So . . . no one on here knows me.
Wait, no, I take that back. Several escapists know me from inkpop or DeviantArt or Twitter or Blogstot. It’s all of you readers who probably don’t have a clue who I am. So, I’m going to write you a story to show you just who I am:
“Open your door.” I scowl at my mother through the hard wood panel that separates me from the rest of my house. I’m not going to open the door now. I’m too busy writing four books and I’m trying to finish the photoshop image that she’s not allowed to see yet.
For the past two months I’ve been working hard on editing Silence – a book of mine that was in the June top 5 on inkpop. I spent the six months before that actually writing the book. (It would have been done in three weeks if school hadn’t gotten in the way.) And last week I sent the first 50 pages of Silence off to an agent.
That’s the part where you squeal for me.
But I’m actually extremely lucky, and boy do I know it. Most people take years and years and years perfecting their works. That wasn’t the hard part for me. What seemed impossible was writing the query letter to go with it.
So, I’m going to talk about writing that query. I have no idea if it’s strong or eyecatching to agents, but everyone else seems to like it. Honestly, writing that small letter took me ages. Those three paragraphs got crumbled and shredded and ripped apart. Not to mention cried over and screamed at.
Here it is, the basics of a query letter:
PARAGRAPH 1: It’s a common rule to tailor your first paragraph to the agent you’re querying. This paragraph should be specific to each agent. Not a general section to the agency they work at, but one individual person. Show that you’ve done some research, read the work they represent and make sure you’re making a good choice about querying them. If they don’t rep what you write, then don’t send them a letter. Keep this short and simple as well.
PARAGRAPH 2: Here’s where you put your book pitch. This was the easiest part for me because inkpop did a good job with making sure I knew how to write an appropriate blurb that was short and would entice my prospective readers. That’s exactly what you do here. Don’t list the names of minor characters, focus on the BIG MAIN plot of the book.
PARAGRAPH 3: This is your “I love me” paragraph as a teacher of mine put it. It’s where you show off your credentials as a writer. If you’ve been published before, mention it. If not, say that this is your first piece and leave it at that. List the writer’s group your involved in and how long you’ve been with them. Don’t bore the agent with personal information about your family or pet zombie, Fluffy, who lives in your basement and eats spaghetti on a regular basis.
Conclude with a sentence like: “Thank you for your time and consideration and I look forward to hearing from you soon.” and leave it at that.
For me, the first paragraph was the toughest one to write. I did my research for other agents (not the one that specifically requested the 50 pages of Silence) and I still had trouble addressing them. The third paragraph was the hardest to edit. At first I had no idea what to write, and then I overwrote. I’m still not sure if I found a balance there or not. But we’ll see. And finally, the second paragraph, just think of it as the blurb on the back of your book with the added information of how old your main character is.
Best of luck in your query writing! But make sure you’ve got the book FINISHED FIRST.