10 Reasons Why Your Query Is Not Being Read

#1 Wrong Country

Most agents who work for an agency can only represent authors from specific countries. You may live in Canada but are querying a USA agent, and their agency only represents US citizens. Some agencies represent a multitude of countries. Make sure the agent you are querying represents the country that you live in (where your passport says you are from).

#2 Wrong Genre

Not only do agencies have specific genres (fiction or nonfiction) and subgenres (e.g., Horror, cookbooks, etc.), but so do the agents working for them. Most agencies hire a few agents to look after specific genres and subgenres within the scope of the agency. DOUBLE check your genre and subgenre to the agency and the SPECIFIC AGENT! To read all about genres, click here.

#3 Agent Isn’t Accepting Queries

Many literary agents have two jobs; this is their second one. They read queries at night after work, looking after kids and their already-represented authors, etc. They only get paid if they can sell your book. Many agents dedicate specific times of the year to accepting queries. MAKE SURE THEY ARE ACCEPTING A QUERY BEFORE EMAILING THEM!

#4 The Agent Uses An Email Filter

Email filters, such as Query Manager, are increasingly used by agents. You are transferred to a form to fill out when you submit a query. Your answers are filtered through a type of sorting system (online database). Your email goes to,  no – trash it, undecided, yes – want the full manuscript. It can even show if you have queried them before (with the same or different book). The filter sends your email to the appropriate location, so the agent only reads what they are looking for. Unfortunately, your wait time to receive an email back from them could just be wasted time for you. They never even read your email.

#5 Email Submission

Your email query was lost and went to spam or trash. Depending on what you wrote in the subject line, your email could have ended up in the agent’s trash, and they never saw it. Traditionally, an author is supposed to wait five to eight weeks for a response. If your email was lost, you wasted all those weeks before sending your query to another agent; so sad.   

#6 Edit, Edit, and reEdit

Your query will usually be tossed immediately if your manuscript or book proposal has grammar and spelling errors. Hire a copyeditor to check for these, plus they will standardize your style and documentation, and improve clarity and flow, all the while saving the author’s meaning.

#7 Tradition

The relationship between an author and an agent is like marriage. First, you find someone you are interested in (agent), then you ask them out (pitch), then you go out on a date (query), then a second, third, or fourth date (full manuscript), you chat about common interests (do you get along), sign a prenuptial agreement (contract), and then get married (partnership). Once you are signed with an agent, the relationship can be smooth or rocky, but hopefully, you did your homework and know what you wanted in a partner, not just to be married to anyone (wrong agent).

#8 Word Count

AGENTS WILL REJECT A BOOK BASED ON WORD COUNT! Did you write enough words, or maybe too many? Both fiction and nonfiction have an average for how many words are in each type of subgenre. Do you know that there is a different word count for fantasy, romance, horror, and mystery? Check out our word count guide, click here

#9 Pitch

Your pitch doesn’t tell me what the book is about (the whole book in 280 characters). It is shorter than an elevator pitch. Quick and exciting! If you watch Netflix, it is like the description of each movie. It gives an overview of what is to come.

#10 Sample Pages

Do the pages keep the agent’s attention? Do they want to read more? Once you have a polished manuscript, read it out loud. Is it boring or exciting? You only have a few moments to catch the agent’s attention. Make it GREAT!

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How to Create an Outline for your Book

So, you have an idea for a book. Now what?

I loved this ReedsyBlog, it reminded me of what I call communication channels. The author wrote about four different types of writers: The Gardener (Feeler), the Architect (Knower), the Designer (Visual), and the Knitter (Audio).

My Interpretation:

The Feeler
This type of writer is a go, go, go, get it done type. They have an imagination that is so life-like that they can feel the character’s emotions and pass that on to the reader. They are sensitive to criticism and will require an editor. Most feelers don’t use an outline but should consider using a mind map. 
Tools: CoggleSimplenoteScapple

The Knower
Knowers need to plan everything beforehand. This kind of writer will take weeks, months, and even years before they even write the first sentence in their book. They need to know all the details inside and out. It must be perfect! There is no such thing as a timeline. It is finished when it is perfected!

The Visual
This type of writer has a dream, a single idea, and will figure out the rest as they go. The story unfolds in their head as they write. It may even surprise them! Many visual writers get their ideas during the night or sitting on the toilet (no kidding).

