Thursday, November 19, 2009

Jennifer Jackson vit sur la colline

I don't read agent blogs much anymore. After weeks and weeks of reading about what to do and what not to do with queries, I don't think it's likely I'm going to miss some new, essential, invaluable nugget of info. I rely on other blogs to highlight anything I might want to read. And I don't really worry about what my royalty statements are going to look like (I should be so lucky).

I do still read Janet Reid religiously, even though she had the audacity to form-reject my query (Version 1.0), because she's still funny and takes no prisoners and I admire that. I check in with Nathan Bransford every so often (I am the only person in America who hasn't queried him), particularly his "This Week in Publishing" feature. But mostly I confine my publishing-related blog reading to Literary Rejections on Display, the Rejecter and the Rejectionist (notice a trend?).

However, I always check Donald Maass Literary's Jennifer Jackson every Friday afternoon (she too gave the boot to Version 1.0) for her "Letters From the Query Wars." If you're not familiar with them, they usually read something like this: "# of queries read this week: 275, # of partials/manuscripts requested: 0."

Even considering that Jackson is, thanks to her blog's notoriety, one of the most-queried agents around and further that some not-insignificant portion of her queries comes from the clueless and semi-literate, the fact that she requests a partial or ms. only once every two or three weeks (i.e., one out of 500-800 queries) gives me hope that maybe my query success/failure rate is not so bad after all. And that is why, as the week goes by, I'm wondering, Qu'est-ce que tu fais, Jenny mon amour?


  1. Wow, that was a really a good post. I enjoyed this.. and am heading over to Jacksons blog.

  2. Good point, here!. I have heard people say you should have a 10% request rate (which I def DON'T), but when I read stats like that, it makes me feel like I'm not doing too bad. Do you check agent stats at That always shows me I'm not doing too bad, too. I'm going to check out those other sites you posted.:)

  3. I actually haven't queried Nathan either. Um, yet.

    Your post made me realize that my feed for "Literary Rejections on Display" was fucked up for some reason and I hadn't been seeing posts since April - I resubscribed and it's fixed.

    I also unsubscribed from "The Rejectionist" a couple of months ago when it totally pissed me off.

    To your larger point, I think you're right. But part of me still believes that maybe some bit of advice that hasn't before will click the 10,000th time I read it, thus leading me to revise my query letter in some miraculously effectively way that gets me to, say, a 10% request rate.

    Hey, it could happen - it requires only a 10% increase over my current request rate! (Cue desperate laughter.)