Ask Me Anything: Querying

Okay, here's today's question:

The feedback I've been getting from my Query, runs something like this: Really interesting. No thank-you. I'm not sure if that is polite-speak for it sucks, or, simply not their thing. So, how to get a foot in the publishing door: A) Pound harder; B) Open a window (i.e. write a different genre/category book entirely); C) Quit: it's too hard.
Here are my thoughts:

This is most likely a form rejection.

This could mean:

A. Your query does suck (sorry, it happens, they're hard!)

B. Your concept is overdone (ie the genre is dead)

C. You're not querying the right people (hey I get a lot of queries from screenwriters so this happens)

What you should do:

1. Have some critique partners/beta readers/friends who write (etc) read your query. Get some feedback. Figure out if it's your query or if it's your book.

I'm going to say that if you've gotten 0 requests it's your query. If you had a good query, a few agents (especially new agents or agents who really love a genre) will request.

2. If it's your query, revise accordingly. You want your query to make people sit up and say "Oooh and then what happens?"

3. After you've resent your queries, start working on something else that's completely different.

4. Never quit. :)

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

Expanding on "What you should do #1 and #2"...

Don't forget there are a lot of forums/blogs/websites out there that can help with queries. A couple that come to mind:

Agent Query Connect--sure, there are a million people on the forum who don't know what they're talking about, but there are a million people who do (many of whom are published)

Query Shark--read through all 200+ queries and you'll get a real sense of what's not working with yours.

YA Highway--you don't have to write YA to benefit from those queries. What's nice is that these are successful queries with notes from both the agents and the authors.

And then there are others that you can submit to. Mindy McGinnis's Hatchet of Death and Evil Editor are two that come to mind. Miss Snark's First Victim will sometimes do contests. So will Michelle Hauck (Michelle4Laughs). Sometimes agents will even post things (most recently, Peter Knapp did a query conference).