1. Isoul

    Isoul New Member

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    Querying during the Coronavirus

    Discussion in 'Query & Cover Letter Critique' started by Isoul, Mar 31, 2020.

    Hey people, just one, singular, ignorant-driven question. I've been sending a couple query letters since all the ruckus started with the coronavirus. I had more time, and I figured spending that time writing and sending out query letters would be a productive way to tussle with insanity. Now I'm not so sure. Would agents (I live in NY and query mostly to agents in NY) in NY or really any seriously quarantined state be even going through their emails right now? I had though they may have nothing better to do, but now I'm not so sure. I'd rather not waste my time writing query letters that might be lost in the chaos of this epidemic.
     
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  2. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

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    Great question, and I have no suggestions. Looking at it from a pure business perspective, I'd have to imagine that ebook sales are going through the roof with all the lock downs. I'd imagine print book sales are in the toilet with all the book stores closed. Sure, there's online sales, but I can't imagine they're not hurting in the print department.

    The real weenie is what will happen to book sales in the recession/depression that's going to follow. Nobody has seen anything like this, so anybody who thinks they know what's going to happen is a fool. If publishers behave like every other business, they might take a wait and see approach to not leverage themselves prematurely. Not really sure what their cash flow situation is like, though.

    But really I have no idea. Publishing might be fine and dandy despite everyone else having to eat the shit sandwich.
     
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  3. Cephus

    Cephus Contributor Contributor

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    Go ahead. All of the agents I know are bored out of their minds. They actively want things to read. It won't get much beyond that until the craziness is over, but at least you can entertain them.
     
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  4. Isoul

    Isoul New Member

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    Do you imagine this would slow their time to respond? Really that's my primary concern. I can wait for this craziness to finish, but its way crazier to wait for a response!
     
  5. Cephus

    Cephus Contributor Contributor

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    Who knows? That would vary by individual agent, I would suppose. But right now, they have time to go through submissions where generally, they don't. They're far too busy. They are going through slush piles right now because they have nothing better to do. It's better to get read than not to get read, isn't it?
     
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  6. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Smooth like butter Contributor

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    I've had to contact a few agents in New York for my job. They are still actively checking their emails. I believe I got one response that was automated (it said something like "in light of recent occurrences, we have devoted our time to reschedule authors that have had events canceled. Please bear with us! I will return your email at my earliest convenience"
    and she emailed me 2 days later.
    A lot of them are busy, though. The authors that they manage who had speaking events or traveling events need to be rescheduled and librarians are now contacting agents to book virtual visits (like myself).

    I'd still go for it. they'll get back to you when they can
     
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  7. Medazza

    Medazza Active Member

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    I’d been nervous about submitting once the big book fairs were cancelled and I get the impression the London agents are a bit behind.
    So bearing in mind NYC is suffering so badly I wasn’t sure to try those agents now or wait a bit longer?
     
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  8. Cephus

    Cephus Contributor Contributor

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    They're not going to get any less behind by waiting.
     
  9. Isoul

    Isoul New Member

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    From my recent experience, the agents in NY also seem behind. Someone mentioned on here they will probably be busy with rescheduling events and playing catch up. This seems to be the case. Most of the agents I sent to state they reply back upon rejection, but none have and its much past that date already. As for what YOU should do? I honestly don't know, it's a strange time, but figured this information might be worth something.
     
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  10. Medazza

    Medazza Active Member

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    I’m going to go for it. A window has opened up for me to spend a day submitting queries so I’d be daft not to take the opportunity
     
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  11. A.M.P.

    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Contributor

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    You might as well try.
    Odds are, the more modern publishers are still active in the epublishing world at the very least.
    I bet if you Google a tad, you can see how physical books are doing this pandemic.
    People need entertainment more than ever, and I think books might become more popular again as it is a decent pass time especially if you're just at home.
     
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  12. Whitepaws

    Whitepaws Member

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    I’ve been wondering the same thing. Glad you asked :)
     
  13. Medazza

    Medazza Active Member

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    I had a full MS request this week from a sub in February. So long ago I’d crossed it off my list. I think a lot of agents are way behind
     
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  14. Mana_Kawena

    Mana_Kawena Member

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    As someone in the business myself, I can say it really depends... Agents are likely bored out of their minds, meanwhile certain publishers are dealing with the issues of acquisitions—among other staff— leaving, being furloughed, etc. on top of the shutdowns completely screwing with production schedules and backing everything up... (not to mention you are one of the million or so people who suddenly find themselves with the time to finish your novel and start shopping it around!)

    All in all, I'd say to keep at it, but realize that things are still going to be hectic in publishing through the end of the year if not longer just on the front end, much less in terms of sales quotas on the back end with the way cash flows are being atypical (yes ebooks are on the rise, but many companies are still operating on big yearly deficits overall and are just trying to keep the lights on); so if you don't get responses in as timely a manner, much less get your book picked up in the near term, don't get discouraged. You certainly won't succeed without trying :)
     
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