I wrote last week about the need and purpose of query letters — to get an agent for your masterpiece. This time I have a good article by Robert Lee Brewer at Writer’s Digest, which explains a little more about the query concept and also gives good examples of query letters that were successful in […]
More sage advice on querying from In A Tale Spin…check out the previous post here.
Query letters are such a daunting task. You must do the research. You must find who is publishing your type of book, who the agent is within that agency, and then decipher what they are looking for. I wrote one query letter about 12 years ago and was just sure I was getting an agent. I had a contact from another author. I had good feedback from beta readers. I felt confident my book was coming to fruition. I spent a long time crafting that query letter. I worked on a platform because I read that was important. I sent my query with high hopes.
Obviously, it did not work out the way I thought. I received a really nice, personal email from the agent explaining she wasn’t taking on any new manuscripts in my genre. She also offered I may need to revisit my sample chapters, and consider some revision to add tension. I was crushed.
Looking back, I see she was generous. My WIP was not ready. It was a good idea, but my writing was not there yet, and like she said, I needed some tension. It was too nostalgic, too giddy. I put it away and did not look at it for over a decade. Now I am in the thick of rewrites and restructure. I feel good about the direction, but I will not start querying until I feel it is ready. I also will send out more than one letter. Most authors I interface with say they sent anywhere from 30-100 queries. I also got some great advice about platform. Yes, they look at it, but it is not a deal breaker. It is better to have a following you grow organically, interact with regularly, and can count on wanting to read your work when it becomes public.
For now, I will keep writing.