How many agents is it appropriate and practical to query at once?

How many agents is it appropriate and practical to query at once?

There are many agents who insist on getting exclusive submissions – meaning one. I’m not talking about them. I skip them. I’m sure many others would hope and assume (but can’t really realistically demand) that we submit to only one at a time.

But let’s face it, at the 3-6 weeks to never that agents tend to reserve to respond even to a query, the prospect of querying enough to get that one-in-a-100 bite would go on until forever.

So I ask you writers and realists: how many simultaneously?

My standard has been five to ten.  That’s for practical reasons. You want to research them. You want to personalize your pitch, accentuating your manuscript’s stengths and your own strengths to appeal to an individual agent’s interests. And frankly I have a hard time keeping track of more than five or ten at a time.

But with email submissions becoming the norm, there’s really not much limit. I imagine more aggressive writers than I would send to 20 or 50 or 100 at a time. And why not?

That’s the rub.

I just sent “Eve’s Swath” to five: Marisa Corvisiero, Jennifer Jackson, Barbara Poelle and generally to the Browne & Miller Literary Associates agency. They all look damn good. They all look like good fits for “Eve’s Swath.” I love each of them.

But love is fickle. 

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