Thursday, April 28, 2011

When To Query?

Are you dying to query? Most of us who want our work published are. 
The style of dying varies as widely as the written works themselves.
We are dying...

  • of the dread we feel inside
  •  to let the universe see how amazing we are
  • because we must first finish the WIP
  • because we fear rejection
  • due to fear of success
  • lack of confidence
The list goes on and on but I think you get the point.
Have you written your first query? Or even more frightening - Your last query?

I have written many queries for THE RISE OF MAGICK. I wrote my very first query to The Nelson Literary Agency before I even finished the first 100 pages. I decided I was brilliant and they would love to have me before anybody else had the opportunity!

I was rejected in just a couple of days. I did appreciate that I had such a quick response. It was a polite form rejection. But really... Let's be honest. Who could blame them? Why do I say that? Glad you asked.
There were a few problems with the query.
Such as...
  • The first draft wasn't completed
  • The Second draft hadn't been started
  • The two re-writes were not even considered to be needed
  • I had no idea what a query was supposed to look like
  • The query was about six pages long
  • I included several snippets and quotes from the book to demonstrate how awesome it was
  • I did not take time to spell check the document
  • I did not include the agent's name
  • I gave a list of all the characters and how the connected to one another
  • REPEAT - The book was not done!
So, in retrospect, I will feel fortunate if they ever look at another thing I send them.
Not to overstate the issue, but I did send a similar Query Letter out to several agents. Most never responded and rightfully so.

So when should you query?
  • After your second draft at the earliest
  • After a couple trusted people have read your work
  • After you have made at least three drafts of the query itself
  • After you have written three drafts of your synopsis (in case it is requested)
  • After you are prepared to receive some rejections and not take it personally 
Remember, it's not rocket surgery or brain science... It's a sales pitch.

What should be in a query?
There is no sense in me reinventing the wheel. Nathan Bransford has done a stellar job of breaking it down for you.

Until next time... WRITE!

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