“My story is about a man, a woman, and two dogs. It’s a modern-day retelling of Pride & Prejudice, except the characters of Jane and Mr. Bingley are a tad hairier than in the original.”
Confession time. That is an honest-to-God excerpt from the first query I ever wrote. And, yes, I actually sent it out the door. Ten times.
You probably won’t be shocked to learn I received ten rejections, and you’re probably wondering why you’re reading a post on queries from someone who’s unpublished. Well, thankfully, I’ve made some progress since that abysmal beginning. Although I’m still waiting for the life-changing phone call from Dream Agent, I am finally winning the battle of the query and getting more requests than rejections. Here’s a strategy that has helped me go from public humiliation to killer query.
Step One: Pull Out Some Quirk
Most agents seem to like some degree of weird. So don’t let their first impression be déjà vu. For example, rather than introduce your main character as a middle-aged high school teacher, focus on a weird quirk or trait, such as: “Mary Olson is a middle-aged drama teacher with a paralyzing fear of heights.”
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Entertaining advice on querying
If you're thinking about querying an agent, here's some advice worth reading: