Finally! The Real Truth About Queries
January 31, 2015 21 Comments
Query. It’s the big F-word in the writer’s vocabulary.
It’s the ultimate eye-roll in the agent’s life.
Queries. They’re like taxes. A seemingly giant waste of time, but completely necessary to keep the world going round.
Writers don’t like queries because they take away from valuable writing time and it’s basically an email (or letter) that might as well just say:
PLEASE RESPOND TO THIS MESSAGE WITH A TOTALLY UNNECESSARY REJECTION LETTER TO BRIGHTEN MY DAY!!!! (insert: smiley face, smiley face, toothy smiley face)
Because apparently that’s what all agents read while glazing over your query letter while snickering and sharpening the spear on the end of their tail, right?
I’ve been writing queries for many years now and I’ve learned a few things not to do, and, having spoken with many agents, I’ve also gained insight on what they think about queries.
This post is to share thoughts on both sides of the battlefield. Just don’t shoot me, because I’m only the messenger.
What every agent wants to tell every to-be author:
Spell our names right
Don’t copy and paste your query – make each one personal
Get to the point
And stop saying you’re the next J.K. Rowling.
What every author wants to tell every agent:
Whether you like it or not, your message was copied and pasted and by the time I get your formal rejection letter 4-6 weeks later, I’ve already sent 200 other copy-and-pasted queries out. I’m an author, I don’t have time to write you a personal letter because I know you’re going to reject me anyway.
If you don’t want to read my book, don’t send me a rejection letter. I’ve moved on from you. I don’t need to wake up to your impersonal rejection letter to make my life as an author even more depressing.
And I would be the next J.K. Rowling if you’d just represent me!
What I want every writer to know:
Don’t strive to be the next J.K. Rowling. Strive to be the first you.
And what I want every agent to know: