Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Pucker up, Buttercup!

Thank you Alex J Cavenaugh for your ingenious IWSG :)

Query writing . . . that's an entire insecure post itself, better yet, a year's worth of IWSG posts.

Anyhow, I digress. I'm referring to that closing paragraph today. The one where you state your title, word count, and hopefully, in one smooth turn of phrase, convince the agent they MUST read your work. 

How does one do that? 

I've seen the "Because you represent Dean Koontz, I think my writing is similar, so you should represent me for sure!" But really? Dean Koontz? He's published, like a million times published, and my writing is NO way similar, way beyond the I'm NOT published similar.

So I'll tuck my tail feathers and avoid that attempt at closing the query.

Often it's suggested to say something along the lines of, "I saw on your blog, on twitter, in an interview on AWESOMEBLOG, on Query Shark, and seven thousand other places that you love historical zombie romances, so I know you'll fall head-off-rotting-corpse's-shoulders for my story."

If I'm stalking someone, I feel a little uncomfortable admitting it, even if it is an agent and they know we have them in our radar on a daily basis.

Another way is to mention a connection like, "According to your tweets and the convo we had about manuscript interests, I'm sending you my amazing novel because you told me to."

But I'm not that cool, and I'm a bit of a chicken. So even if I was miraculously having a conversation with an agent, I would mess it up and wuss out before getting to the "Hey, send me your work!" line.

Needless to say, the closing paragraph of my query is as bare bones as you can get.

BIRDS OF A FEATHER is a gritty and emotional, young adult contemporary complete at 60,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Maybe I'll get the guts to figure some way to strike an agent's fancy (kiss butt) in a skillful, knowledgeable way bringing me one step closer to publication . . . 

Any suggestions? What's your method of piquing agent interest?


  1. I'm like you. I feel weird with the mentioning the whole stalking thing. And comparing my books to others. Then I worry what if they don't like that book. And I couldn't think of any comps anyways.

    I did find two authors though, not books, so that leaves it open. I haven't used this yet, but probably will try it out.

    My novel would appeal to fans of author 1 and author 2. (They're both ya contemporary authors w/gritty issue books.)

    But I just couldn't bring myself to compare my novel to someone else's.

  2. Fan dancing.

    No, seriously, I'm like you. I have the bare bones closing paragraph in my query too. I just don't feel comfortable with the "By the way, I'm cyberstalking you" approach. I'm sure there's a smooth, less stalker-y way to do it, I just don't know what it is.

  3. I only bring up some striking reason for querying them if there ACTUALLY IS a striking reason. With the first few I sent out I grasped for anything to personalize it. Not only was it time consuming, but so obvious. Now I don't sweat it, but if there is a solid reason I'm querying them and I truly think we were meant to be, then I mention it. :) Those are the ones that come easy.

  4. I usually say "because of your interest in x or...Congratulations on the recent sale of x. Because of that I believe my novel XXXX will appeal to your list (or 'be a good fit')'. Since I am re-querying a lot of agents (it's been almost 2 years!), I've had an opening paragraph where I explain what I changed and hopefully they want to take another look. I did recently say in a query that we follow each other on Twitter....LOL! The agent followed ME first. Good luck querying, Hope!!! BTW did you ever want to do a swap? (for fun reading?) xo Rachel

  5. I haven't reached the querying stage yet. But I've been practicing. Best of luck Hope!

  6. I used to feel weird about doing that too, but once I started personalizing, I think I got better responses. Don't push it, though. It'll be obvious you're grasping for anything personal. Sometimes it's better to just leave it off.

  7. My method does not currently include piquing the agents' attention. I've tried bare bones, but I've had a little more luck with bare bones plus one thing that's different about the novel. Example, in one of my novels, they end in a really unique setting (the ghost fleet of Suisun Bay), and so I mention that.

    Mind you, that query doesn't exactly have them knocking down my door, so I have no idea if I'm doing it right.

  8. I was like you! I totally didn't have a clue what to say. But then I started querying with Kelley and she's the best nonchalant butt kisser there is. I think it does add a bit to the query if you let them know you understand their interests. But in the end it's the meat of the query that will get you that request.

  9. I sort of wrote about this on my blog today. I think the comp sentence can really help you out a ton. I even offered some examples.

  10. My style is like yours as well - that's the way I like to do it.

  11. I actually love this closing. I think it totally works! Of course I also think I earned a few requests or personalized rejections at least by personalizing my letters.

  12. Your book Birds of a Feather sounds good. I love the title. Visiting from IWSG.

  13. I like the last one. Very professional. :)

  14. You are so funny. I had the same problem comparing my work to someone as big and as amazing as Karin Slaughter, for example, so what I did was say, "My book would appeal to readers of Karin Slaughter . . ." and I'd list a few more of my favorite authors. Or you could do it with specific titles. Like: BIRDS OF A FEATHER is a gritty and emotional, young adult contemporary that would appeal to readers of {insert comparable titles here], and it is complete at 60,000 words. You can put the complete at 60K somewhere else if you want but you get the point. :)

  15. I like the last one too! I'm so excited for you, Hope. I've missed you! I hope all is well with you and yours!

  16. Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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