Queries – You May Be An Amateur – But Don’t Make It Obvious.

imagesI have to admit I’m guilty of a few query don’ts. Okay, maybe a lot 🙂 I didn’t know any better. Like many of you, I just thought I did. You don’t know what you don’t know. I hope you are researching and doing your homework at every stage of the process. You don’t want to send out queries with the following blunders.

  1. Queries with typos in the first sentence.
  2. Queries that start with a nugget of wisdom: the submitter trying to be cute or philosophical. “Every step we take in life moves us in a direction.” Really!
  3. Queries that use very small type or brilliant colors in the background. Maybe if you add a fancy font it will jump off the page. Remember-the agent probably suffers from eyestrain. They live on the computer. Keep it simple-follow the rules.
  4. Queries with overcomplicated directions for replying. It’s great that you are confident you will receive a response, but the agent/publisher doesn’t want your travel plans. A simple street or email address will do.
  5. Queries longer than one page. Remember –  concise, clear, straight to the point. If you waste words and wonder all over the place during the query, the agent/publisher will think you do the same in your novel.
  6. Queries with more than one agent in the “To” line. Each query has to be individualized to the agent you are querying.
  7. Queries that start, “I know you receive hundreds of queries a week.” or “I know how busy you are so I’ll get straight to the point.” By writing this, you have already taken up a full sentence of their valuable time. Don’t state the obvious.
  8. Queries that make grandiose claims. My writing is comparative to Nicholas Sparks, or I would expect my novel to sell 150 million copies since that’s how many women live in the United States.
  9. Queries that state, “I worked very hard on this novel.” So! That doesn’t necessarily make it good.

Something to think about.

-Jan R

Queries – You May Be An Amateur – But Don’t Make It Obvious.

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