Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Query, synopsis, and agents, oh my!

Status: Sent out 2 more submissions. Now I'm only waiting on 27 to get back to me.
What I'm listening to: "Vertigo" by U2

I took a brief hiatus from the agent hunt to take care of some of those pesky household things that piled up while I was actually *writing* my book. But I'm back in the game again (still tackling the house stuff as we go) and I sent out a couple more queries.

As part of my "sharing the process with my dear readers" I want to address query letters--those one-page denizens of H-E-double hockey-stick (to quote my kids) that make or break your agent hunt.

The question: Do you want an agent so you can actually make some money at this writing thing and get your story in the hands of tons of little boys just like your own children who will read it and think it's totally awesome? (You can fill in your own reasons)

The answer: Yes!!!!

The question: How important is a query letter in doing this?

The answer: How important is breathing to staying alive?

Pretty much. You need a good (completely awesome is better, but at least pretty darn good) query letter. Period.

Some query basics:
1) One page - Single, one, uno, un
2) Addressed to a *specific* agent. Not "To Whom It May Concern" or "Mr/Mrs. Agent" or "Joe Schmoe"
3) Personal info. about the agent/agency showing you actually did a little research
4) Your contact info.
5) Basic info. about your work (genre, word count, etc.)
6) Your bio
7) Good Hook
8) Good Hook
9) Good Hook
10) Good Hook

You may have noticed a little repetition in that list. (I hope.) The most important--and hardest--part of the query letter is the hook. This is where in a paragraph or two you hook the agent/editor into wanting to see more. Think an exciting back cover blurb.

Rather than regurgitate all the great stuff that's already out there on how to write a good query and hook, I'm just going to give you some good links.

Agent Nathan Bransford's blog - He has a whole series of posts on queries in the right sidebar
Agent Kristen Nelson's blog - She has a bunch of posts on queries in the sidebar, too. - writer's section
Stepping Onto the Query Go-Round: part 1 (by author Jackie Kessler)
Query Shark blog - actual queries with comments
BookEnds blog - just scroll through the labels of posts for many on queries and pitches
Miss Snark blog - just the archives, but browse through those for tons of good stuff

And those are just a few places you can go. Just google how to write a query letter or another variation and you'll get millions of hits.

Happy query-ing!

1 comment:

Deborah said...

Don't forget the AWESOME hook.
On how Not To Query, see