Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Queries and Loglines and Blurbs, Oh My! - Series Part Five: Do's and Don'ts of the Query

For the final installment on this series, I want to make the information as simple as possible.  So, I have compiled my personal list of Do's and Don'ts for writing a query.  As always, the disclaimer here is that these are the ones that have worked for me.  There are no doubt, many others and you may find one or more that becomes part of your personal list.  There is no right or wrong answer.

I hope this series has been informative and helped you along your journey to publication.  And please, let me know!

Do's and Don'ts of the Query Letter

  1. DO skip rhetorical questions.  No "What if?"s
  2. DON'T name too many characters.  Name the main one, and allude to the others.
  3. DON'T describe your book as a theme (about peace and love, etc.)
  4. DON'T clutter the query.
  5. DON'T tell the whole story...leave 'em wanting more.
  6. DO spell check, edit and revise.  This is nearly more important than the actual book!
  7. DON'T mention other manuscripts.  This one should be your baby.
  8. DON'T grovel, beg, or plead.
  9. DO research the agent you are querying to see if they rep your genre.
  10. DO mention something personal to connect you to this particular agent.  Did you meet?  Go to the same college?
  11. DO spell the agent's name correctly.  And get their gender correct, as well.
  12. DO remember to state the title of your book.
  13. DO mention the word count and genre of your book.
  14. DO advise why you are approaching this particular agent.
  15. DO be professional and respectful.
  16. DO have many, many people read the query before you send it out.
Best of luck in your journey to publication.  There is room on the shelves for ALL OF US!

1 comment:

  1. Great advice, Samantha. I try to put myself in the recipient's position and imagine what I'd need to know (and not know!), so that I could make a quick decision. And like you say, it's great to get several pairs of eyes on the query letter before it goes out into the ether. You only get one chance...as they say!