May 8th, 2008


letters from the query wars

# of queries read this week: 123
# of partials requested: 1
genres of partial requested: women's fiction (1)

random notes:

No matter where or how many times you say what you do not represent (in this particular case, children's picture books, which are a much different market from YA novels), there's at least a few submissions every week -- for example, two picture books about cats, from the same author.

First Star Trek query in a loooong time.

From a query: "My background is probably a little different from that of your typical author" -- which led me to wonder what *is* the background of a "typical" author? Or, more particularly, what might one assume it is?

Something that got my attention at the end of a query: a reference to an old colonial cookbook and a comment about my cooking blog. It was in a p.s. so it was extra just for me. That's personalizing a query and will get it a closer look. Of course, it wasn't just for show, either -- the cookbook actually fit in the reference material for the novel. Personalizations that are obviously just tacked on have the opposite effect. For example, mentioning a favorite author from my list and then saying something that makes it quite clear that it was a random choice and not actually based on reading anything.

Things not to do: email a link to your online novel and/or cc many agents all at once.

Favorite tunnel vision view of the week: The query that arrived with an explanation in the opening paragraph of how the author had visited the DMLA website, knew that their material was not something I represented, but decided to query me anyway. Why? You tell me.