Flake-out Friday–Query Tips


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One of the many reasons I freak out during querying time has to do with perfecting my query letter. I’ve written seven novels and therefore drafted seven query letters. Some of them never saw the light of day (because I never ended up querying the project), but I still felt the angst of shrinking a 75-85,000 word manuscript down to a measly 250 words…all while keeping the voice, tension, conflict, and world-building essentials.

YIKES!

Over the almost three years I’ve been writing, I have accumulated many tips that I find are ESSENTIAL, so I’ve decided to list them for you.

QUERY TIPS:

  • Address the letter to Dear Agent
  • Alternatively, use their first name
  • Don’t bother giving the word count or genre; the agent will figure that out based on your letter
  • BEG them to read your work–bribing with chocolate or money helps
  • Use fancy, hard to read fonts and bright colors
  • Attach your full manuscript to the equery
  • Send your letter to ten agents at a time as a group email
  • Don’t worry about typos–they’re not that big a deal
  • Give a detailed resume, especially of non-writing related things so the agent knows you’re well-rounded
  • Be as vague as possible–it creates mystery
  • Tell them the ending so there are no surprises
  • Write the query letter as if it’s the main character talking

Did I miss any?

 

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18 comments on “Flake-out Friday–Query Tips

  1. rfirasek says:

    Good luck on the query hell. 🙂 Crossing fingers for you!

  2. ROFL!

    Address it to the wrong agent, or misspell the correct agent’s name.

  3. And remember that it has to be at least 3 pages long. Ten’s even better. 😀

  4. LOL.

    If I recall you’re also supposed to tell the agent your book is a combination of three bestsellers and that you’re ten times the writer as whoever is currently atop the NYT list.

  5. Carol Riggs says:

    Har! I think this plus the comments covers it. We’re all well-informed now! ;o) (and hopefully every newbie knows we’re kidding!!!)

  6. Lynn Rush says:

    Okay, this is AWESOME!!!! Thanks for the smile.

  7. Ciara Knight says:

    LOL, I’m like what?!? Thanks for the laugh.

  8. J E Fritz says:

    You forgot “If they haven’t responded within a day, call on the phone to follow up. Or just drop by their office.”

    Hee-hee. Enjoyed this.

  9. Linda Gray says:

    Oh, it’s nice to laugh. How about telling them they’re in for a treat because the manuscript is 300,000 words, so they can figure out how to get you a three-book deal for it.

  10. Lydia K says:

    I almost choked until I read #2 and realized you were kidding. LOL! How about sending it Fed Ex and scented with perfume?

  11. Donna Hole says:

    Seriously; alcohol might work better for an overworked Agent than chocolate. They can get chocolate in house, ya know 🙂

    This was fun Laura. Thanks.

    ……..dhole

  12. roguemutt says:

    You know what, though, someone has done all of those and still got published. If you have a marketable story, it’ll find a market no matter how lousy your query.

  13. It never ceases to amaze me that if I can research and write a 93,000-word book, how can a 250-word query get the better of me? 🙂 I’m trying it backwards with my next book by writing the query first to keep me even more focused about what the essence of my plot is. We’ll see!

    I’m glad to be a new follower and have left a response to your comment on Bird’s-eye View at http://michellefayard.blogspot.com/2011/07/getting-blog-comments-to-work-for-you.html.

  14. Too funny Laura,

    Don’t forget to use LOTS OF ADVERBS and passive voice. And THE most important tip, tell the agent how much your friends and family love you story.

  15. These are really good tips. I’ve never had to write one but if I do, those are tips that I’ll keep in mind.

  16. Also send them a pic of yourself in your underwear, sitting at your desk with empty wine bottles strewn across the floor, asleep with your head on your laptop. This will show them just how committed of a writer you really are.

  17. You forgot to use glitter and scented paper… 😉

  18. Ahaha. querying is crazy! I’m about to send my latest manuscript out to my beta-readers, so, of course, my mind is on the roller coaster of “you don’t know how quickly or slowly they’ll read and you should really start looking into agents now, and maybe you should start sketching a query letter, and do you have an idea of how you want your synopsis to go, because you might want to start that too and….”

    Yeah. I might be losing it a little. 😛

    ❤ Gina Blechman

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