Query Roundup 8/17

Today's roundup is going to be a little different. I'm pressed for time and a little bored with saying some of the same old things. So...

As of 1:13 pm, Friday, August 17th, I'm caught up on queries. I answered the 127 queries (light week!) that were in my inbox.If you queried me this week and didn't get a response, double check the submission guidelines and send off the query again.

I requested 1 manuscript. It was a YA horror with a really cool concept and excellent writing and (to my dismay, I mean, good for the author!) it already has an offer.

My best advice for everyone querying is to take your time and revise. I read a lot of queries that don't grab me. I've told you that. Here's one reason they don't--there's no voice to it. A lot of queries that I read are a little dry. They must list who the character is and what the book is about, but the tone of the book is missing, the personality of the character isn't there. That's what's going to make your query stand out--and I know it's easier to say "do this!" than to actually do it, but that's what revisions and input from other writers is for.

And her are some other random thoughts I had while reading queries. (My examples are inspired by real queries but not taken from them).

Where are the pages? If you have a great concept, that's awesome and part of the battle, but it doesn't mean you can write, which is why I want pages. If I can't see the writing how do I know if I want to read more?

Don't ask me terrible rhetorical questions! What would I do if the whole planet was suddenly attacked by giant slugs? Die. I would most likely die and then I wouldn't be reading any more queries.

Don't ask me if I ever anything. The answer is most likely "No" which isn't want you want any agent thinking when you're also asking, can I send you my novel. Have I ever drowned and come back to life? No. Have I ever killed the man I loved? No. Have I woken up in my apartment with a pile of vomit on the floor and no idea how it got there? Not any time I particularly want to remember.

Don't tell me to "Imagine..." I don't want to do the work for you. Make me imagine it by showing it in your query.

If your query doesn't have a character in it, it's a problem for me. I can't read a manuscript that has no character.

Please don't tell me you've been rejected everywhere or that I'm the 88th agent you've queried. That just isn't good "sales."

I'm just not sure I can do exotic hybrid were animals like half werewolf half unicorn. I don't know if the world is ready for that, but I'm probably not.

Your seven book series that's all complete and "ready for publication today" scares me. For two reasons. 

I can't read anything in Czech so I don't even know what this email says other than "query"

No, I do not want to go to your website and read your novel there. I know it's demanding but I want you to send me a query and your pages.

Your 398,238 word novel is just too long. I'm willing to make word count exceptions if the query and writing seem exception worthy but this is three or four books not one.

If you can't tell me your name because you don't trust me or if you're going to threaten me with legal action if I don't delete your query or if you want me to sign something so I don't steal your idea, we're probably not the right match.

One sentence about your book and two pages about you is not the best way to sell me your book.

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Nat said...
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Chelly Writes said...

Lol. The part about rhetorical questions made me snort. I needed a good laugh. Thanks for sharing.

Lori M. Lee said...

One of these days, I'm going to write you a short story about a half-unicorn, and then you will be ready :)

Robin said...

:) I love the query in Czech. Thanks for sharing!

Leah said...

This made me giggle. A lot.

So thanks for that! I won't query you for my Czech-based were-dragon 19 book series.


Janet Reid said...

this is really good advice!

Unknown said...

Hahahaa!! I don't know...I would read a book about a half-unicorn and half were-wolf - purely out of curiosity!

These were hilarious, thanks.

Debra Lynn Shelton said...

"What would I do if the whole planet was suddenly attacked by giant slugs? Die. I would most likely die and then I wouldn't be reading any more queries." You crack me up, Suzie!!!

Eden said...

Great post! Funny stuff here... Thanks.

Tracy said...

I literally was laughing out loud. Too many hilarious comments here to even comment on. Thanks for the lightheartedness. Sometimes we get too serious about these things!

pegasus358 said...

So freaking true...

Unknown said...

Really great post! There were tips I admit I took to heart and examples I just laughed at. Great to hear your thoughts on the queries.
I can't help but share that your mention of the hybrid unicorn creature brought back a hilarious memory for me. I recall trying to convince my sister-in-law that a hybrid unicorn, mermaid princess with wings would be cool. After sketching an example to prove my point I finally conceded. Very funny stuff.
P.S. It's probably best I don't admit how I old I was when that argument took place ;p

Blazer67 said...

Arguably one of the funniest posts I've ever read but one that made me cringe as much as laugh. I'm continually amazed by writers who query with no clue about what they're doing. Thanks for sharing great advice.