Ali Herring

@HerringAli

Assistant Literary Agent, Spencerhill Associates. Twin mom +1. Eclectic in life & books. I♥️Jane Austen & scifi in equal doses. Query me: bit.ly/2EOFVFa

Metro Atlanta

Spencerhill Associates

Ali Herring @HerringAli · May 10

I have to say this about attempting to read 300+ queries in a row: The people who boil down their plot to 'book jacket' status are currently my favs. #querytip Remember, agents are usually sitting down to read lots of queries, not just your one so stand out being short & sweet.

Ali Herring @HerringAli · Jan 4

Important #querytip. When the agent you queried has 100s of queries to answer, & your query doesn't state what the plot is or what the stakes are, it's an auto pass from me. That's kind of difficult to swallow & I hate to do it, but I don't have time to dig for it at that point.

Ali Herring @HerringAli · 3 Dec 2018

K.M. Weiland @KMWeiland

The opening line of your book is your first (and, if you don’t take advantage of it, last) opportunity to grab readers' attention and give them a reason to read your story. #writetip

This is true of the agents you will query too. With hundreds of queries to read through, and hundreds of samples to dive into, the opening line speaks volumes about you and what you’re capable of in the next 60 (give or take a few!) thousand words #querytip. So make those count!

Ali Herring @HerringAli · 22 Oct 2018

#querytip. Clarifying an earlier tweet: When you query an agent, it’s best to only submit one manuscript for consideration in that email. Don’t query every manuscript you’ve ever written or even just two. Pick ONE manuscript to focus on in that submission.

Ali Herring @HerringAli · 11 Oct 2018

Jessica Faust @BookEndsJessica

Think of your query blurb as the back cover copy of your future book. In fact, knowing that it might actually be used as the basis for your actual cover copy might help you understand its importance. #querytip

This is a fantastic #querytip. Read lots of book jackets—especially from sales comparables that could be on the same shelf as your MS. Your query is as much a sales pitch as that book jacket copy. Googling Goodreads + keywords is a great way to find comps. Put comps on query too!

Ali Herring @HerringAli · 18 Sep 2018

#WriteTip #QueryTip Be sure to balance your dialog with sufficient narration & action beats. Dialog & action beats without narration is like someone serving me dry toast without butter. Narration brings forward the internal part of the story, the part most of us gravitate toward.

Ali Herring @HerringAli · 4 Sep 2018

#querytip Please in query ONE project at a time.

Ali Herring @HerringAli · 14 Aug 2018

Biggest issue I see in my queries today: Lots of stories on sub that just follow the meandering path of a typical person's life. Sure, there may be some moral lesson there, but I'm looking for a conflict or story problem to drive the plot. #querytip #writetip

Ali Herring @HerringAli · 24 Jul 2018

#querytip The act of CHOOSING to ask for a full from the query pile is a big deal. It's an investment in time & a lot of hope on the agent's part for a match. We often LIKE more than we ask for. Our lists can only be so big. So make sure those 1st pages sing, & your query rocks!

Ali Herring @HerringAli · 8 Jun 2018

I'm seeing lots of great hooks right now in queries. A great hook is a fantastic start, so kudos, writers! For those who want help in that department, one of my favorite craft books for creating marketable premises is @DonMaass Writing the Breakout Novel. #querytip #writetip

Ali Herring @HerringAli · 4 Jun 2018

I keep seeing YA's with MG word counts, and MGs with YA word counts.#querytip #writetip Know your audience and understand publisher expectations for word count based on genre/age group.

Ali Herring @HerringAli · 19 May 2018

Why do agents like comp titles in queries? It helps us know where your book could be “shelved” or that something “comparable” has sold. Publishers don’t usually make new shelves. Also, tells us who might like your work, so that you’ve got a segment of potential readers. #querytip

Ali Herring @HerringAli · 14 May 2018

#QueryTip When querying an agent who uses an online form. In the query field: give me a full query letter (genre, word count, plot outline, hook, author bio, comps, why you queried). The synopsis field is not the place to tell me plot + hook. That's for a legit 1-3 page synopsis!

Ali Herring @HerringAli · 9 May 2018

Follow up to my earlier #querytip #writetip: WHY ARE STAKES IMPORTANT? B/c they give readers a reason to care about 1-what happens to the protagonist 2-what happens to the protagonist's group/world, or 3-the internal, seeing the protagonist's convictions/motivations tested.

Ali Herring @HerringAli · 9 May 2018

I always find it difficult to pass on quality writing when I can't identify the stakes of the novel (OR more importantly STRONG ENOUGH stakes) in the query letter. I can't spend 5 hours reading & looking for them, so you have to tell me up front! #writetip #querytip #sellme

Ali Herring @HerringAli · 7 May 2018

#PubTip #QueryTip #Debuts Be aware of publisher expectations for word count for the particular genre/age group you are querying. 166K is an auto no. Yes, there are high word counts out there, but those authors are proven entities.

Ali Herring @HerringAli · 10 Apr 2018

I'm seeing a lot of YA subs starting w/the protagonists out in the woods, out of "bounds" of their village, out hunting illegally,etc. It all feels a bit too Hunger Games. If your book's doing something very specific a category killer did, start somewhere else.#writetip #querytip

Ali Herring @HerringAli · 12 Feb 2018

#WriteTip #QueryTip When querying: please don't ask an agent to go to a "web site" to review multiple projects. Please don't "not" talk about your book at all in your email. A query letter is a business proposal, quickly identifying "saleable" information on your novel and you.

Ali Herring @HerringAli · 24 Oct 2017

#querytip Don't hit send without giving me a HOOK in your query letter - a one or two line description of the main conflict of your story.

Ali Herring @HerringAli · 4 Oct 2017

#QueryTip You don't give away the ending in the Query, but you DO tell the ending in the Synopsis.