Crazy About Queries

The title is misleading. I don’t think anyone is crazy about queries. I think, to some extent, they literally drive me crazy, but I don’t enjoy them…

…yet there’s this certain rush associated with submitting one. I know, that truly is insane, but think about it: you’ve slaved away on a manuscript, and then you reach out to a person who has the power to turn that manuscript into a book. A real book, with a dust jacket and an author blurb. It’s intoxicating. Even though there’s a good chance the agent isn’t going to give a shit about what you’re writing, there’s also that very alluring chance they will. Hold onto that.

That being said, though, it’s a really foreign idea to me to metaphorically knock on someone’s door and be like, “Hey, I’m awesome. Here’s why I’m awesome. This is my awesome book. You should represent my awesomeness.”

Who does that? Yet you’re supposed to market yourself in a way that is both honest and intriguing, both humble and self-important. For someone who doesn’t know anything about the business and is intimidated by its nuances, this can be a difficult balance to strike. I try to read every agent’s blurb on their agency’s website to get a sense of their personality, and then gauge my pitch accordingly. I mean, I’m not going to write to a very by-the-books person and say, “Hello, sir. I’ve been drooling over your client list for the past fifteen minutes, and I want to be a part of it.”

I will, however, say something conversational if the agent seems like a person who would be receptive to that. The way I figure it, these people see dozens and dozens, sometimes hundreds, of query letters every day. If you don’t do at least something to establish yourself as an individual among the slush, you’re way more likely to slip through those very large cracks right into the reject pile.

Of course, I’ve only heard back on one query, so I’m hardly the person to give any type of advice. So… take it with a grain of salt, preferably around the rim of a delicious margarita.

Anyone out there have any query advice that has worked for them?

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