Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dazzling Queries

Last week we talked about attracting the attention of a publisher or agent with a query letter. I am asked all the time what to even include in a query. It is very difficult to look objectively at your proposal. But this is exactly what you must do. You have about two seconds to attract the attention of your writer enough to make them keep reading.

No one else is in love with your book idea yet. They don’t know how talented you are, and telling them so won’t cut it. You’ve got to show them, and fast.

As I said before, all agents and publishing houses have different submission guidelines. Read those guidelines and follow them to the letter. If one house wants your synopsis first and another wants you bio before anything else, give them exactly what they asked for. Just like the Bible asks that which of you parents would give your child an egg when he asks for a fish, don’t give your agent an egg if she asks for a piece of bread.

Sadly when most of us first begin pursuing publication or representation, we don’t have many publishing credits to showcase. You can’t get published without an agent, and you can’t get an agent without having been published. Ugh! What’s a writer to do? Instead of elaborating your resume to impress, dazzle them with your ability to put forth information and ideas.

Don’t fake it. Don’t apologize. Be yourself. Don’t tell them how much your family and friends love your writing. Supply the information requested and get out of there. You have one page to dazzle. One chance. Best wishes on your great success.

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