Query.Sign.Submit. with Sara Larson



Sara is a Young Adult author and her debut novel DEFY is coming Jan. 7, 2014 from Scholastic! She is represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary.

DEFY Front Cover

To connect with and learn more about Sara . . .


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Now for Sara’s insight on querying, signing with an agent, and going on submission!


What advice would you give to querying writers?

Never give up. If you refuse to quit, and continue to do everything you can to learn and get better, you WILL get an agent someday. I promise.

What resources and websites did you use when querying?

I used agentquery.com, Publisher’s Marketplace, Preditors & Editors, and querytracker.net

How did you keep track of your queries?

For the first while, I had a notebook that I wrote them all down in and had a graph where I checked if they rejected, requested, offered, etc. The second go around (after I parted ways with my first agent and had to query AGAIN), I used querytracker.net. It was much easier!

What was your method for querying? Small batches? Query widely? Wait for feedback?

I usually sent out queries in waves of 10-15 at a time and then waited for some responses to see how it was received. If it went well, I added more. If not, I went back to look at my query and manuscript again to see what I needed to change.


Did you sign as a client of a career agent or on a book-by-book basis?

My agent, Josh Adams, is interested in authors who are planning on making writing into a career. He believes in the author, not just a single book. That’s one of the things I love about him as an agent.

Once a writer has signed with an agent, what’s the next step?

Usually it’s to revise your manuscript and then make a plan for submission. With my first agent that process took a little bit of time—actually a couple of months. With my current agent, we signed, did revisions very quickly (he only had a couple of very minor suggestions) and then we were out on submission before I knew it!

What is the revision process like between you and your agent?

We talked a little bit about the revisions he wanted on the phone when he offered to represent me, and then he sent me an email once I’d accepted his offer. As I said, the changes were minimal, so I was able to turn the revision around very quickly…actually the same day. (And yes, he was excited that I did them that fast—it made it so we could go out on submission even faster!)

Do you have input on the pitch to editors or does your agent take care of that?

Josh and Tracey Adams of Adams Literary collaborate together on the list of editors that they think would be the best fit, but they are always open to my input if I’ve had experience with a certain editor or feel like someone would be a good fit.


Do you see the feedback from editors?

My agent told me it was up to me, and I chose to see the feedback. I like to understand an editor’s reasons for saying yes or no.

What is the next step if an editor shows interest?

My agent let the other editors know we had an offer, so they could make competing offers if they also wanted the book.

What do you suggest a writer does while out on submission?

START ANOTHER BOOK. That wait is torturous (especially if a friend or colleague goes out on sub the same time as you—or even worse, after!—and then starts getting offers when you haven’t heard a word, or are getting rejections). With my first agent, I went on sub 3 TIMES and though I got SO close to getting a deal, in the end nothing came together. Thankfully, it went much better (and faster) when I went on sub with Josh. But the only way I got through those hard times with my previous agent was to be working on something new. If you just sit around, hoping for good news, the wait will eat away at your soul. Not kidding. We call it submission purgatory for a reason! It feels like this is it—if you don’t get an offer, that’s it, you’re done. However, if you’re working on something new, then you still have hope. That if the worst case scenario happens—you don’t get an offer and that book has to be shelved—you have a new one that will be ready to go out soon!

How much contact do you have with your agent when you are out on submission?

As much as I needed. He was always willing to talk or respond to my emails if I needed it—even if it was just because I was stressing. But I tried to be good and keep my “have you heard anything?” freak outs to a minimum. He promised me that the minute he heard anything he’d call me, and he was true to his word on that!

Can you check in with your agent if there hasn’t been any news in a while?

As I said above, he was very understanding about that, so yes, I absolutely could.

Thanks, Sara!

See other Query. Sign. Submit. interviews
Read inspiring stories of writers getting agents
Find out about agent-judged contests

Posted November 2013


  1. Great post! It's so helpful to see I'm not alone! Thanks to you both.

  2. Great post. I love how Sara said if you don't give up and do everything you can to learn and get better you will get an agent. Very encouraging! Thank you.


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