Sunday, August 1, 2004

"I did not think all of your advice applied to me."

Dear Query Shark,

I am a fool. I, probably like a lot of people, thought your advice did not apply to me. More accurately, I did not think all of your advice applied to me. I didn’t think I really needed to read through all of the query shark posts before shooting my query off to you. So I read about half, rewrote, and then sent it off. As I waited I continued to read, and I learned so much more.

My current query letter is below, followed by the first pages of my novel. If you’re REALLY up for a laugh, check out the first query letter I sent just a few months ago, before I found your site.

It is at the bottom of this email, and truly cringe-a-riffic.

Now I’m off to apply what I’ve learned to my manuscript.

6 comments:

Rhyanna said...

I think everyone has the idea, "well maybe I'll be an exception."
Unfortunately, the guidelines are there for a reason, not to waste Literary Agents/Publishers time, but to help you better your chances of not going in the slush pile automatically for NOT following the guidelines. I did submit a query once upon a time, it didn't make the website, but that's ok. Learn something new everyday needs to become a habit, in my opinion. Listening, which also includes reading, is important for some reason, its reported often on how 'no one' is really listening. The same can be said about Guidelines, "Not everyone follows them, although they should."
Thanks for doing this Janet, I appreciate it...

blessings and have a great week.

Rhyanna

Herman said...

Rhyanna, someone, famous or not, said: 2 eyes, 2 ears, one mouth. Is someone trying to tell you something?

lightingliramor said...

I understand about following instructions, but there's a big archive to read here. It'd be nice if you could compile / summarize your advice in one post that people can read before they submit. Do people actually read the whole archive or do you not get many submissions these days?
Hmmm, I'd really like to land an agent and could really use some expert feedback on my query. I guess I'd better get reading. (have mercy!)

Janet Reid said...

Yes, you have to read the entire archive. Yes, people do it. No, queries haven't slowed let alone stopped. No, there are no shortcuts.

Mr. Smith said...

I was feeling rather down in the dumps today but after reading some of the requests and comments posted on your site I laughed so much my insides hurt. It is refreshing to see comedy alive and kicking..someone should write about it. Thank you.

Hope Welsh said...

lightingliramor said...

I understand about following instructions, but there's a big archive to read here. It'd be nice if you could compile / summarize your advice in one post that people can read before they submit. Do people actually read the whole archive or do you not get many submissions these days?

Hmmm, I'd really like to land an agent and could really use some expert feedback on my query. I guess I'd better get reading. (have mercy!)


An agent is an investment. A good agent is going to sell my great book. (Assuming I've written a great book)

So, like any other long-term investment, I'm going to do my research.

The time invested is going to benefit me in the long run, so it behooves me to do exactly what my 'dream' agent wants me to do and to learn everything I can about her preferred style.

For me, that means I read every damn word I see her write. I take every piece of advice--because she is my dream agent.

If I'm simply using this site for a learning experience, I might only read those queries in my genre that were good. I'd use those good ones for whomever my dream agent was.

I'm very pleased I've found this blog. I've read every single query now (it took me a week to read them all) and I've read the majority of the comments.

I've even looked to see how many of the 'good' queries are now books. LOTTERY is one that is now a book with 169 5* reviews. The Shark loved the query--a lot. This tells me she knows a good query--and a good story from pages--even if the author did pick a different agent in the end.

There are summaries of how to write queries all over the internet. To me, it makes sense to find the agent you want and find out what that agent wants to see particularly.