Naomi Davis, Literary Agent (she/they)
Naomi Davis, Literary Agent (she/they) @NaomisLitPixA quick #querytip about how I read queries and why I need ALL the info I ask for in QM.
First, I read the query. If it's not immediately clear why I'll love the book, I move to the writing sample. If I love the writing, I request. If I love the writing but am still unclear...
...I read the synopsis. If that shows me I'm excited about where it's going, I request. If I read synopsis & am still unsure, I check comp titles&author bio etc.
At ANY stage of this, I might decide it's not for me.
But by including all, at ANY stage you have a chance to hook me.
Naomi Davis, Literary Agent (she/they) @NaomisLitPix@StorytellerMatt Please do submit to other agents! It is never in an author's best interest to give any agent an exclusive look. If you get an offer, just notify the other agents who have it!
I'm working through them as I can. :-)
Naomi Davis, Literary Agent (she/they) @NaomisLitPixYour friendly reminder why agents generally don't give personalized feedback unless we request a manuscript! My oldest query here is January 11th, so this is 15 days worth of queries. #querytip pic.twitter.com/aybd1x2uUu
Also friendly reminder that 95% of my work hours (I work full time, every week) are dedicated to my clients (contracts, submissions, edits, calls, strategy, more contract issues, etc) so all of this gets done outside that 95%. We WANT to read! We WANT you to succeed! #querytip
A friendly #querytip that when you receive an agent rejection, please remember that we often see titles on the shelves we once passed on, and kick ourselves a little bit for it. We are human. Our opinions are only ours.
Keep going. Keep revising & keep querying. Prove us wrong.
A quick thread of my #querystats for the end of the year! I hope this helps perspective if you feel you are getting rejects. I'm currently closed to queries and my oldest query is from November 11th. I still have some full manuscripts older than that.
Semi-regular reminder that when sending a query letter, it is truly best to include... a query letter
(In all seriousness: a query letter should say hello, introduce the book + genre, give us a tantalizing blurb, list some comp titles, and sign off with your bio)
A quick #querytip to follow my thread last night: think the words "zoom out" when writing your blurb/hook in your query. What would an advertisement show about your book? It wouldnt show much history or character insecurities. It would show who, what happens, where&how. Zoom out.
Naomi Davis, literary agent @NaomisLitPixUltimately, many manuscripts I sign and sell grab me right from the query, right from the first pages, and then never disappoint all the way through. I realize the above criteria are asking a lot, but with hundreds of queries per month in my query box alone, competition is steep.
As always, just my opinion! First few chapters are often rough. It'll really give your manuscript an edge if you re-sculpt your opening in a seamless way for readers to absorb. Many,many MSs I reject are for this reason. And I don't want to reject! I want to request&fall in love.
I'm wrestling w/ this in my own WIP right now as I re-work the opening one final time making sure the information doesn't disrupt the experience. Ironing in the little bits that matter, but only WHERE they matter. Making sure emotion doesn't take a back seat to info delivery. 10/
Here's a quick tip: your reader does NOT need to learn it all at once. In fact, the more gradually&naturally you deliver information through your MC, the more satisfying the read will be in the end. Your reader should explore and discover alongside your MC. There is no rush. 9/
Instead, I'll have a conversation later that processes thru those deeper issues. Characters are the same; you will give your readers a more impactful experience if they can interact w/your characters like people, rather than reading big chunks of Stuff Author Wants You To Know 8/
Above all, make sure the information in the scene is relevant TO THAT SCENE. Example:when I'm interacting w/someone and my trust issues are flaring up, I do not go back and narrate to myself the origin of those issues or note that many ppl like me have them. They just exist. 7/
If opening scene starts OUTSIDE the castle/whatever, you have an excuse to show it. If your opening dialogue is between 2 ppl w/ different views, that's an opportunity to demonstrate balance of beliefs in the world&foreshadow tensions ahead. Break something. Start a fight. 6/
So how do you do it?
Make a list of all the things your reader needs to understand. Do this on your second or third draft, not the first. Then, shape your opening few chapters in a way that allows the reader to witness how the characters interact with these elements. 5/
...that explains one or more of these elements, the reader notices you, the author, trying to get them to understand something. They don't want to notice you. They want to forget you exist (sorry) and just relax and EXPERIENCE. They will absorb&care about world more this way. 4/
- Relationship expectations
All VERY necessary for your reader to understand in order to sink into your fantasy world and enjoy the story. But if you paste a big paragraph...3/
The goal is for your reader to NOT notice you explaining the world to them. So accomplish this by structuring your first chapters to begin advancing the plot in ways that allows your reader to see your character interact w/ the unique worldbuilding elements. This can include: 2/