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:
- Feb. 11, 2017: Writers Conference of Minnesota (St. Paul, MN)
- Feb. 16–19, 2017: San Francisco Writers Conference (San Francisco, CA)
- Feb. 24, 2017: The Alabama Writers Conference (Birmingham, AL)
- Feb. 25, 2017: Atlanta Writing Workshop (Atlanta, GA)
- March 25, 2017: Michigan Writers Conference (Detroit, MI)
- March 25, 2017: Kansas City Writing Workshop (Kansas City, MO)
- April 8, 2017: Philadelphia Writing Workshop (Philadelphia, PA)
- April 22, 2017: Get Published in Kentucky Conference (Louisville, KY)
- April 22, 2017: New Orleans Writers Conference (New Orleans, LA)
- May 6, 2017: Seattle Writers Conference (Seattle, WA)
- May 19–21, 2017: PennWriters Conference (Pittsburgh, PA)
- June 24, 2017: The Writing Workshop of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
- Aug. 18–20, 2017: Writer's Digest Conference (New York, NY)
THINGS TO CUT FROM EACH SECTION
1. Back story.
2. World building.
3. Character roll call.
5. A synopsis.
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.
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
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.)
1. Published short stories or novels.
2. Published magazine or newspaper articles.
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!