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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Query Tip Tuesday

Ready to take the plunge?

You've got your novel the way you want it. You're ready to kiss it and send it to every agent on your list. All you need is a short, one page letter that sums up your masterpiece.
Easy enough, right?
If you're laughing right now you've already discovered that this task isn't very easy at all. If great puddles are welling at the base of your eyes, and your bottom lip has developed a sudden & uncontrollable quiver than you've most likely discovered it's a surprisingly difficult feat. (See post below, Kill, Kill, Kill! The Query)
Luckily, there are many folks offering help. And who better than the very souls you'll be addressing those queries to: literary agents.
I have found Jessica Faust's blog to be one of the most helpful. In fact, every Wednesday she posts an actual query letter, breaks it down into pieces, and gives her thoughts, feedback and advice. (These are queries writers have sent in for this purpose.)
This is amazingly helpful!
Not only does Ms. Faust point out what isn't working, she often gives examples (using the info provided) to create a line or paragraph that works better. Way, way better! You'll be blown away when you read the difference.
Even if you're not quite ready to send out those queries, I'd suggest you start reading her blog. Go through, scroll down to read all the prior Wednesday posts, let them sink in and simmer. Get a better idea of what agents want from that letter.
Do this, and you just might be ready to jump when the time comes.

Have you sent out any queries yet? Have something that has helped you? Share your thoughts by leaving a tasty comment below.


  1. I haven't queried yet, but I'm thinking of writing a test query for my novel-in-progress -- just for practice. From all I've heard, I know it's a tough task to take on.

    Thanks for finding and following my blog! Looking forward to reading more from you :))

  2. Jessica Faust's blog is a great one for queries! I also LOVE Query Shark from Janet Reid. Her archives of queries she's torn apart where the most helpful thing I've ever found. She breaks down the query as being simply a character in a conflict who must make a choice with consequences. It's still hard to write a query, but that advice has been the single most helpful thing I've ever found!


    If there's anything that teaches you to get to the point QUICK, it's flash fiction, and let's face it, what agent has time to swim through a gianormously long query? Shorter is better. Leave 'em hungry.

  4. Oooh thanks for the link to that blog! It's really helpful and will be great prepping for when I am ready.

  5. Man, queries ARE hard. In a class I took, they recommended you start working on your query before you even start the book. It's a good way to see where you have holes in your plot. And hopefully by the time you actually finish your story, the query will be almost ready to go. Thanks for the link to the blog, I'll check it out. :)

  6. I haven't queried officially yet, but I've tried writing one for fun and MAN, is it hard. Thanks for the link - I'll have to check that out since I'm planning on "real"-querying this year!

  7. Kim, just wanted to say I'm so proud of you! Look at how many followers you have! Keep on giving the good info for the writing world. <3 you!

  8. Kimberly,

    I still have scars from my query letter(s). I kept changing it until I got asked for a full. That's the one I kept.

  9. Thank you all for the comments! You guys are awesome!
    @Melanie- that's the one I kept, too. :)

  10. I have to work on the query for my wip next week while it's out with my beta readers.

    I find writing queries tough, especially after you get feedback from others. Some suggestions are great and some result in disasters of the massive 'this is going to result in a rejection' kind.

  11. I've just started my query for my latest story. I found that Kristen Nelson's advice on her blog to be the most helpful... in starting with first 30 pgs of actual story to give agent feel for story and wanting to know more.