"Walmart & Costco are selling more copies of a limited number of books"

“Dear Mr. Temple: Thanks very much for your query letter regarding your novel, THINGS SAID IN DREAMS. I’m sorry to say that I don’t feel we could represent this for you successfully because of the fluctuations in the publishing marketplace. The publishing business has been erratic since the early part of 2001, when most publishers took a big fall in sales. Sales since 1999 have been mixed, and, specifically, 2001 showed a tremendous drop in the sale of fiction. Since then, book chain business has been soft, with yearly increases of two to four percent, but more from nonfiction than fiction–and with a rise in the sale of juvenile and young adult books. Generally speaking, this means that bookstores and such outlets as Walmart & Costco are selling more copies of a limited number of books, often and not surprisingly by established best-selling authors. The market for fiction has been smaller and smaller, and thus publishers and editors have been buying less novels that might be considered “mid-list”–and they’re buying darker material. I wish I could say something more specific about what you’ve submitted, but we are receiving between forty to sixty queries a week these days–and it is just impossible to read and consider and comment in detail. Of course, another agent may feel differently, and good luck with your work. Best wishes, [Agent X]”

Understood.  Best wishes to you in this publishing climate. MVT

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"Walmart & Costco are selling more copies of a limited number of books"

"Thank you for writing."

“As it states on our website, please note that we are not taking on new clients or accepting any query letters at this time. However, Mr. [X] has made his book, How to Write a Great Query Letter, free, as a way to give back to the writing community and help you in your search. If you would like to donwload it for free, you may visit […] Mr. [X] also maintains a blog, […], which is filled with valuable advice to help aspiring authors in their careers. Feel free to visit it, and to ask any general questions you may have about writing or publishing. We wish you the very best of luck in your search. Best wishes, [Agency X]”

I didn’t write this agent back.  Though he has a venerable list and I think he means to help, my goal is clearly not to become great at writing query letters.

"Thank you for writing."