A list of reasons why a query can be passed on that has NOTHING to do with the quality of the manuscript:
Agent has a client writing something similar,
Agent is unsure where to place this with editors,
Agent does not rep that genre/ age range,
Agent is closed to that genre,
Agent does not connect with that style of writing (this is a personal thing),
Agent represents that genre but doesn't enjoy the subject matter.
There are many more reasons, these are just the few I've had to pass on just this morning.
To give this context.
Think about when you visit a book shop. How many books do you pick up and look at before you decide which one to buy? Are you affected by your present mood? Do you have other books waiting to be read that are similar and you're looking for something new?
Do you love that genre but are tired or reading a certain type of book? Does the blurb/ query draw you in? Is it a style of writing that just doesn't work for you.

Sometimes agents reject because the writing isn't ready. That does happen. Of course it does.
But most of the time we pass for other reasons. And most of those reasons are subjective (our personal tastes in writing style and voice as much as subject matter). Or because of things we know about the market we are trying to sell to.
Sometimes it can be the mood of the agent reading. Maybe they love your book but have just read 20 other queries about the same subject and a different query stood out to them.
Agents read SO many books. Last night I had 20 new queries. 4 were pirate novels. 6 were fae novels. 4 were YA mysteries. I love all these things but I can't request all the manuscripts, I haven't got the capacity to read that much (and I'm a fast reader).
So, what I'm trying to say in a VERY long winded way, is that a rejection doesn't necessarily equal a bad writer. A rejection on a book that fits an agents mswl doesn't mean the writing was bad.
The problem is that there are limited agents, open for a certain period of time, trying to wade through hundreds/thousands of queries.

So what can you do?
Write the best book you can. Obvious, but this needs to be said. Don't rush and send your manuscript out before it's ready
Produce a standard format query.
Check that the agent is open/ represents your genre
Check your word count.
Don't be rude/manipulative in your query letter or on Twitter
Understand that, for most people, this is a long game.
My personal journey was ten years of writing (five of which was querying) before I got an agent. And we parted ways two years later when my book died on submission. I am now back querying. I am an agent but that does not guarantee I will ever get an agent.
I have the same passion as all of you to see my own book in print but I've learnt that
Not being published does not mean you are not worthy of being published.
Not being agented does not mean you do not deserve to have an agent.
Your work being rejected is not a rejection of you.
Writing is its own reward if you let it be. And the rest of it is a little bit of talent and A LOT of luck and good timing. And I wish that for all of you, even if I can't be the agent to make it happen.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Helen Lane (Updates only for a while)

Helen Lane (Updates only for a while) Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Don't want to be a Premium member but still want to support us?

Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!


0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy


3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!