Do Editors and Agents Want the Same Things?

Yesterday, I got another full request from a publisher for my YA fantasy, Drive Back the Darkness. This particular editor had requested the partial, and when she emailed me yesterday to request the full she said, “I really enjoyed this excerpt. Your writing is vivid, fast-moving and imaginative. If you are still seeking publication for Drive Back the Darkness, I would love to see a full manuscript.”

I now have three fulls of this manuscript out with three different publishers. In fact, I have not gotten a single rejection from a publisher yet, just requests. I mention this not to brag, but to ask you a question; do you think publishers and agents are looking for the same things when they evaluate a pice of writing?

I ask this because I queried Drive Back the Darkness last spring and received only two full requests from agents.  No, I haven’t done any major revisions. It’s pretty much the same story that I queried agents with. The query letter is also the same. I did start this blog in October and just recently signed up for Twitter (@TheLiteraryMom), but would having a social platform influence a publishing professional that much?

So, what’s going on? Did I just not send out enough queries? (I admit I was nowhere near the 200 that Noah Lukeman recommends. In fact, I wasn’t even approaching 100.) Is YA fantasy becoming more popular? Are publishers more receptive to queries than agents? Or do they want something entirely different from agents? What do you guys think? Has this happened to you?


8 thoughts on “Do Editors and Agents Want the Same Things?

  1. It could be the market wasn’t inclined toward the stories last year, and now it is. I’ve had several authors say they were turned down one year for their work only to receive letters a year or two later asking if the story was still available for publication because the market had changed and it looked like the story might have a chance to sell.

    Who knows what it is. Just ride high with it! I’m so jealous (in a good way!). Would love to see some excerpts or some sample queries to see what you did to get the interest. Obviously, you’re doing something right, and I’m sure there are some lessons you can pass along the way.

  2. Amy,
    The only way I know how to answer this question is, because the story is bloody brilliant! Seriously! Publishers sometimes are willing to work with what they like, agents are probably so busy that they just don’t have the time – regardless of how much they want to (not that editors aren’t)!.
    FYI, the ms you cp’d, I sent it to 3 agents, none of which I’ve heard back from. But as you know, I got a contract offer and R & R from two different publishers. Maybe that really is the way to go. Direct action.

  3. YA is really hot right now. Maybe there is a shortage of potential authors that can write well. Also, timing is everything. Certain times of the year agents are busy going to conferences and then there are publication cycles (Septemberish) where books are being produced. Maybe agents are just busy then and don’t want to take on much more. I know I planned to get my book out this time of year before conferences start up.

  4. I’ve been researching the YA fiction explosion in Canada, specifically Manitoba and in the past five years, there have been tons more YA on bookstore shelves. I assume it’s the same in the States because we get a lot of your books in Chapters stores as well as local stories. When I first started flogging my novels (roughly 12 years ago) the company that eventually published them wasn’t even LOOKING at fiction, let alone YA fiction. Five years ago, I saw their call for YA fiction in the local Writer’s Guild newsletter & the rest is history. My publisher has had 12 new authors launching books in the past year alone! So, yes, YA is SMOKIN’!

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