Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Make your query work for you

You never get a second chance to make a first impression!

We've all heard this before, but I think many people completely forget this concept when sending in query letters.

Remember, this is your first impression. You have to make a sale pretty dang quick and do it in a small amount of words. For this reason, it is crucial that you find a way to show the editor or agent that your writing is the next great novel. This is not to say you over-hype your writing, but you have to show us it is unique.

Since I re-opened Greyhaus for submission this year I have had a ton of manuscripts come across my desk that just could not close the deal. Was the writing good? Maybe? But the query letter (mostly coming from e-queries) just didn't make the sale.

What have I seen that turned me off?

Some writers have spent their whole time telling me their backstory, instead of getting to the story they wanted me to look at. Others have left off critical information that apparently was very important. Some spent so much time telling me what other people have said, that they failed to tell me anything about the actual story.

Look, I know queries are tough, but they are crucial! Make yours say what it needs to say. Leave off all the other garbage and make a sale! You might find more success.

Oh, and by the way, responding with a comment such as "if you read my whole book you will like it" just doesn't work. How many of you sit in a book store and read the whole thing before buying it? You use that pitch from the back of the book, right?

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