March 19th, 2010

books

letters from the query wars

# of queries read this week: 234
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 1
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: steampunk

450+ queries still to go

It's so much easier in these little updates to talk about what a person should _not_ do in a query -- usually based on examples seen throughout the submissions of the week... Why is that? So in the spirit of expressing things positively...

Do...

....finish (and polish!) your novel before you begin to query
....address the query to a specific agent (e.g. Dear Ms. Jackson)
....include your name, email address, postal address, and phone number in the body of the query
....be professional in the query
....use plain text
....pitch one book (even if it's the beginning of a series)
....include in the query package what the agent's guidelines request (in my case: query letter, first five pages of the novel, synopsis of the novel (as a general estimate, 2-3 pages seems like a reasonable length, and more than 5 starts to feel hefty, imo) -- be aware your mileage will vary here
....proff-read before you hit send ;)
....respect those exceptions that prove the rule
....be patient

(not necessarily an exhaustive list)

I've seen tons and tons of negative things said about the query system and about query-writing. What are the positive aspects of the process?