The Audio
The words matter! What they say matters! They aced English in school and have taken all the courses. They know how to put a sentence together. . . properly. The scenes matter and this type of writer will write them in any order, then go backfill in the blanks, changing the chapters around until the story makes sense (think notecards or a corkboard).


I owned an accredited college for over fourteen years, so this was normal for me. To write the truth and practical information.

I wrote many courses that I taught the students and later turned them into books. They all had an introduction, history (of the subject matter), up-to-date information, facts, and how-to, step-by-step procedure. In many cases, I used illustration to make my point or true-life stories, and a Bibliography at the end.

There are different subgenres of nonfiction. The one you choose will determine what you’re going to say and the way you will say it.

What the professionals say to do after you know your subgenre:

Step 1: Brainstorm/Brain Dump/Mind Map the chapters for your book.

Step 2: Create a Table of Contents, organize it into related topics:

  • Testimonial’s page or pages (optional)
  • Title page (mandatory)
  • Copyright page (mandatory, placed on the back of the title page)
  • Page with a quotation or a message (optional)
  • Dedication page (optional)
  • Table of contents (not mandatory but highly recommended)
  • Foreword (optional) – this is written by an authority in your field
  • Preface (optional) – this is written by you
  • Acknowledgments (optional)
  • BOOK info goes next (all the information you want your readers to read)
  • Afterword (optional) – this can be used as a closing statement for your book; your parting words.
  • Appendices (optional) – these can be used for additional information that didn’t fit or didn’t work in the body of the book.
  • Glossary (optional)
  • Index (optional)
  • References or bibliography (optional)
  • About the author (highly recommended) – this is where you tell your readers how to reach out to you.

Step 3: Fill in the outline structure.



When I started to write my first novel, I only knew it was about distinguishing spirits, how to tell spirits apart. That was my main purpose. I had written many nonfiction books and taught a class on this subject for over fourteen years, so I knew the technical stuff, ‘information’ that I wanted in the book, but how to teach it in a story was all new to me.

When I started to write my novel, I had no clue of the procedure and forgot everything I may have learned in high school, so I took a famous author’s first chapter and changed the words to be mine. I copied the structure and flow of the writing. If you read my first chapter and the original authors, they are totally different, but they taught me how to create a start to a story.

I remember when I would put my page into Grammarly to check for spelling and punctuation, the program would continually want me to change the period before someone was speaking to a coma. I couldn’t figure out why until I went back to other author’s books and saw that it was required.

I wrote about one-third of my novel and then wrote the ending, then filled in the middle. Only to find out that I was about 30,000 words short for the genre I was writing. Back went on the thinking cap. It was like adding a whole new book inside my other one, then trying to tie it all together. Luckily, it worked. Amazing what you can do with words!   

Then I had about ten friends/family read my draft(s). OMG, the mistakes they found, even after someone had already edited the new draft. I found out quickly that different people see different errors. I now write without caring what mistakes I make, then have Grammarly check it over, then read it to my husband, then have my mom read it, then my aunt and grandmother, then editors.

Oh, the thesaurus will become your best friend!

My first novel is a series, a set of eight books. Just to let you know, I always start to write my next book before I publish my last. There are many times I need to change something in the last book to make the next book make sense.

Here is what the professionals say to do (BUT no matter what, just start to write! You will be amazed at how the story unfolds as you write).

Master Class says, “In the literary world, novelists who use outlines are referred to as “plotters.” Those who don’t are known as “pantsers” — a reference to flying by the seat of their pants. Famous pantsers include Margaret Atwood and Stephen King. In the plotting camp? Ernest Hemingway and the author of Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling.”

  1. Figure out the main purpose of your story? You must resolve the promises you made to your reader by the end of the novel.
  2. What is the theme—what are you trying to say?
  3. What is the plot of the novel?
  4. Characters, create the main Protagonist, Villain, and Victim
  5. What is the conflict of the novel? How is it resolved?

Writing reminds me of the old saying, ‘ You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink.’ Writing is a gift that you give to your readers, and no matter the topic, just remember that you are gifting a sacred piece of yourself to them, it is up to them to accept that gift.

Article By Constance Santego

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