Thursday, January 26, 2012

Query Advice.

I've researched and read a lot of query advice, but now I want to ask what you think. If you could tell someone three things before they query, what would it be? 

I'd love to hear anything! I've read books, written books, revised, edited, critiqued, all that. But I've never queried. And I want to make sure I have all the pieces before I attack the puzzle.

So, what would you tell me either from your own experience or maybe something priceless that you've learned from someone else? I'd hate to be missing that one piece :) 

Also, don't forget to enter my first chapter critique giveaway in my last post. It closes Sunday night.


  1. Elana Johnson has a free book that has priceless information, and you can download it totally free! Here's the link!query-to-the-call Have fun!

  2. my three things:
    1) be concise and specific. vague, general, cliched, or broad statements won't grab an agent's attention as well as specific ones.
    2) follow the submissions guidelines to a T. if the agent prefers you say why you chose to send your manuscript to them, put that in your query letter; if they ask for a synopsis, give them that; if they don't ask for pages, don't send pages; etc. you can often find agent preferences on their websites and blogs.
    3) the entire query should be less than 300 words (not including pages and synopsis, if they ask for them) with three definitive parts: hook (the one sentence that defines the premise), summary (a brief summary covering the major points in the first 30-50 pages), and finally, title, genre, and word count to the nearest 1000. if the agent asks for a bio (which most do, or don't care), then you put that after the title/genre/word count paragraph.

  3. Don't even touch your manuscript once you've started querying! You don't want to have different versions of it that you're subbing out, it makes it way too complicated. Plus you'll always worry that that "pre-tweaked" version that first agent has isn't good enough, and agent's don't look too kindly on writers who ask to send a different version than the one they have.

    Leave the manuscript in the drawer once you've sent queries. Don't tweak. And probably the most important advice: work on something else to keep you distracted.

  4. Oooh, this is good stuff. I'm hoping to approach querydom by the middle of the year and it scares the heck out of me!

  5. This is some great stuff! Thank you everyone :)

  6. Wow, nice post,there are many person searching about that now they will find enough resources by your post.Thank you for sharing to us.Please one more post about that..Corporate Entertainment

  7. 1. The most important element of a query is the voice. I guess it depends on the voice of your book, but I find that the best way to get the voice across is to write it as though your main character is telling a friend what happened. Then change a couple words to make first person turn into third and present tense.
    2. Don't send it out when the query's not ready. Take your time. Your first query is never your best. Maybe try it out on a few blog contests first to get feedback from a variety of people. Otherwise you'd be sending the worst version of your query to the agents you like the best. And you usually can't send to them again.
    3. Hmm. Nothing else comes to mind.
    But here's a VERY useful link

  8. I've been doing a series on how NOT to write a query on my blog... :) See Elana's collected advice for HOW to write one. :)

  9. 1. keep it to four paragraphs, tops.
    2. focus on your MS. What's it about, why they must read it.
    3. Send it through the Q3E~

    GOOD LUCK!!! :o) <3

    1. You've got such great advice here. I might bookmark for my own reference later. I've got nothing to add that's useful since I've never queried, but keep us updated on your progress.

      Good luck!


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