5 Random Facts

June 10th, 2011 • Kate

Faerie-RingMy client Kiki Hamilton, author of the upcoming urban fantasy The Faerie Ring, just posted five random (well, she called them sekrit) facts about herself. And in a very Carrie Bradshaw way, it got me thinking, How much do you really know about me?

Well, quite a bit, conceivably, if you’ve done your research. And why is this important enough to blog about — even if it is a blog post on a Summer Friday? Well, agents are always advising you to personalize your query letter. One way to do that is to talk about an agent’s clients, of course, but another way is to show that you know a little something about the agent herself.

Now, I’m not talking something stalk-worthy! No one wants to get a query that starts, “I think you’d be the perfect agent for me, because I was watching you through your bathroom window the other night, and I saw we use the same kind of toothpaste!” But if you’re following an agent on Twitter, for instance, chances are you’ll glean some additional insight into their personal life and interests that you may be able to use in your query.  For instance:

  1. I just had a baby! That’s not really a random (or sekrit) fact, but it is something you might be able to use to make a connection, even if it’s just to welcome me back from maternity leave.
  2. I love shoes! Again, not a secret, but I do appreciate the queriers that go out of their way to address my shoe-mania.
  3. Slightly more random: I used to work at a renaissance faire.  Drawing this fact out to some sub-facts, I used to do stage combat and sword-fighting, I like watching jousting, and I know how hot it can get in a heavy velvet dress in the middle of August.  People who’ve queried me about their novels set at ren faires have cunningly taken advantage of this.
  4. I lived in London for a while. I did this right after college, with Maureen Johnson, in a series of adventures that have become the stuff of legend.  But you might be able to take advantage of that fact for your novel about an American abroad.
  5. I love Irish music, and used to work weekends at a famous Irish music bar in New York City. Because of this, and my interest in my Irish heritage, I might pay extra attention to your novel that involves Irish legends.

So if you write a novel about an Irish-American teen living in London whose parents just had a new baby so she’s feeling left out, who meets a jouster at a renaissance faire, and falls in love, even though she ruins her new Duo Boots tromping through an English meadow with him, is that a guaranteed win for me?

No, of course not.  It still depends on the writing.  But if you draw my attention to some of the elements of your novel by noting the personal connection, I may give it a closer look than I would have otherwise.

And of course you want to take advantage of every opportunity to get an agent’s attention, right?

Questions? Concerns? Comments? You know where to leave ’em!

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4 Responses to “5 Random Facts”

  1. @SarahBillington Says:

    I hope you receive lots of really interesting, attention grabbing queries now! Though that might actually make your job HARDER…

  2. Anne C Says:

    You forgot about your love for Nia dance. Should have been # 6.

    And I'll just go ahead and call myself what you're thinking: Stalker!

  3. Alwyn Says:

    *salutes from London, having spent so long being a Canadian abroad that I have now actually finangled myself a French passport*

    Cool fun facts!

    Weirdly enough I actually took stage fighting at Summer Camp. And we also used to go on Day trips to Ren Fairs, which usually involved running around wearing gauze wings and crowns and eating alot of sugar (What can I say, performing arts camp, we also occasionally used to swap identities with the boys' dorm and cross dress for no good reason.) And, in unrelated news, due to the fact that two of my closest friends are Irish I have been to quite a few Ceilidh's. And yet I have not written a novel about any of these things! Clearly this must be remedied 😉

  4. Amy L. Sonnichsen Says:

    I struggle with personalizing query letters, because I'm so afraid of sounding like a suck-up or appearing unprofessional. I have to work on that one! Of course it would make sense that agents like to know you've done a thorough job in your agent-selection process, so I shouldn't stress over it so much. Sheesh. Thanks for the reminder that it's a good idea to be personable and human when querying, Daphne!

    Amy