May 13, 2011

My Understanding of a Query.

Blogger ate my comments when it went down. I did respond to your comments on this post, I promise!

This week has been full of good news for me. Monday, I found out my score for my final exam, which was very good, considerably more than I thought I would get. Tuesday I randomly sent my resume for a editor position with the SoCal MWA chapter for their newsletter, and got the position. And Wednesday, I received my grade for my ten page paper, which was also considerably higher than I thought I would get. Seems I will pass my class afterall and not really hurt my GPA (I'm building it up for MFA application). I've worked on The Current Suspense for 4 days straight, too.'s a good week.

Haven't heard back on anymore queries for LET ME OUT though and that's what this post will be about.


We love them, we hate them. I find myself hating them more now days. So I want to explain my understanding on the query and hope you all will comment to correct me or offer advice.

1. Personalize the query to each agent. How do you do this? By looking at their sales record, comparing your work to a sale they've made, addressing the query to the agent specifically. Nathan Bransford has done an amazing job of this in his query for JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW.

2. Keep it short. 250 words max for the description of your book. This doesn't include your salutation paragraph.

3. Get the agent to want more by leaving a bit of mystery.

4. Credentials. You got them or you don't.

5. Have a hook line.

6. Include TITLE, word count and genre.

1. CC every agent on your list into the same query. No Dear Agent greetings either.

2. Send material the agent hasn't asked for. Read their Submission Guidelines.

3. Query an agent who doesn't rep what you're selling.

4. Throw everything but the kitchen sink at them with detail.

5. Make up credentials or include credentials that have nothing to do with the industry.

6. Pitch two books in the same query.

7. Use the words "fiction novel".

8. Tell the agent this is a million dollar idea.

I have many more. I've followed all the DOs and stayed away from the DON'Ts, but it seems I'm missing something.

What would you add to this list?


  1. Ha ha! Hilarious but very good advice. Love the design of your blog!

  2. Voice would probably be one thing I think agents want in a query, but that's very hard to do

  3. You have covered practically everything. I would just add that by personalizing a query to an agent means we should go through the books they have represented and see if our work fits into the agent's list.

  4. Great advice Rachna! You're so right.


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