Tuesday, March 22, 2011

why queries get rejected—a pie chart in the manner of Kate Hart

If you haven't seen the lovely pie charts over at Kate Hart's blog showing YA deals by genre and 6-figure YA deals by genre, hie thee over there—not only are they interesting, but INTERN has never actually seen a pie chart look so cute and fun you want to take it home and rub it behind the ears.

When INTERN stumbled across this post by Kathleen Ortiz, an agent with Lowenstein Associates, she was inspired to make a pie chart of her own (cue two hours of cursing at Microsoft Excel, enlisting Techie Boyfriend's expertise, and resolving to sign up for remedial math). Ms. Ortiz took a pile of fifty queries and jotted down the reason she either accepted or rejected each one. Here's an excerpt:

1- one sentence about book. I have no idea what form of fiction it is. Pass. (they also submitted the SAME query four times....trust the system. If you see "Thank you for submitting" after you hit "submit," then we got it.)

2- We don't rep romance. pass

3- Three paragraphs about the author. Nothing about the book. Pass

4- Asking if I would be interested in a fiction novel (groan). But it hasn't been written bc wants confirmation that I'm interested in the idea first. Pass

5- 350,000 words. Pass

6- memoir but no platform/credentials. nothing stands out. Pass.

7- We don't rep novellas. Pass

8- I really had no idea what the book was about. Too many plot lines. Pass.

9- Thriller that just wasn't suspenseful. Pass.

It's worth reading the full post to get a neat look at what goes on inside an agent's brain as she sorts through a tower of mail.

At the end of the day, here's how those fifty reasons charted up:


*INTERN gets out her laser pointer and twiddles it around at random, feeling very serious and professorial for about thirty seconds*

OK, INTERN is going to stick to looking at Kate's pie charts from now on instead of making her own. Twas a fun experiment anyhow!


  1. I feel like a rockstar, sharing a mention with the KOrtizzle. Thanks!

  2. Fun post (but suddenly I'm craving a cone of rainbow sherbet.)

  3. Awesome. You give a whole new angle to coloring within the lines.


  4. Fun! But, you know, in the end what's a pie without whipcream?

  5. Very cuddly pie chart, I'm spooning with it as we speak...
    Intern speaks like Dobby. Anyone else notice this?

  6. Very cool little peek behind the curtain, thanks for sharing!

  7. I love looking at pie charts. Information is so easy to see. (I hate making them though. So thanks, Intern!)

  8. Thanks, Intern. Your efforts do not go unappreciated. Especially, since you Tweeted a Ray Bradbury quote.

    Keep up the good work!