I’ve been writing my novel, trying to figure out the query business and going nuts over Christmas. Glad it’s over. 🙂 I mean, Christmas. I’m still looking for an agent to help sell my book. I’ve learned so very much in the past few weeks, or months, shall I say, about the query process. First of all:
1) Read the agent’s blog for the entry, which will be there, “This is how to write a query letter.” Every agent I have researched has such an entry or they refer to someone else’s blog entry “This is how to write a query letter.” I’m discovering agents are a lot like HR employers. They have a list of what they are looking for in an employee and even have on their websites how to write a resume. complete an interview, even on what to wear to the interview. Follow those rules, get the job (At least that’s how I got my job.)
So read the agent’s blog. Each one has different requirements. Some want to know where you found their names, others could care less. Some want to know the names of the writing seminars you attended, others could care less. Some want the names of your competing books, some don’t care. Some want you to have a website, others don’t care. So know HOW they want you to write the query, then follow those rules carefully. And please, be gentle with them. Some of these folks get as much as FIVE HUNDRED queries a WEEK!!! Zowie, Batman!! I embrace my job as a lowly file clerk. Ahhh . . . . Anyway, that’s a lot of queries to muddle through just to find the one diamond.
2) Follow this formula when writing a query: (Hold on, have to pet Kitty, she’s getting impatient.) I found this from Janet Reid: http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/ What is the protagonist’s choice she/he has to make? What is the consequences of either following or not following the choice?
My friend from Mike’s Writing Workshop gave me this formula that has worked for her. First sentence describes the background of the story. Second sentence is what is her/his goal? What is the antagonist doing to prevent the protagonist from achieving the goal, (Have to pet Kitty, cause we’z just lovez her!!) but self-serving to him/her?
Then decide which one works for you, the choice or the goal. How do you want to spin the story? After going through the ‘winning’ queries, I’ve seen this formula in ALL of them. None of them are, You’ll just loovez my book!!! Or: Tom did this, then this, then that, then this and finally, this.
I’m slowly but surely finding my way through the query forest, it isn’t easy, but I’m getting there. At least I’ve figured out what they want from me. Now I just got to snag one of those elusive creatures. :))