Query Round up 7/10

It's been a while since I did a query round up. They were all starting to sound the same, but back by request is a new one.

As of 1:00 pm, they're done!

Queries Received: 248

Queries Requested: 4 (women's fiction, NA/romance, fantasy, YA historical fantasy)

Queries Debated: 4
(These are queries I thought seriously about but ultimately passed.)
A great New Adult concept where the writing showed real potential, but even the sample pages needed a heavy line edit.
Good concept, good writing, first scene feels very cliche.
Query from the POV of a serial killer I couldn't tell if this is a memoir or fiction (so you know, if something happens to me, you know where to start looking)
Cool concept, but the writing feels like it's trying too hard to be literary (lots of imagery and similes/metaphors that feel forced)

Queries Passed to a Colleague: 8

Queries That Got a Personal Response: 4
There's a reason the debated queries matches up with this one.

Common Rejections Reasons:
I love this concept but the writing is flat.
I can't tell what this is about.
I just don't feel enticed.*

* This is the biggest problem I see with queries. It might be put together structurally okay, but it just feels like words. Now before you get annoyed (I know they are words), here's what I mean. You need to hook me. I just read 243 queries in 2 hours--how do you make yourself stand out in that? You have voice and great details that make me interested. I have to want to know more to request.

Random Thoughts:
For all the talking about outliers I do, I get a lot of queries with crazy comps (The Epic of Gilgamesh, Kate Chopin's The Awakening, Divergent meets Twilight/The Selection/Hunger Games/The 100/Harry Potter)
No attachments, please
Don't overdo it with formatting: bold, italics, crazy fonts--they're all a great example of "less is more"

The #1 Spot on My Wishlist:
A great mystery or thriller for adults with really great writing and awesome pacing (like Tana French)

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Jacob Burnett said...
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Joel Adamson said...

Howdy There,

Thanks for being specific about hooks. I have been trying to get agents to speak objectively about this (for mostly academic reasons). Sounds like what you're hoping for is vividness.

For people who read mainly classics, such as Shakespeare, Homer, Beowulf, Chaucer, with enough recent stuff to know the genre, it can be hard to come up with comparable titles. I am not as up on recent books as a lot of readers. Not that I would try to write anything like The Iliad...I have my modern favorites, but it would take up all my time to just read current stuff, and most of it would not be as good.


Suzie Townsend said...

Joel - I always recommend that authors read contemporary works that their audience is reading. That's the best way to comp their work and to know what's out there. You can say "for fans of _ and _"