>I had the pleasure of reading through (yes, from start to finish) a great source of inspiration called Query Shark. To say I had fun would be an understatement! While the blog does contain some language that could be offensive, the agent that moderates it just made me belly-laugh! My kids thought I was playing around when I was supposed to be working!
Anyway, Query Shark invites authors to send their query letters (for fiction only) – that’s the initial introduction that authors will use to promote their stories to agents or publishers (See, I’m learning!!!) – and discusses in detail everything that’s wrong with them, until they have a letter that is ready to send. (Or until their letter proves beyond a shadow – which sometimes doesn’t take very long – that their writing ability just isn’t ready to share with the outside world.)
I am so profoundly grateful to all of those aspiring authors who were brave enough to offer their queries. I learned so much reading through all of their mistakes and hope I don’t make any of my own. (Yeah, right!)
In the end, I took the plunge and after pouring over my letter 7 times to make sure I had caught every single typo and awkward sentence, I sent mine in for perusal. Doubtless my own will have plenty wrong with it; I just hope she uses it so I can see what I still need to do!
This is what I’ve learned from my investigations into the world of query:
- ***Do the research to learn which agents might be interested in my story.
- ***Use the agent’s submission requirements – every agent has their own personal style.
- Keep the query to 250 or less
- Start with a “hook,” a one- or two-sentence nutshell statement about the book to excite the agent to read on.
- Use the main character’s first name in the hook – most of the time, start with that name.
- Write a one- to two-paragraph teaser about the story, like the ones on the back of paperbacks.
- Don’t tell the ending.
- Do include the word count, genre, title
- Describe writing experience (which means actual published work – not self-published.) It was never actually stated, but I’m guessing since the only thing I’ve published so far is a poem, I should leave that section out.
- Complete the query with contact information.
Omygosh! I just realized I didn’t put my physical address in the contact information of my query! What a ditz! I deserve the shark-bite for that one!
Okay, look over the bullets. What did I miss for a query letter for a novel?