Naomi Davis, Literary Agent
The Scribbling Dragon 🐉 @ScribblingDrake@NaomisLitPix Is there a circumstance where a query could have one or some “don’ts” and still@get a request from you? (Just curious)
Oh yes. I won't "disqualify" a query for most things. The one that really matters more than anything is the blurb. If the query says "I have written a novel" but doesn't tell me what it's about, it's VERY hard for me to go further with it.
Our experience/connections tend to give authors an inflated sense of what our opinions mean. Just because *I* don't know how to sell a book doesn't mean its unsellable. A car salesperson is not the right person to sell your house, after all.
We are people, readers. Nothing more.
Naomi Davis, literary agent @NaomisLitPixI just want to add one more thought here. These are things you can control. There are things you cannot control, too, such as whether or not I'll actually want to request and read your book. Present it the best you can, but when you get rejs, shrug & move on. 1/
My reading preferences DO NOT SAY ANYTHING about your value as a creator or the value of your work. Put your best out there. That's all you can do. Never criticize yourself or base your own personal value on an agent's opinion. We are just readers, just people. 2/
Laurie Smith Murphy @LSmithMurphy@NaomisLitPix With comps, do you need to say how they are similar to your book, ie., setting, characters, magic, tone, or can you say that I believe my book will appeal to readers of these books?
Either works! More specific is better in my opinion, but don't stretch too far for a comp. Comps set up my expectations, and when they are not quite honest in order to chase a trend or whatever, it frustrates me.
• Unprofessional bio. ("Me? Well I'm no one special and I highly doubt you'll even read this..." - you know what? It's my job to read it. Don't insult me. Self deprecation is not attractive in a query.)
As always, just my opinion! Send me Q that EXCITES me!
• Slow voice and infodump. If your character doesn't need to think about it in the scene, then I don't need to know it yet.
• Heavy dialogue tags and adverbs. Show instead of telling.
• No comp titles - you may feel your bk is unique, but who will read it? Market!
• Too many characters and stakes. Who is your MAIN character showing plot? That's who I need to know about.
• Abstract genre placement. ("This book doesn't fall into one clear genre..." or "This book is a genre of its own" - well, that makes it hard for me to sell.)
• Many Proper Nouns, be they names, surnames, locations, titles. Keep to the min necessary to accomplish the above
• Long or abstract descriptions ("This book is about family, & journey to love oneself in spite of etc etc"). Tell me the PLOT. The rest shows on its own.
• Smart and sparse use of dialogue tags in writing sample (show, vs tells)
• Comp titles that tell me something concise and specific about the audience (movies are fine)
• Clear, professional bio paragraph with relevant history and current activity like social media
Some things that DO and DON'T grab my attn in queries, and recommendations on how to resolve the Don'ts:
• Clear blurb of the plot
• Concise description of character stakes
• Clear, unique setting
• Clear genre placement
• Sharp, quick-moving voice in sample
#querytip Sometimes, there is nothing wrong w/your query or book.
Sometimes, it's just not a book I want to read. Look at a bookstore's genre-specific shelf: you might only decide on one out of 200 books to read. Others might be in your interest range, but just don't grab you.
This is only my preference, but please: open your book w/a character. An omniscient/generic scene display, telling me what items are where rather than showing me thru eyes, opinion,& experience of a character sets a stage. But it doesn't invite me to come on a journey. #querytip
#querytip I don't like to see a ton of Fantasy Proper Nouns in a query, like full names, cities, organizations, countries, weapons. Give me the details in English. Your worldbuilding is clever, I'm sure, but let me develop a relationship with that when I read the actual book.
Naomi Davis, literary agent @NaomisLitPix#querytip #writingcommunity
Please make sure your query matches the genre selected. If it says adult fantasy but is YA fantasy, that will get a rejection. Agents DO notice.
OH adding to this #querytip - if it is a fantasy, it is not "Contemporary YA." Ghosts, elves, aliens, etc... all fantasy. If you don't see YA Fantasy as an available genre, please don't just select any YA genre.
#querytip #WritingCommunity Don't be afraid to let your excitement show in your query. It is our first introduction to you and your book, and telling us what's great about it (or why you felt strongly that you were the right author for it) sets the mood a little.
Your query is a sample of how it will be for agents to work with you. Remember to be professional, polished, enthusiastic, and provide all requested information. Skipping required parts of a query form doesn't inspire confidence.
Naomi Davis, literary agent @NaomisLitPixI do wish I could be open to all the genres I enjoy all the time, but there are times when either my list is full in a genre at the moment, or I'm just not feeling excited about reading those stories at the moment. Either way, if you query me while open to it, I can get excited.
But when I am open to YA Sci Fi and I see a YA Sci Fi, and then I see in the query history you tried to query me under 3 other genres while I wasn't open to YA sci fi, it's not the best start to our relationship. A good 1st impression goes a long way in this industry! #querytip
Naomi Davis, literary agent @NaomisLitPixHow to get an agent, and how we find clients!
I want to expand a touch on what I said in my previous Tweet about "predictability" in SFF. There are certain elements that have been done in a similar pattern so many times in SFF that it's pretty easy for me to guess what will happen next. #amquerying #amwriting #querytip But..