Hi guys! Today, I wanted to talk about some mistakes we writers make when querying. Trust me, I can definitely give some insight on this topic as I’ve sent over 200 queries out. Most ended in rejection. But, there is a proper etiquette to follow and we are going to talk about that today.
- Always address your query letter to someone. And please, spell their name right. If you are querying an agent and you say Mr. Hope and it should have been Ms…this is a huge no-no. It only takes a second to read over your email before you hit send.
- Don’t go on and on about yourself. Agents and publishers want to know about the book you’re writing. They don’t want a paragraph about the book and four paragraphs about you. It’s great if you have won awards of have books out there in the bookverse. Share that. But don’t tell them you have a cat name Mr. Sniffles and constantly have to wipe his nose with a tissue.
- Don’t query as if your main character is the one sending the email. This is a big no. Agents and Publishers want to read about your book from your perspective. When they get into the sample chapters, the character can take over, but not in the query letter.
- Keep it simple and short. Make it intriguing enough for them to want to keep reading, but stay true to your story. No agent or editor will want to be captivated by a query and go on to read the sample chapters only to find the query was nothing like the story.
- My final piece of advice is this. Get people to read your query before you send it out. Get opinions. Critique partners help tremendously. A second set of eyes can take your query letter from subpar to extraordinary. Get that feedback. And do your research. Don’t send a query to an agent looking for contemporary when you’re writing an epic fantasy. It’s a waste of time for the agent and for you.
If you do your homework and take your time writing the letter, you’ll have no problem getting requests from agents or publishers. But, before you sign a contract with anyone, make sure they are a perfect fit for what you’re looking for in representation. An agent is someone you work very close with so you have to have a good relationship and be able to get along. And same with a publisher. And, remember, keep your chin out even when you don’t get the outcome you were expecting. Because even if you do all the research and find the one you think will be a perfect match, they still might say no. But never, ever give up. Fight to make your dreams come true. I know you can do it!