Sometimes query advice doesn't apply to everyone. For ex, 250-350 words is sound advice, but not if you're writing SFF or historical. It's more important to establish context so we have enough info to understand goals, obstacles, and stakes than to keep it brief. #querytip
Vagueness is the enemy in a query letter. If you bring up obstacles, tell us what they are, if you make bold statements, clarify them with details. We have to read letters so swiftly, and it's easier to comprehend if you are specific. #querytip
A query letter shouldn't tell me things I already know, like that you're seeking representation (I know, lol), or quote lines from my wishlist. Instead, tell me what's intriguing about your project. Show your enthusiasm. Explain what will resonate with readers and me. #querytip
Another #querytip, specificity is key. Don't make vague statements to whet our appetite. Tell us what actually happens! Explain why things are the way they are. Give us examples that exist in your project. If I have lots of questions about the specifics, I'm likely to reject.
The five questions your query should answer: Who is your character? What do they want? What are the obstacles to them getting what they want? How will they try to overcome those obstacles? What will happen if they fail (a.k.a the stakes)? #querytip
Your query shouldn't start with hypotheticals. If you're beginning with "What happens when x meets y?" or "Imagine this specific scenario," then you're starting off on the wrong foot. Just be straightforward and tell us what your project is about. #querytip
I've said this before, but have someone who hasn't read your book read your query letter. You'll want to make sure it makes sense to someone who isn't familiar with your story. I get a lot of queries that seem to assume I know more about your world than I do. #querytip
Amanda Woody 🏳️🌈 @findmeeditingSince a few people have asked, I'll explain why I often recommend leaving out your book's “themes” in a query. Thread up ahead!
(And no, including themes will NOT get you rejected! 😊 )
To preface this, this is my own opinion, and others may feel differently! (1/?)
This is good advice! I literally am always advising people to be more specific in their queries. Themes are vague! They don't communicate the shape of your arc. And often, they are generic. Character, goals, obstacles, stakes--those should be the focus of your letter. #querytip
#querytip Telling me your project is ready for submission (to editors) in your query letter signals to me that you aren't willing to do more editorial work on it. I'm an editorial agent, so this is a bad sign.
A problem I see in many fantasy queries is that authors want to start with the details of their world, but with so little space, what really matters is the character and their journey. The world should be introduced as you explain how your character interacts with it. #querytip
Querying a lit agent is like applying for a job. Do your due diligence. As you learn about that person, make sure you're as respectful and polite as possible. If you want to reach out to authors who know the person, that's fine! But respect their boundaries. #querytip
Genevieve Gagne-Hawes @genevievejudeTime to sound that ol' "if you're getting offers on your book, let agents who have partials/fulls know so we can accelerate for you!" gong. #querytip pic.twitter.com/4tZB7SHIB9
#querytip If you are going to put that someone referred you to me in your letter, be sure that it is someone I've actually interacted with/heard of. If it's someone I respect, it can help, if it's someone I don't know, then how can I judge?