Friday, November 16, 2012

Query Query Query

There comes a point in every writer’s life when they want to pull their hair out. This phenomenon is commonly called writing a query letter.
Query letters.
You spend months working on a novel. It tops out at over 50,000 words and stretches on for pages. You’ve taken care to choose the right words and create a rich setting.
How is it that a one page letter can cause so much drama?
For those new to the writing world, a query letter is a small blurb about your book to convince an agent to read it. You have to share just enough information to explain what the book is about, but not too much information. It has to be a fine balance of character and plot. It must have a unique and catchy voice that is true to the voice of the novel.
It is as difficult as it sounds. More difficult than writing the book in the first place.
My advice?
Eat chocolate and don’t be afraid to cry.
In seriousness, just try it. Maybe try writing a couple of version of it. Then get feedback. Have people who haven’t read your book read it. This will test how clearly it explains things and how inticing it is. Have people who have read your book read it. They will be able to identify if you maintain the voice of the book and can help you clarify plot points.
Don’t be afaid to try something different if things aren’t working. Save your drafts. You may decide you like your older version better or may need to use a specific line from an earlier draft.
Queries. They are a pain, but haven’t killed anyone yet. Good luck!


  1. Eat Chocolate and don't be afraid to cry.

    Words to live by.

  2. Yeah, queries do suck, but not nearly as bad as writing synopses of different lengths to suit the different requirement of different agents. ARRRRGH!!!

  3. The best advice I ever got was to have someone who hasn't read your book, who is completely unacquainted with your plot, read the query. If it doesn't make sense to them, it won't make sense to agents, either!

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  5. I think it is probably a good idea to have someone who has read it and someone who hasn't read it, read your query letter. That way, you get opinions from each and can see how they match up. Query letters are no fun, but I dislike synopses even more!

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

  6. Thanks for intimidating me even more!

  7. Siiiiigh. Yeah. I've been through so many versions now, I've lost count. :-/

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