February 5th, 2010


letters from the query wars

# of queries read this week: 148
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 0 *
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: n/a

* That is to say, no requests on the queries read. However, a previously requested YA partial generated a request for a full manuscript.

First. A BIG thank you to everyone who follows submission guidelines and sends me those crucial _first_ five pages with their query and synopsis.

(And, yes, I'm still working on my synopsis post but got derailed by this fun Amazon / Macmillan thing. And then our email server decided to take some time off without actually filing a vacation request which resulted in random arrivals of backlogged emails for a couple days. All fixed now I hope.)

Second. Professional, articulate queries really do stand out from the crowd. But, here's a few examples from this week (all true) that seemed double-plus-ungood to me:

-- Sending an email to my personal email address and addressing it "To Whom It May Concern" (see also: sending a query via Facebook or any other social media)

-- An email requesting permission to send a query letter (this tends to strike me as similar to a conversation that starts with "can I ask you a question?")

-- Stating that our submission guidelines were carefully reviewed, and then sending the synopsis and (way more than) the first five pages as an attachment

-- Telling me you copyrighted the book already (bonus points for telling me that the reason you did this was so I wouldn't steal your novel)

What do you wish you could go back in time and tell yourself about queries before you sent your first one?