How to Trim Your Query to 250 Words (or Fewer): Advice from Agent Janet Reid

Agent Janet Reid of FinePrint Literary Management, aka the Query Shark, gave this information at a query workshop for the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group. This guest post is by Donna Gambale and Frankie Diane Mallis, critique partners who blog at www.FirstNovelsClub.com
Author:
Publish date:

Agent Janet Reid of New Leaf Literary (formerly FinePrint Literary Management), aka the Query Shark, gave this information at a query workshop for the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group.

Image placeholder title

This guest post is by Donna Gambale and
Frankie Diane Mallis, critique partners
who blog at www.FirstNovelsClub.com
when they’re not writing young adult
novels. (Donna, author of "Magnetic Kama
Sutra," also previously guest blogged here)

Your ability to write a query that does your novel justice can make or break your chances of landing an agent. Reid recommends spending two months perfecting this 250-word marvel.

Your query encompasses three sections:
1. 100 words answering the question “What is the book about?”
2. A brief summary of your writing credits, if you have them.
3. Miscellaneous information on how you found the agent or why you chose him/her.

Check Out These Great Upcoming Writers Conferences:

THINGS TO CUT FROM EACH SECTION

Section One:
1. Back story.
2. World building.
3. Character roll call.
4. Telling.
5. A synopsis.

Section Two:
1. Academia – classes, teachers, degrees, dissertations.
2. Conferences you’ve attended.
3. Self-published novels, or traditionally published novels with poor sales.
4. Personal information.

Section Three:
1. Begging, flattery.
2. Arrogance or self-deprecation.
3. Offer of an exclusive.
4. Your marketing plan.
5. Quotes from rejection letters, paid editors, critique groups, your mom.

TWO THINGS TO KEEP

Section One:
1. Title, genre, word count.
2. The essentials of your novel. (Every time you think you know, ask yourself “So what? And then?” until you’re left with your main character, conflict, and consequences.)

Section Two:
1. Published short stories or novels.
2. Published magazine or newspaper articles.

Section Three:
1. Why you chose this agent.
2. A connection you have from a conference/workshop.

Start from the bare bones and build from there. Infuse each section with your book’s personality. Consider every word. Don’t forget your contact information. And close with “Thank you for your time and consideration.” Now get trimming!

steal_vs_steel_vs_still_grammar_rules_robert_lee_brewer

Steal vs. Steel vs. Still (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use steal vs. steel vs. still on with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2020 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 23

For the 2020 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets write a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Today's prompt is to write an explanation poem.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Upcoming Short Short Story Competition Deadline and Writer's Digest Turns 100!

This week, we’re excited to announce the upcoming deadline for the Short Short Story Competition, seven new writing courses, and more.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2020 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 22

For the 2020 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets write a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Today's prompt is to write a bird poem.

Sammons_11:21

Telling Our Family Stories: 4 Reasons Why It’s More Important Than Ever to Write Our Family Narratives

Nonfiction author Mary Beth Sammons explores the questions that cause us to learn more about our ancestries and what we learn about ourselves and each other when we do so.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2020 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 21

For the 2020 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets write a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Today's prompt is to write a tell blank poem.

Bair_11:20

Kristin Bair: Resilience and Inventiveness in the Face of Uncertainty

Author Kristin Bair shares how her latest novel changed structure during the writing process and what launching a book during a pandemic taught her about the publishing industry.

Making an Independent Short Film or Book Trailer

Take Two: Making an Independent Short Film or Book Trailer

With the film industry constantly changing, it's never been more important for a writer to take control of their own career. Use independent film tips to create a short film or book trailer to help get your writing noticed.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2020 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 20

For the 2020 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets write a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Today's prompt is to write a target poem.