Friday, August 18, 2006

Queries—A Wrap Up

STATUS: I’m actually doing a reading day—client stuff mostly but I did read 200 pages of a full manuscript last night and I’m going to pass. Why? Because the secondary plot ended up hijacking the story and I kept wondering where the two main protagonists had gotten to. So folks, remember that. A great subplot can really create terrific complexity and round out a novel but if the reader is more interested in the secondary characters with the subplot, Houston, we have a problem.

What song is playing on the iPod right now? WILD HORSES by U2

It’s Friday! And I thought it would be fun to round out the week with the top ten things that drive me crazy in queries. Pet Peeves. Now remember, I only accept queries via email so some of my peeves revolve around this medium.

10.Writers who CC at least 50 other agents on the email query.

Yep, that’s designed to make me feel special. Not. Also, email queries that do this tend to end up in my Spam folder.

9. Queries with email subject lines that read, “Pity the fool who passes up this bestseller” or something of the like

Now that’s guaranteed to get me to quirk my right eyebrow in disbelief. On principle that gets an auto NO.

8. Queries that begin with “I know you don’t represent XYZ but I’m convinced that if you just took a look at this work, it would be right for you.”

Even good writing isn’t going to get me to like a book in genre I don’t care for.

7. Queries that open up with a complaint that it’s so darn hard to get an agent.


6. Query backgrounds with color or cutesy backdrops and strange fonts.

I’m really not looking forward to bifocals. Please don’t speed up the process.

5. A query that outlines 10 full manuscript projects in excruciating detail.

Enough said. Query one work at a time.

4. My XYZ novel is 300,000 words and it’s the first in a trilogy.

Agent runs screaming.

3. You’ve rejected me before but …

Sheesh. Never highlight your unsuccess!

2. My novel would make a great Hollywood film.

Okay, how many times have I ranted about this topic? Don’t worry, I won’t get started again.

1. Queries that begin with “This novel is the next Da Vinci Code.”

Folks, my agency doesn’t represent books like the Da Vinci Code. And quit beating that poor dead horse.

Have a great weekend. Until Monday...