The decision on how long to query your manuscript can’t be determined by a formula. There’s always the chance that your very next query will knock at the right door at the right time to generate that singular confluence of fortunate events resulting in emails and phone calls and contracts and publication.
But let’s face it, thousands of publishable books never make it to readers. Might their authors have persisted and eventually been published? Undoubtedly. But should they—and more importantly as a querying author, should you?
I’m not a literary agent, but I work every day with people doing their darnedest to get an agent’s attention, so I keep my ears perked for any data that could help. As I write this article in the back half of 2020 under the shade of Covid-19, book sales are up, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that agents are cutting record numbers of deals.
How much time and effort should you put into shopping your novel around? Let’s review the considerations.