Query trials and tribulations

I’m querying again. And we all know what that means. I’m either chewing drywall in anger or consoling myself with brownies. Does eating brownies while walking on the treadmill do any good? That cancels out calories, right? I’m pretty sure that’s how that works.

I was going out of my mind the other night. I read one agent blog that said, “Never put your word count and genre at the top of the letter. That’s dull business info that should come at the end. Lead with a hook!” And then I read another agent blog that said, “Putting the genre and word count at the end of your query is highly unusual. Let the agent know right off if this query is right for her.”


Querying isn’t confusing! Nah, it’s easy peasy lemon squeezy. Mind you, this info wasn’t front and center on their agency submissions pages or agency bios. It was floating around in their blogs. I did find it, tho. And if I query either of these, I’ll make sure to follow instructions. It makes me wonder if those agents who never specify what they want in a query will take any damn thing, if they’re just more laid back and relaxed. “Baby, I’m so chill, I didn’t even MAKE a webpage. Send me any old damn thing.” You could mail them a query that says, “Dear Sweetie, here’s my query. Get in on the ground floor of this cornucopia of awesome, and we’ll make some serious cash. Righteously, Barbara Ann,” and they’d send for pages in the following seconds.

Or maybe not.

How thorough is your agent research? A quick scan of Publisher’s Marketplace or Query Tracker? Or do you click on every Google reference AND shell out some serious dough for the Agent’s Market book? Or are you at the stage of your career where you’re done looking or don’t yet give a shit?


8 thoughts on “Query trials and tribulations

  1. I still care. I cared enough to research potential agents until I found ones I thought shared my same interests and goals.

    What I didn’t do was follow their blogs to try to decipher how best to approach them. I simply wrote the best query I could (which broke a shocking number of “rules”), followed specific guidelines (add who your favorite author is and why–kind of guidelines) and submitted to a handful of agents.

    You can’t please everyone and if you have to juggle the way you write and present yourself, then maybe there are better agents suited to your style. Ones who really don’t care if you wrote Title, Word Count, Genre or Genre, Word Count Title.

    Best luck in this difficult and trying process. My fingers are crossed for you as you send out this new batch!

  2. I like the agents who have blogs, but I suppose I’ll have to query broader than them when I get back to it. 🙂 My favorites are Janet Reid, who does Query Shark and Barbara Poelle (who sadly doesn’t rep fantasy, but who is funny enough to make me wonder if I could write a mystery just for her).

    For real research, I used AuthorAdvance and QueryTracker. I would follow through for agency web pages or personal blogs. Many of the agents whose blogs I follow are taking the summer off to catch up on queries though, but will hopefully have that updated on their agency pages.

    Good luck!

  3. I generally use Query Tracker when making a list of agents, then I check on specific agents over at Absolute Write Water Cooler before I send a query.

    I don’t sweat the details. I use the guidelines on their web site, and just to be clear, I specifically say on the query: Per the guidelines on your web site please find attached yadda, yadda (whatever it is they ask for).

    If their web site isn’t up to date, that’s their problem, not mine.

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