P.S. Literary Agency
A bit of a bookworm. Literary Agent + Fairy Godmother at @PSLiterary . ✨ MSWL: adriagoetz.com.
I LOVE when author/illustrators list a few of their influences in their query. It contextualizes your work! If you mention Eric Carle + Oge Mora, I imagine vibrant collage. If you say Sir Quentin Blake + Peter Reynolds, I imagine loose, playful sketches and watercolor.
Avoid making crystal ball predictions in your query letter.
🚫“This book will be a NYT Bestseller.”
🚫“This book will win X award.”
I want to work with people who have their feet on the ground, and realistic expectations for what is a very competitive industry. #querytip
When I teach query letter workshops I like to encourage writers to take a moment, right before they nervously click send on their email, to imagine that the agent they’re querying is sitting on a couch in sweats with a cat curled up on their lap. #querytip
This has been First Paragraph of a Query Letter 101 with Adria Goetz. Remember to list your basics and nail down your elevator pitch and you’ll be golden! Go get ‘em! You’ve got this! #querytip
Other common querying mistakes: bashing other books in the same age group/genre as yours, word count too high/low, not including the basics, and when it doesn't feel like a professional email. #querytip
Adria Goetz @adriamgoetzNow let’s talk about what you ~shouldn’t~ do in the first paragraph. A common mistake I see is when writers use this precious real estate to list the themes or issues explored in their project. This feels vague and fluffy to me. #querytip
This looks like: “My novel is about love and fear and forgiveness and mental health issues and my protagonist overcomes many obstacles to accomplish her goal.”
This doesn't give me any sense for what actually happens in your book! #querytip
Now let’s talk about what you ~shouldn’t~ do in the first paragraph. A common mistake I see is when writers use this precious real estate to list the themes or issues explored in their project. This feels vague and fluffy to me. #querytip
The first paragraph is also the right place to mention any specifics on why you’re querying the agent in question—referred by one of their clients, saw something specific on their MSWL, etc. Keep it professional though! #querytip
Adria Goetz @adriamgoetzLet’s talk about the first paragraph of a query letter! In my mind this is the most important part to get right, and I want to share some thoughts on how to make it strong.
#querytip #amquerying #amwriting #amediting
I look for the first paragraph of a query letter to include a birdseye view of the project—AKA the basic stats (title + age group + genre + word count), as well as a sentence-long elevator pitch. This grounds the agent in the project + shows that you know your stuff. #querytip
Please be kind. #querytip
#QueryTip Use a distinctive subject line for your queries! It’s a small way to show you are savvy.
Subject lines like “Query” “Submission request” “PB submission” don’t catch my eye.
Use reading level + genre + title:
“Query for MG Fantasy - MISS MARGARET'S MAGICAL UNICORNS”
A few things I love seeing in a query:
2. Twitter or IG handle
3. A hook that makes me swat whoever is sitting beside me (usually my husband) and say, “Listen to this!!!!!!!”
4. Info about you! Especially fun stuff that gives me a sense for your personality