Book Query review

I’ve been working on a book for the last few months, and I just submitted the query for the book to six agents who I found on Based on a first impression, do you think that the agents would reply with a request for a proposal, or would not?

Here’s the query. (I left the personal bio paragraph out.)


That’s a really hard question to answer, as we don’t know where you submitted the book, what the agents’ fields of publication are, and how your submission stacks up against other potential competition.

Sorry, but without more information, this isn’t really a question with any possible factual answer.

Let’s move this over to Cafe Society for the literati to comment upon.

General Questions Moderator

You are pitching the book as an academic thesis. That may be what it is. If so, you will not find agents likely to respond because they don’t normally work with university presses (no advances).

The problem for you with university presses is that they seldom reward 22-year-old students with contracts. For that matter, agents will check your qualifications first thing. If you aren’t a subject matter expert with a professorship they’ll want to know what qualifies you to write a book, i.e. whether they can sell you on the media. There may be something. You may be a pretty blonde. You might be related to Jacques Costeau.

If you want to make this a commercial book, buy or check the library for the many books on how to write a nonfiction proposal. There are many parts to it beyond the one-page query letter and you will need to have those ready if any agent should respond. These books stress the marketing aspects of proposals which are unfortunate realities today. I strongly recommend doing this kind of research before preceding.

You should also know that because of the Internet, most agents receive 200 or more queries a day. They are swamped. Many no longer even acknowledge queries, not even to reject them, except for the tiny, tiny few they want to see more on. Remember that even a request for a full proposal is only a nibble, not a guarantee. It’s a rough business.