Tuesday, February 21, 2012
I Broke 100!!
As of... sometime this morning, I finally broke 100 followers! It only took about a thousand hours of my time and two Campaigns, but holy moley I'm excited!
So to celebrate, I've compiled a TON of information on queries.
It cracks me up seeing websites like SlushPile Hell and Query Shark if for no other reason than the sheer number of bad queries out there. Now, don't get me wrong, I would never ever read someone's query and say some of the things they say, but you have to admit they have a point.
There are literally thousands of websites out there about queries. Your favorite agent has guidelines about what they want right there on their websites. There are hundreds of Wikipedia, and About.com articles on what to do and what not to do. And yet.... there are people who still start off their query, telling "To whom it may concern" (since apparently it's too difficult to personalize a query with a specific name) how lucky they are to have such an AMAZING opportunity in their hands, and how stupid they'd be to turn it down, since it's so obviously the next Twilight, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Mortal Instruments, Etc.
In my opinion, comparing your book to anything that's already a bestseller is a bad idea. Why would you want to tell an agent that your novel is the next anything when it can be the first of something new? Why compare yourself to someone else, when you're great just being yourself?
So, I sit around when I'm procrastinating on my own novel and read all these queries on these sites, and I'm cracking up. There are so many people who honestly believe they're doing an agent some kind of favor by even sending them a query! Which, in the grand scheme of things, I suppose all potential authors are, because without any query letters, agents would pretty much be out of business. BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN YOUR SPECIFIC QUERY IS SAVING THEIR CAREER.
If you didn't send yours, they'd have 759 others sitting in their inbox. So before you do anything, remember that they're taking time out of their busy day to read what you've sent them, not the other way around, and the least you can do is send them a personalized query.
(By the way, if you're one of those people who think your manuscript is God's gift to the world, I'd say I'm sorry if I've offended you, but I'm really not. Being published is like driving a car. It's a privilege, not a right.)
So if you're rounding that corner to query land like I am with The Blood Train, then the following list could be pretty helpful! But the most important thing to remember is that a query is very simple and very short. All you need is what your story is about. That's it. An agent might be really interested in your long journey to publication, or the fact that your YA novel was inspired by your kids/dog/mother-in-law/Bigfoot figurine/etc but not in the query.
So, without further ado:
Writer Beware- How to write a query letter
What NOT to do!
How Nathan Bransford says you should do it
How to write a query courtesy of eHow.com
Rachelle Gardner's Tips
Scribendi.com's Advice, and some Do's and Dont's
Top query letter mistakes
Janet Reid: What you need before you query
What's NOT a query letter
About.com sample query letter
Writing a query
Some good examples:
Some very BAD examples:
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 etc.
Sorry, I would have gone through and found some more links, but there are just so many amazing examples of what to avoid at SlushPile Hell that I just didn't see the point. (Plus its anonymous so I keep from offending people.)
Oh, and in other news, that nasty spider bite has healed up nicely and I'm back to my old self! And now that I've taken about two hours compiling the right links for this post, it's time to get back to The Blood Train.
I'm almost ready for some critiques, so if anybody's interested in doing a read through you can shoot me an email! There's a tab at the top for The Blood Train if you're not sure what I'm talking about. :-)
Have a great day everyone, and Happy Tuesday!
Posted by Megan Lally at 12:00 PM