October 9th, 2009


letters from the query wars

# of queries read this week: 191
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 1
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: post-apocalyptic sf/f

Dear Authors:

Welcome to an edition of good idea / bad idea....

* Good Idea:
Dear Ms. Jackson:
Some months ago you requested and read a partial manuscript of mine titled VERY COOL TITLE, and offered some feedback, though, at the time, you decided this novel wasn't right for you. I have since workshopped this story and revised it significantly. Your comments were very helpful in this process and I would like to invite you to reconsider my novel. To refresh your memory: [pitch, plus synopsis and new first five pages as per query guidelines].

* Bad Idea:
Dear Agent:
30 seconds ago you rejected my query letter and you must be blind. I suggest you revisit that decision as these are the reasons my book will sell and make millions:
[list of reasons follows]

World of difference.

As you know Bob, agents review a staggering number of queries and submissions (I'm currently approaching the 7000 mark for this year). Writing back immediately to have the agent reconsider will not yield results -- or at least not good ones. Either the query doesn't work or the pages aren't riveting enough, and so that needs to be addressed first. It seems like it should be obvious but, taking my own submissions as an example, one tends to get far more of the 2nd example above than the first.

Happy weekend!