- Be sure to research the agents you approach. Make sure they handle the category and genre you’ve written, and that, as far as you can tell, they’d be a good fit. Follow their blog and follow them on Twitter to gain more insights into what they’re looking for. Check out Predators and Editors. And consult a guide book to agents, such as Jeff Herman’s Guide To Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents.
- Query them mid-week during office hours. Not over the weekend; an agent might have received hundreds of queries over the weekend and you don’t want yours lodged among them.
- Be polite, respectful, and professional in all your dealings. You’ll be judged on the standard of your initial query letter, writing sample, and synopsis, as well as on any future correspondence (email included), so continue to be polite, respectful, and professional.
- The opening sentence, paragraph, and pages of your manuscript are critical to getting an agent's attention. Make sure they draw the reader in and absolutely sing.
- Don't: sound desperate (even if you are); come across as crazy (if you can help it; if you can't, never mind); mention previous failures of any kind, mention self-published work unless you sold thousands of units; forget to meticulously edit for comprehension, punctuation, grammar, syntax, and spelling; ramble on; say, "God told me to write this book."
- Do: highlight previous publishing credits; be positive in your tone; be succinct (300 words or under); meticulously edit for comprehension, punctuation, grammar, syntax, and spelling; carefully follow the "How to submit..." information from your agent's website; address your agent by their surname as you would in any business letter.
- Research how to write a query letter. Spend lots of time researching how to write query letters, practise writing query letters, and seek feedback (repeatedly), before you send any out. For help check out:
Tuesday, 17 July 2012
I’ve decided to post on what I’ve learned about querying agents. I’m not claiming I’m an absolute authority on the subject, but I have picked up a few things which I think are helpful, and I’d like to share them.
Here they are in no particular order:
http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2011/05/my-query-letter-for-jacob-wonderbar.html; Query letter Mad-Lib: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2008/03/query-letter-mad-lib.html; http://queryshark.blogspot.com.au/; http://www.mslexia.co.uk/getpublished/pub_wkshop2.php
Hope this helps.
If you can add more tips, please do so via the comments.