your newest follower! Please stop by and visit me when you get a chance and best wishes in your writing endeavors.

  10. Thanks for the giveaway!
    new GFC: blackwolf

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