Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Query Letter Wars

As I've mentioned before, the query letter is something an aspiring author shouldn't take for granted. No matter how much you're tempted to press SEND after you write your first draft of the letter, please don't do it! Just think of your beloved manuscript: did you finish the first draft and go, "it's perrrrrfect!"?

You may have been right, but most likely, you may not.

Editing is crucial. Polishing is a must. No writer should send out anything less than uh-may-zing. But what makes a query uh-may-zing?

Sucks to say it, but there is no one answer. Several elements make a great query letter.

One of them is what Nathan Bransford (agent extraordinaire of Curtis Brown Literary Agency) blogged about earlier today: specificity. You have to explain, in the most concise way possible, who and what your story is about. You have to engage the agent's interest without giving them a laundry list of character names and events. Being brief not only shows the agent that you can sum up your novel's hook successfully, but it also sets you apart from amateurs who waste time on a slew of inconsequential details. And that, my writer friend, is kinda the point.

Want a peek at Mr. Bransford's incredibly useful (and hilarious) post?

Here's the link: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/03/secret-strength-of-killer-queries.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NathanBransford+%28Nathan+Bransford+-+Literary+Agent%29

Remember: this isn't everything there is to a great query. I'll be sure to post some more helpful tips later on, pinky swear!

Have a rockin' day, peeps!


  1. I'm gonna hold you to that pinky swear! I look forward to hearing about your query wars.

  2. My pinky swears are always binding, I promise!!! Glad to see someone who's willing to check!

  3. Oh, man, I saw Nathan's post on query letters--good advice, but challenging to execute!

    Thanks for stopping by at my blog. I really like yours--a fine start you've got! In fact, I plan to feature you in my next post of Up and Coming Blogger--usually on Tuesdays (if you don't mind, of course!) :0

  4. Hi, Laura!!! I've been a fan of yours ever since I read your query for Nickie's story on Query Tracker! Good luck with the full, by the way!

    Oh, and THANKS for the Up and Coming Blogger post!!! *fans herself while turning beet red*

  5. Thanks for the reminder about Nathan's post. I've been meaning to read it.

  6. No problem! It's definitely one of those posts you have to keep talking about so that more people read it.

  7. Love your blog... Love Nathan's blog! You can learn so much on the blogosphere I've only been on here for a little over two months and already everyone has been fantastic!!

  8. Thanks, Jen! Let me just say that I TOTALLY love your blog, too! I'm glad to see that you're having such a great time giving and getting feedback in the blogosphere. Keep up the good work!