Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday Tips: Queries- Part 2!

Hello! And welcome to Queries, Part 2! If you missed it, be sure to go back and read last week's post first!

#6: Hook them as simply and fast as possible. We're talking main character, main plot here. No need for subplots and details on the character's second cousin's wife's sister. But leave them hanging and wanting more. Do not give the whole thing away. That's what a synopsis is for.

#7: Bio is a must. But keep it to pertinent info only. No one cares what writers group you belong to. No one cares if this is your first and eightieth novel you've written. List your publishing credits including anthologies and online contests, but if there are many, choose only the most recent. And list only contests you have placed well in. Do not include blog posts or letters to the editor for your local newspaper. If you have nothing for a bio...well...maybe you should try and get something before you query. There are tons of fiction contests online, magazines, etc... My favorite listing is Duotrope. They list all kinds of magazines that publish works of all lengths, including flash fiction, which can be a great way to get a few pub creds under your belt. My first ever published work was a flash fiction contest through WOW! Women on Writing. I didn't win, but I placed top 10. My story was published on their website and it was a great start. I placed in a couple more of their contests after that. There was a fee, but it was minimal and well worth being able to type it into my bio!

#8: End it with a simple "Thank you for your time." Sad but true, you'll be lucky if they even make it that far.

#9: If you're sending snail mail queries, first of all, make sure the agent is open to them. Many agencies are going green and prefer email queries. But if you find an agent who does want a paper submission, make sure to include a self-addressed stamped envelope if you'd like a response.

#10: Don't stalk/email them for status updates. Agents get hundreds of submissions. I read lot of agent blogs and often they will comment on how full their inboxes are and how hard it is to get to them. Their priorities, first and foremost, are with their current clients. I wouldn't expect anything less. That's how I would want to be treated if I were their client. Again, it's an issue of respecting them. If you're constantly bugging them for an answer...guess where their respect for you goes?? Some agents will list a response time frame on their websites and will ask that you contact them if you have not heard back after that time frame. Then it is okay to send a quick email.

#11: Sit back and brace yourself for the rejections. They WILL come. It is a part of this business. Most times it's nothing personal. You're just not a right fit. They may already have a client with a similar story. They may just want something different. Will they tell you this?? Most likely not. Usually it's a plain form rejection. Under no circumstance email them after the rejection. They don't have time to explain. Even a "thank you" email just clogs up their inbox.

#12: Do not requery unless A- a significant time period has passed (I say at least a year) and B- you have made significant changes to the story.

Hope these tips help!!

1 comment:

  1. great advice as usual. Theses posts are really helpful!