I’m new to this. I’m not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, so I wanted to start a conversation about the ever-important query letter. For those of you who are newer than I am, or not in the field at all, a query is a one-page letter that you send to literary agents and/or publishers in hopes to get them to request more of your manuscript and eventually represent or publish your book. From my research I have found that there is a sort of standard format for a good query:
Paragraph One: The Hook. The Pitch. Whatever you want to call it, it’s the one line that supposed to grab the reader.
Paragraph Two – Three: The background, the summary, the BODY of your story. This is meant to give some idea of the setting, the characters and the conflict; without giving too much away.
Paragraph Four: The bio. Your credentials, (umm… does avid reader count?) as well as the title, genre, and word-count of your finished manuscript.
Sounds simple enough, right?
So why is it so hard?
I have two queries I shoot out alternately. One of them I really like and has gotten nothing but rejections. The other one I kind of like and has gotten one request for a partial manuscript (fingers crossed people!) But why? What makes a query good to one agent and boring to another? One agent told me they just “couldn’t get excited” about my concept.
Enter knife to heart.
Any of you published or represented authors out there: any advice? What feedback have you gotten from your agent about why they picked you out of everyone in the slush pile?
I’d love to hear it!