Friday, April 17, 2009

Today is QueryDay on Twitter

Today is another installment of Queryfail (now renamed QueryDay) on Twitter. I missed the last one, so I've planned to follow this one as best I can. Check out the blog below to learn how to participate (ask agents questions, follow the chatter about queries they've seen - good and bad).

I think all aspiring writers could use some advice when it comes to our query letters.

http://theswivet.blogspot.com/2009/04/heads-up-rules-for-queryfail-2-queries.html

update: 4/18/09
For those of you who weren't able to follow the Q&A yesterday on Twitter, I've listed just a few of the items that I found most useful below.
Q:bostonbookgirl: #queryday ?: To include the "personal" (I read your blog, clients, interviews with X) sentence(s) or not to include them? (@sam_elliott )
A:bostonbookgirl: #queryday a: @sam_elliot I love to know someone follows me on twitter and it is a nice hint that you aren't clueless. Def. include it!
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Q: christinerose: Is "I'm seeking representation for..." in the first PP too obvious to include? Should an author go straight into their query? #queryday
A: ColleenLindsay: @christinerose You wouldn't be writing the query if you weren't seeking representation. Unnecessary.
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Q: neenerspb: Can publishing fiction online, and getting a big following because of it, hurt chances of finding rep/getting published? #queryday
A: RenovationThrpy: @neenerspb No, you're building a platform - so long as your well doesn't run dry. #queryday
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A: rachellegardner: The key to a query letter is the same as in good fiction: show, don’t tell. SHOW me that your work is amazing, don’t tell me. #queryday
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A: skyladawn: @christinerose Start with the hook. One sentence premise that keeps the editor reading. Then your paragraph with the novel specs. #queryday
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A: bostonbookgirl: FYI: The term “just completed” tends to read to me like “I never revised or spent time thinking about this after finishing.” . #queryday
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A: skyladawn: #queryday Subject line "I've just written a novel that can and will sell!" is an auto-deleted email. Total fail.

A: zumayabooks: @TheaRauth Beginners can replace lack of creds with info on how they prepared manuscript--critique, editor, whatever. #Queryday
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A: LeighEllwood #queryday I wouldn't compare a work to LoTR or HP, but to mention you believe readers of those works are your target gives a clear pic.
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A: christinerose @dpeterfreund Also YA or MG is normally from a single POV - that of the young protagonist, of course. (I've recently learned) #queryday -11:01 AM Apr 17th, 2009
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A: Remember, it's not bad to be able to compare your book to others people have heard of. It's good. It helps people begin to capture a vision for the type of book you've written. If you can point out the ways your book is similar and different, and why you think yours is a good complement to the other, you can further help a publisher understand what your book is all about. Don't ever claim "There are no books like mine." If that's your impression, go back to the bookstore and find some.
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A: rachellegardner: TOP reason I say “no” to queries is the story doesn’t sound unique, fresh, exciting. The problem isn’t the query, it’s the book. #queryday
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A: JoeBerkowitz @ChristaCarol And if you do mention your site, be prepared to prove your hit-count. Editors/agents go to compete.com #queryday -11:39 AM Apr 17th, 2009
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A: rachellegardner @pdorseywrites If unsure, use Ms. or Mr. to be safe, professional. I've said on my blog I don't mind you using my first name. #queryday -11:46 AM Apr 17th, 2009
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A: egtalbot many great thrillers have prologues, but have heard a lot that agents dislike them. Any advice on that? Rename "Chapter 1"? #queryday -11:49 AM Apr 17th, 2009
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A: danielliterary @Selestial I don't like to hear anything about series in a query. Often scares me off. #queryday -11:56 AM Apr 17th, 2009
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A: danielliterary @TheaRauth If your daily traffic numbers are in the thousands (of unique visitors), then mention it. Otherwise, no. #queryday -11:57 AM Apr 17th, 2009
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A: rachellegardner @Evenstarr1 Writing credentials don't sell your book, your WRITING does. Can't stress strongly enough. Take time to develop craft. #queryday -12:30 PM Apr 17th, 2009
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: ColleenLindsay @Georgia_McBride Right, but the standard YA is still anywhere from 55k to 80k. #queryday -1:08 PM Apr 17th, 2009
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A: bostonbookgirl @screamingguppy I don't really care if you had an editor for the manuscript. No need to mention. #queryday -2:00 PM Apr 17th, 2009

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