There are some really simple tips that can maximize your query’s impact. Once you’ve got the basics–word count, genre, hook, mini synopsis (with a hint of intrigue), and your delightful author bio–what can you do to rise above the crowd?
- Personalize your email and know something about the agent you’re querying. Include a personal salutation. Have you read one of their client’s books? How did you find them? Do you follow their blog or like something they tweeted?
- Research and be selective in your querying to agents. Only query agents who represent work in your genre. It’s a waste of everyone’s time for you to submit too broadly. Agents know when you’re grasping at straws.
- Keep your query to ONE email screen. We might not want to scroll to learn more if you haven’t hooked us from the start. One email page means we can scan and find everything we need to know. Having the whole package without scrolling is a big bonus.
- It’s okay if you’re a debut writer. Don’t apologize! Instead tell us the reason you wrote the book, any short stories you’ve published, give us something to remember you by instead of ‘this is my first novel.’
- Charisma, humor, or personality. Don’t be afraid of adding a little bit of personal flavour to the query. Authors that aren’t afraid of adding wit to their bio are the kind of people that agents want to work with and editors want to sign up. That means they have some personality that will be a benefit in the publicity process. Textbook query execution can be boring. Don’t be afraid to be yourself! But within reason, as it’s a professional relationship you’re trying to secure…
Finally, spell check, spell check, spell check! Use this as a check list and good luck!