Monday, June 19, 2006

Query Letters, Part 1—The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Tune in for my five-part series on what makes a query letter and what doesn't. Throughout the week I promise to present the good, the bad, and the ugly of queries. . . .

It just makes me crazy. I'm sitting here going through my mail (the pile is officially up to my knee), and no matter how many times I say it, I get some of the worst query letters imaginable (and when I say query, I mean the letter that should be included in every bit of correspondence you have with an agent—letter, e-mail, proposal package, etc.).

How is it that you spend days, weeks, months, or even years writing and revising your manuscript and think that the query doesn't matter? This is my first impression of you, and if you can't get it right I'm probably not going to even bother reading your material. Your letter is the one thing that determines whether or not you are going to get read, so why wouldn't you spend just as much time writing and revising that as you do your manuscript?

For those of you who can't seem to remember, or find it too difficult to review an agent's Web site before submitting, please take a look at our previous posts on pet peeves (Jacky's in particular) as well as our Web site for a reminder of what every letter you ever send to an agent should include.

—Jessica

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

" please take a look at our previous posts on pet peeves (Jacky's in particular) as well as our Web site for a reminder of what every letter you ever send to an agent should include."

My pet peeve is things like this on a web site without a link. I mean, how on earth am I supposed to FIND your pet peeve if you don't give me a link to it?

Webmaster said...

That's a good point. Thanks for pointing out the oversight. Click here to read Jacky's post on pet peeves, and here for the BookEnds Web site.

If there are other posts you'd like to read but don't see a link for, clicking the Archive link in the left-hand column will give you access to all the blog posts.