Queries are an interesting thing. I feel like there is no real 'correct' way to go about writing them, and yet every agent has a special way they like it submitted. In general, my method is to write the body that introduces the reader to the story... then I'll go in and add personal details pertaining to the agent in particular that I'm querying. I thought I'd provide a few rules that I find helpful when I go about the process:
Always always ALWAYS make it personal. Some agents may skim over your words, but always make an effort to speak to their heart. Research the person, see who they represent... add that into your query! I once received the nicest rejection with some great advice and she mentioned that it was my lovely query that intrigued her to respond in the first place. So is IS worth it!
Don't go longer than one page of Times New Roman 12 pt font. I've heard some people say the query should be as short as 200 words, but I honestly don't see how that can happen. I generally aim for a page or under, which ends up being around 600-1000 words. You don't want them to look at the letter/email and be all 'there's no way I'm reading that.'
Remember the structure- One small paragraph with salutations and on the basics of the book (word count, genre, title). Two or three paragraphs describing the book (GET THAT INCITING INCIDENT IN THERE!). One paragraph about your individual accomplishments (awards, school, anything that makes you stand out) and a little polite groveling.
So it's finally that time... I've come to the end of my second manuscript and finished editing and am now ready to send out my queries! Why is this always so scary? In today's world, self-publishing is making headway with crazy speed so even if I get rejected and rejected and rejected I feel like I can stick it to them by becoming famous with my self-published masterpiece!
But I have to say that would be a big step. Part of getting approved by an agent and eventually a publisher is the validation of the entire thing. But why do we, as writers, torture ourselves with the rejection? It's widely known that everyone has different tastes and God knows how many times I've heard that JK Rowling was rejected a bajillion times until she was living on the streets with only the rats and her children for comfort. Seriously though... How many times can you take rejection without having your heart ripped out?
But onward and upward! I have finished my query for my second book in record time, only revising it about a hundred times. So with my head held high I sojourn on into the wide blue yonder... praying that someone will find my story as beautiful as I think it is!
posted Wednesday, August 21, 2013