Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Query this

On the hunt for an agent, I had a rude awakening -- the importance of an amazing query letter.

I thought I'd done my homework -- ummm, no! Course, I realized after the fact -- like 15 seconds after I hit the 'send' button. Ugh!

Check list:
Checked the website submission guidelines -- check
Wrote my query -- check
Wrote my synopsis x2 -- check
Attached my required chapters -- check
Hit send -- check.

So, what went wrong?

I missed one link -- the most important link -- the one where the agent actually 'tells' you exactly what he wants to see in a query to him -- jackpot!!!! Or in this case – doh!

Okay, so what have I learned?

First of all, follow your gut! If you think you should take one more look at the guidelines and requirements for your submission -- do it! Don’t wait until after you send the email. It's like having lottery numbers that you religiously play every week and you forget to play them just this one time! And then, for some crazy, self torturing reason, you check to see if you'd won. Ohh, the horror...

Next, each agent has different expectations for submissions to them -- so read everything on the site, including if the agent has a blog -- especially if they have a blog. On the company site, the info is formal; whereas on an agent’s blog, they can be relaxed and you might find golden nuggets of information that could be the difference between an “aye” or “nay”.

Another next, there is no one-size-fits-all query letter. Yes, learn the basics about query letters, but researching each agent is a must. Each has different requirements; some may want a paragraph synopsis of your book, others may want a separate 2-page synopsis. Some may want a formal-styled query, while another may be happy with a casually approached submission.

And finally -- and this is a big one -- make your query the absolute best it can be. Don’t think for a second that you can write a sub-standard query, with the thought that if only the agent just read your amazing story (and it could be the best on the planet) that it would sell itself. From the way I understand it, if the query letter bites -- your book bites the dust.

All righty then -- that being said -- back to my 2-page synopsis…