Thursday, March 22, 2018

Query Advice

We've had a couple of questions lately about querying agents. Do you have a revised, critiqued, re-revised, and polished manuscript ready to send out?

1. Research reputable agents. Who reps books that compare to yours in genre and/or theme? Check author acknowledgements and agency websites. See what they're like on Twitter, etc. Ask mentors for recommendations. Subscribe to Publishers Marketplace. Invest time in this process to avoid mistakes.

2. Craft your query/pitch. What makes your project unique? What makes it a fit for this agent? Be specific. Keep backstory to a minimum and show what’s at stake for your hero. Personalize it. Get it critiqued. Revise. Proofread. Repeat.

3. Follow the agency's submission guidelines. Just do it. Set up a spreadsheet to track your manuscript's journey (e.g. Project, agent's name, submission date, response, notes, etc.). Press send.

4. Commiserate with other writers privately— NOT on social media. Agent's will look you up. DON'T show them you didn't get a response from your dream agent or you've been racking up rejections for months before you added them to the list. Act like you're already a professional.

5. Be patient and work on your next project.

6. Start thinking about what you might need to know before you accept an offer of representation. Jim McCarthy has some questions, and here are a bunch more compiled by Victoria Strauss.

Query Resources:

Jane Friedman on improving query effectiveness.

Amy Trueblood shares loads of successful examples.

And here's some classic reassurance from Editorial Anonymous.

Treat yourself to something nice for taking this step in your journey. Celebrate the milestones. Good luck!

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