Monday, April 18, 2011


As I was perusing a few blogs before my son awoke this morning I found two lists of what not to do on a query.  Apparently a lot of people are making these mistakes.  While I'm not yet working full time on my query revising and tightening my novel has given me some ideas for things to include so I thought it would be time to dust off all my saved query information.

The first blog I found this morning was from Rachelle Gardner
The second was over at BookEnds

Here are a few things I've saved about queries.  Unfortuantly when I saved them I didn't write down who wrote them in the first place.  I'm sorry I can't give links.  And to whoever did write them, please don't sue me.

Things to put into your query:

1. Theme (better that it be implicit than explicit, unless you know specifically that the agent feels otherwise)
2. The through line of your story (this is what we usually think of when we think 'query')
3. Make clear what the story is about.
4. Your credentials, if you have any relevant to the agent (prior publiciations, for example, or specialized knowledge/experience)
5. Request for representation (it's only polite)

The heart of the query is the through line + what the story is about. Key things to cover well:

* Who is this about?
* What is it about?
* Where does it take place?
* What is the problem?
* What is the obstacle to solving the problem?   


Query template

What does the protagonist want?
What's keeping him from getting it?
What choice/decision does he face?
What terrible thing will happen if he chooses A; what terrible thing will happen if he doesn't.

Here's another form of the same thing:
The main character must decide whether to ________. If s/he decides to do (this), the consequences/outcome/peril s/he faces are______. If s/he decides NOT to do this: the consequences/outcome/peril s/he faces are________.

Hope this is helpful, and if you have any good query links post them in the comments.

ETA I just found this sight with links to 35 blogs about writing the perfect query letter.  

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