Anatomy of a Winning Query

Have you noticed that agents tend to talk a lot about what not to do in a query, but less about what makes a great one? It think it’s because the good ones are each unique; it’s hard to come up with a formula that makes a terrific query. But the unexciting or badly composed…
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QueryDay… and a Q4U

Okay, now that we’ve all had sufficient time to totally deconstruct QueryFail and AgentFail (and hopefully recover), I wanted to let you know that today is QueryDay on Twitter… and yes, I’m participating. Why, oh why, would I do such a thing? Well, here’s why. In the interest of grace, and second chances, and the…
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Following Submission Guidelines

(Oops, technical difficulties, my blog didn’t post properly at the scheduled time. Sorry!) If you’ve been reading agent blogs and you follow them on Twitter, you probably know by now that most agents want you to follow their posted submission guidelines when submitting. A significant proportion of rejections happen because the query doesn’t follow the…
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Manuscript Submission Services

I always get questions about manuscript submission services like Authorlink or Writer’s Edge or Christian Manuscript Submissions. (Also known as manuscript display websites.) These are services that show your writing to agents and editors through a website and/or monthly report that displays your logline, synopsis, and a sample of your manuscript. Most of these services…
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Quick Update on Query Submissions

Many of you have written that you’re not getting an immediate automated response to your query. I just found out why. The responses are generated through Outlook, and they’re only sent when Cathy, our office assistant, has Outlook running. Since she’s part-time, this isn’t a whole lot of hours each week. So if you send…
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Your Queries Say a Lot About You

Over the last year, I’ve given you numerous examples of things not to say in a query letter. One of the most unhelpful things you can say in your query is something like, “my book will win the Nobel prize” or “it’s bound to be a blockbuster bestseller.” Or even the more restrained, “This book…
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Change of Heart

Last week, you may have noticed some interesting happenings over on Twitter. Several agents participated in “queryfail” day. They posted “turnoff” lines from query letters, in hopes of helping to educate writers about what we don’t want to see in a query. At first, I wasn’t going to participate, concerned that people might think we’re…
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What Not To Say (part 87)

I was watching American Idol last night (duh) and the judges were bringing contestants in one after the other and telling them either “You made it through” or “You’re out.” That’s how it feels when I’m going through my query box, reading them one after the other. You’re in, you’re out. Just like contestants on…
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An Embarrassment of Riches

Wow, that was an amazing discussion yesterday on the writer’s passion. Thanks for contributing! If you haven’t read all the comments from yesterday, you really should. They offer an incredible amount of invaluable advice and encouragement. And speaking of passion! It’s showing up in my inbox in the form of queries about 10 to 20…
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The Elevator Pitch, Third Floor

I hope you’re learning something from this 3-day tutorial on elevator pitches. (I promise, agents and editors will appreciate your efforts!) Today let’s talk about the process of crafting the elevator pitch. I think your best chance for success is to take it seriously as a multi-step process (because I know you have nothing else…
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The Elevator Pitch, Second Floor

So, how did you do on your self-critiquing? Some of you offered astute rewrites. Way to go! Today I’m going to give you a few more hints about elevator pitches. → Always be prepared. You never know when you’re going to come across someone who will ask, “So what’s your book about?” At conferences, there…
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The Elevator Pitch, Part 1

It has come to my attention that I’ve failed you. I asked you to send elevator pitches, without previously teaching you about elevator pitches. Mea culpa, mea culpa. I’ll try to make up for it over the next three days by giving you lots of tips about how to craft a successful pitch. (I won’t…
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Q4U: What’s Your Book About?

Okay guys, work with me here. Close your eyes (AFTER you read this post). Imagine you’re at a writer’s conference, waiting for the elevator up to your hotel room. The agent of your dreams walks up and stands beside you. He/she smiles and says “Hi.” You manage to return a coherent “Hello” in response. “Enjoying…
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The Art of the Query

If you’re trying to sell a book to a publisher, or an article to a magazine, you’re familiar with The Art of the Query Letter. Many of you have asked me to write more about query letters, be more specific about what “a good one” looks like, maybe give examples of query letters that got…
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I love words.

I love books and publishing and talking incessantly about them.

I love authors and all the intricacies of managing a writing life.

I sell. I negotiate. I coach. I brainstorm.

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