You know that about 99% of the queries that come in to my inbox get rejected. I’m not unique in this statistic. Most agents that I’ve spoken to have the same track record. 1 out of 100 hit the mark. I know that must be really daunting to hear, as a writer. On the agent end of it, it’s also dismaying. This past week, as I’ve been going through queries and reading a few full manuscripts that I’ve requested, what’s come up a number of times is, “I love the premise of this! I wish the writing were better…”
As an agent, I unfortunately don’t have the time (or inclination, really) to teach a client how to write. You need to come into the relationship with your skills intact. I can nurture you along, but I just can’t teach you to write. In order to garner more success on your quest to get your manuscript published, the best thing you can do is to really work on your craft. If you’ve pounded out a novel but have never read a book about the craft of writing, never taken a writing class, never been to a writing conference, workshop, retreat or seminar, there’s a really good chance you’re not going to succeed. Not because you don’t have talent, but because you need certain skills. So do yourself a favor, give your stories the best chance they can get: educate yourself.