Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bits O' Wisdom: Bye Bye Query

While our previous posts on query letters have covered most of the dos and don'ts, I thought I'd give a quick refresher on the top 7 sins that will get your query tossed out so fast it will make your head spin.

1. Voice
Just because you're writing a children's book, doesn't mean you should sound like one in your query. Or like a teen if you are a YA author. Inauthentic voice will make any agent cringe.

2. Open with a Question
What would you do if....?? The dots aren't for you to finish the question. They're there because the agent/editor is no longer reading.

3. TMI
If there are too many plotlines, characters, etc...the agent might feel like your story is too all over the place. You'll get the boot.

4. Cliches
Avoid them. Especially cliched plotlines. Cynical girl meets the 'right' boy and changes her mind. Or stuff like: "On that day, his/her life will be forever changed." *gags*

5. Word Vomit (not the good kind)
Going on and on won't help you. Don't mistake your query for a long winded synopsis. It's not. Stick to the basics. Hook, MC, What's at stake.

6. Bragging
Don't describe your writing. Let your voice shine through and your writing speak for itself.

7. Vampires
Unless you TRULY have a UNIQUE take on them, most agents/editors nowadays won't even read once they see that word.

Have you committed one of these sins? I've been guilty myself, I'll admit it. What others would you add to this list?


  1. Don't forget including too much information about yourself. Agents don't need to know about your pets or children or your life story.

    I just finished querying and will have a post on my results next week.

    1. Ah yes, the "my life is so interesting I must tell everything" droning. Lol. Very true. Oh I can't wait to read about your querying results. =)

  2. So glad you mentioned the vampires. So sick of them!

    1. Most people are. There are a few stories that still grab my attention enough to put aside my dislike and read them, but it's rare to find one that changes them up enough. Thanks for reading!



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