Helpful query tips!

September 8th, 2012 • Kate

I talk a lot about the good stuff to do when you’re writing a query — how to focus on the characters you want me to care about, how to tell just enough of the plot to compel me to read more, how much to say about yourself, etc. — but because I’m me, I don’t do a lot of focusing on the negative. Well, in honor of reopening to queries this week, and an already towering pile of unread emails, here’s some things to keep in mind if you want a response:

Don’t let me think I’m special — send your query to every agent in the book, and make sure I know it by putting all our of email addresses in the “To” field.

Don’t worry about someone else’s preferences — who cares if I say I’m only looking for MG or YA fiction. Send me that sex manual!

Don’t be afraid to be bold — go on and tell me that most agents suck, but maybe I don’t suck as bad as most pompous NYC gatekeepers.

Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation — your words were whispered in your ears by the Muse herself, who gives a rat’s ass about commas and proper usage?!

Don’t worry about ripping off someone else’s plot — there’s NO WAY I will care that you’re basically retelling Harry Potter or Twilight, and even if I do, there’s good money to be made on fan fiction, right?

Don’t keep your scorn to yourself — most books published are horrible, of course, and that’s why you had to write your own, instead of asking a librarian or bookseller for advice on finding better books.

And finally, don’t take this advice too seriously, please. Keep on doing what the bulk of you are doing — sending smart, engaging queries that have me eager to read more.

Photo by Flickr user Gord McKenna, used under a CC license.
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6 Responses to “Helpful query tips!”

  1. lexacain Says:

    Funny! Thanks for giving me a big smile.
    I didn't do any of those in my query — promise! 🙂

  2. tamaradwalsh Says:

    .Love it! I'll be sure to keep all these wonderful tips in mind while querying. hehe

  3. Heather Says:

    So… it's totally cool if I address it to 'Dear Agent' then? Because I'm far too busy to personalise each and every query. I can even stretch to 'Agentess, Supreme Ruler of the Universe' if you'd prefer. After all, that subtle suck up will perfectly complement the chocolates I send with it.

  4. Kelley Harvey Says:

    Hey, didn't you forget to let everyone know they should hand deliver their query to you, while you're having dinner in a restaurant with your family?_

  5. M. Ziegler Says:

    So what you are saying is do your homework? Odd concept really. 🙂 Thanks for the recap of what not to do.

  6. aprilmarcom Says:

    Loved this!