Our first open query period of 2014 is over and the numbers are (mostly) in. Below are some of our submission stats. Clarity in a query letter is paramount, for the simple reason that we're much more likely to be interested if we can quickly understand what you're talking about. It was also quite tickling anytime an author belted out a description of their genre and market -- YA contemporary fantasy -- that let us know they'd researched and taught themselves what the heck those words meant.
Further, I love writers who know the difference between a dash and an em dash. Editors shall grant you a special place in heaven for exercising that knowledge.
If I had to boil it down, I'd say that sample pages drew me in for their voice, clarity of prose, and quickly established tension. Many sample pages did not have a hook at their opening, or they had a hook but the tension dissipated as soon as the hook ended.
We've been vocal about seeking more science fiction and more romance (within all speculative fiction genres), but neither was enough to tip the scales into a request. Nothing is an "automatic request" nor an "automatic rejection."
Of course, "the thing" that makes us decline a query or request more pages is far more difficult to describe than anything that can be quantified on this page.
Queries received in total: 64
Length of query period: 28 days
Received after close of period: 1
Received via Facebook (where we don't accept queries): 1
Note: Not all of these number sets add up to 64. This is because sometimes a manuscript fits in multiple categories, or because it didn't provide info for a particular data set, or because we screwed up the tally somewhere along the way. Please don't get too nit-picky about the numbers; we're word people, not statisticians. Although we did love watching Numb3rs on TV.
Gender of writers submitting queries (as best we could tell by their names and occasionally by the pictures accompanying their email addresses).
Query Fail. Stats on query letters gone wrong. While #QueryFail isn't certain death for a submission should we see something worth pursuing, it does make it a whole lot harder to find that spark to pursue. We hold to the notion that a query letter should contain a "pitch" of the story (much like the paragraphs on the back cover of a paperback), some information about the story's market (YA, NA, Adult, what sub-genre of speculative fiction, word count), and maybe one or two lines about the author. This, as per our guidelines should be followed by a 5,000-word writing sample (i.e. the opening of the manuscript). We lay everything out on on Submissions page, and for the most part, everyone sends us what we ask and avoids stuff that we don't ask for.
World Weaver Press
Publishing fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction.