Thursday, March 13, 2014

Writing Advise: Query Letters

What is a Query Letter?
A Query Letter is what you send to an agent when "Querying" an agent. Basically, it's a cover letter telling the agent a little about yourself and a little about your book so that they can get a sense of you and your writing before reading your book. From what I understand some agents wont even read past the Query letter if they don't like the sound of it, so it's very important.

Now, I have done a lot of research to get prepared to send my book out to agents and from what I can tell it's really a case to case basis of what an agent likes or doesn't like in a query letter. Obviously they all hate bad grammar/spelling but then their are some who say they hate it when a query letter is written from a characters point of view but also they're is this sight (click here) that does agent interviews and they show some successful queries and I've seen a few that were written from the characters point of view.
What I did was I tried to take the advise to heart but mainly I just did what felt right, you know? Because when it comes down to it I think the most important thing, that is surprisingly something I didn't see agents mention much if at all, is to be yourself because if an agent doesn't like that then personally I wouldn't want that person as my agent anyways. I mean don't like make a joke out of it, it should be at least mildly professional and coherent but to me it's like the agent reads your cover letter first and they think it's okay and then they read the sample of your book and it doesn't sound at all like the person who supposedly wrote it or they like both and then they talk to you and you sound nothing like your query letter, I don't think that would make a great impression. To me writing is who I am and I'm not going to pretend to be someone else in my query letter in the hopes that it would make an agent like me more.

My Advise -
  1. Be Yourself - Follow your heart if you will, just do what you think you would want to read as an agent, make it sound like you, don't be fake and phony to try and get an agent to like you.
  2. Don't rush - Don't spend half an hour on the letter and call it good, spend time on it, think it through, and then maybe have a few people read over it before actually sending it to agents.
  3. Be cocky but not too cocky - Don't start off by telling the agent that this is the best book ever, it will be an instant best seller and everyone will love it, but also you do want to sell it to them so don't say that it probably sucks or you probably wont like it or anything like that. Show that you believe in your story.
  4. When Querying an agent read carefully - Don't send a YA book to an agent who only represents non-fiction, don't send them a whole book when they only want five pages and so on and so forth.
  5. Be patient - Seriously patient! Most agents will say on their website how long it takes them to get back to you and lot of them wont respond if they don't like your book so don't like email them constantly to see if they liked it or whatever. Believe me I know once I send mine out I will be an anxious wreck, but I shall try to rise above it!

(Please note that this is just my personal opinion on these things and while I did write I query letter for my book I have not even sent it out to agents yet)

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