Today, I have the honor and pleasure of appearing on EM Castellan’s blog as part of her series on Successful Queries.
Most writers struggle with queries and wish there was some sort of magic formula. There isn’t. Trying to condense your 80K (give or take) ms down to a couple of paragraphs worth of plot, setting, characters, central conflict is like, well, trying to cram a cat into a box.
I’ve seen queries that break rules (they go on too long, they address the reader directly, they introduce too many characters) and yet the query leads to an offer of representation. I’ve seen well-written and compelling queries which fail to score a nibble. To add to the “fun”, agents/acquisitions editors will respond favorably/unfavorably to the same exact query.
A successful query combines research (knowing which agents/editors to query and in what format), writing skill (both the query and any sample pages must be enticing and convey “voice”, free of grammar/spelling mistakes, etc.) and luck. Yes, luck, the uncontrollable variable that might lead you to send a query to an agent on the very day she decides she’s looking for a New Adult Alternative History/Psychological Thriller mash-up, and that’s just what you’re offering.
Anyway, I’m answering questions, sharing my query for TENDRIL and a few querying tips, so head on over and check it out.
I believe I’m also going to be doing a free query crit for some
poor soul, lucky writer!