June 19th, 2009

books

letters from the query wars

# of queries read this week: 192
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 2
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: fantasy (1), young adult (1)

This week's fun fact:
Angel queries significantly outnumber vampire queries in this week's paranormal and/or urban fantasy pitches.

Dear Authors:

It's often recommended to personalize a query and one of the most frequent methods is to mention a book from the agent's list that you have read and liked, which may lead a person to believe that there's enough similarity in taste for a connection. Or, even more specifically, a book on the agent's list that is close enough in style and type to the novel that is the subject of the query that it would be a good match.

It can be interesting to see what books get chosen. Naturally, the more popular and best-selling the client, the more their name seems to appear. I certainly appreciate hearing that someone has enjoyed one of the books by my clients.

I advise a person to research carefully --

* Be sure the book/author actually is represented by the agent, or there could be egg on your face.

* If the book hasn't been published yet, it might not be a good choice to cite it as there is a reasonable doubt that there has been an opportunity to read it. This has already happened to me this year and made me feel that the person just went to my website and picked the first thing they saw rather than it being a genuine comment. If you do have the opportunity to read something early, for example as an ARC, perhaps a phrase indicating the source of admiration for the book might help.

* If you're comparing the novel in the query to a novel on the agent's list, at least be sure they have something in common. Sometimes these comparisons come across as quite a stretch of the imagination.