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#10412 Newbie's Guide to AQ Connect

Posted by Cat Woods on 29 October 2010 - 07:00 AM

Ditto-ing AQCrew's welcome.

The biggest tip I learned as a beginner on this awesome site is this:

Don't be afraid, be respectful.

In other words, your opinion matters. How you view something or what you feel about something is uniquely yours and it is not wrong. So, don't be afraid to voice your opinion and don't be afraid if someone contradicts you. Instead, respectfully listen to the thoughts and opinions of others. You might be surprised by what you learn--or what you can teach.

The writing biz is complicated. Every day I learn something new and I've been at this for a long time. In fact, one of the most valuable things I've learned about my writing came from a peer so new to the process she hadn't even finished her own novel yet.

Don't be afraid. If you have a question ask it. If you have an opinion share it.

Be respectful. Treat others as you would like them to treat you. If you want a critique, give one. If you disagree with commentary, listen to it then ignore it.

In the process, you'll learn great things, meet great people and be a part of the best writing community on the web.

Oh yeah, and if you write for kids, PM me and I'll provide a password so you can learn a little more about the nuances of the juvenile biz. We've got great members who can help answer questions and address concerns specific to this age group.

#7784 How to Get Other AQC Members to Critique Your Query

Posted by Jean Oram on 13 October 2010 - 10:08 AM

Some tips to get help on your query from other AQC Members:

Remember that critiquing someone's query takes time--time away from one's own writing.

You are asking a favor from a complete stranger. Make it feel worth their time by not posting a rough draft of your query.

People want to see your best work so they can help you make it better. Why spend their time helping you bring your query up to something you could have done by creating another draft?

Also, pay it forward by critiquing other people's queries.

Even if you aren't an "expert" mention some things that work for you as a reader or don't work for you as a reader--even if you can't explain why or give suggestions on what could improve it. People help people who help them.

P.S. Copying and pasting your query into the topic has, historically, been much more successful that attaching a file of your query.

#10644 Newbie's Guide to AQ Connect

Posted by EMDelaney on 30 October 2010 - 10:49 AM

I'll take a stab at it. I'm not new per say, in that I was on the old site for a short time before the transition, but I'm new enough I imagine.

I would think the most apprehension lies in the area of being hesitant to critique others. I was slightly apprehensive because I didn't feel like I had the experience to comment on other's work. I'm not a heavy now, yet I do comment on certain threads. I find, that a lot of the crit I give mirrors that of what has been offered to me at some point to a certain degreee. I have however, begun to incorporate my own opinions into it. I've learned one very valuable lesson about querying. TAKE YOUR TIME! Evaluate carefully. With this particular part of your journey, slow down.

One thing I have started doing is NEVER writing a revision the day I recieve the critique. I find myself reading the crit several times before I respond, IF I respond at all. You have to evaluate the crit carefully because despite the seeming experience level of the critiquer, it is your story and YOU know it best.

That is not to say that you should not listen to the fine folks' advice on here. Personally, my query isn't anywhere near the same as the first one I offered. This has come as a result of advice and direction I have rec'd here. There are some wonderful, talented people on here who are gracious with their time and can be very helpful. You have to decide who, which and what critique is important to you and how to use it. Ironically, even a poor critique at times, can be helpful.

Be mindful, involvement is what makes this site go round. Please take, we welcome it, but give as well. It is understood that most will stack up on the side of take at first but once you have picked up a thing or two and feel you have something to offer, please do.

Good Luck to you all.

#5802 ******QUERY POSTING RULES******

Posted by Jean Oram on 29 September 2010 - 08:30 PM



(Not here reading this thread...!)


Post a copy of your full query for critique in this group ONLY.

Start a new topic by clicking on the START NEW TOPIC button, and then title it using the following format:  YOUR BOOK's TITLE (your book's genre) 

ALL revisions to your original query must be posted in the SAME thread. 


WARNING: New threads for the same query will be reported by members and deleted by the Administrators.


How to Change Your Topic's Title in order to include its (Genre): Click on the "edit" button just below your first post. USE FULL EDITOR. Click on it to edit your original topic title or subtitle. Make your changes and click on save.

Don't include attachments: You will gain better results by copying and pasting your query into the body of the post, rather than attaching a file. 

Not getting critiques?: Check out this thread for tips.

Thanks and good luck!

P.S. If you need help from a moderator (there are a bunch of us hanging around here) and are referencing a specific post or thread, please use the URL/link of the thread or post you are referencing. It saves us all a ton of time and makes sure we're all on the same page. :wink: Thanks.

NOTE: AQC is a PUBLIC forum. Posting your query in the query critique group on AQC WILL result in your query being searchable via the internet.

#10895 Newbie's Guide to AQ Connect

Posted by Nobody on 01 November 2010 - 03:11 PM

One thing I learned as a newbie on the site was to take my time and look around. Read posts, see if my questions had already been asked and answered, get a feel for the way things work. It's intimidating to want to post a question or even offer a tidbit of advice. It's intimidating to approach a bunch of strangers and strike up a conversation sometimes. Fortunately, I've met a lot of people here who are warm, welcoming, and are in for the long-haul. They love to help, and they need things too. Yes, even from a newcomer. Everyone has their own level of experience. And then there's the good old adage that you get what you give. The more you give in a community like this, the more you'll get back. And this is one of those sites that are worth it.

#10404 Newbie's Guide to AQ Connect

Posted by AQCrew on 29 October 2010 - 04:55 AM

Hey there all you AQC new members,

Welcome to AQConnect. As new members of the forums, you have an unique perspective on what it's like to join our writing community, and for this reason, we'd love to hear from you.

Feel free to post a few tips and suggestions in this thread for the reading pleasure all your fellow newbie members who would like to get involved, but just don't know how or where to start.

Every single member of AQConnect was once a "new member," so we value everyone's contributions.

Happy AQConnecting...

#119861 Use Common Sense When Sharing Your Work

Posted by Jean Oram on 27 June 2012 - 12:53 PM

AQC is a great writing community. That said, from time to time "strangers" pop in and offer to critique work and then disappear or people don't get what they expected. It happens. Life happens.

I'm here to say--use common sense when sharing your work. Even though this community is full of top of the line awesome folks who love to give--be smart. Occasionally the odd bad apple may get through the gates.

Things to think about before sharing your work:
  • Do you know this person? Have they posted much on AQC already? (Check the number below their image on their posts--it says how many posts they have.) As well, check out the query critique group as a lot of critiquers hang out there. Or, even better, go to their profile and click on the blue "Find Content" button to check out things they have posted.
  • Now that you have snooped around their profile, do you think you might mesh with this person? I.e. will their crit style leave you sobbing? Or will it be the best thing to ever happen to your writing this year?
  • How much do they want to critique? A few pages is generally safe, but if they want your WHOLE ms right off the bat, make sure you perform due diligence. Just in case. This is the Internet after all.
Other things to consider:
  • What is their turnaround timeline?
  • What do they like to read? If they read horror and write horror they might not be the best person to tell you whether your sex scene will fit Harlequin's guidelines.
  • How in-depth are you looking for? A quick read or an edit?
  • Start small. Send small bits and work your way up to a bigger commitment. (Unless it is a beta read--in which case it still may be smart to offer the first chapter to see if you two are a good fit and they want to keep reading.)
  • Is it sharing? If so, are you a good fit or will you regret the time you spend working with this person?
  • WHAT IS YOUR GUT FEELING? If your spidey-senses are saying "no," listen even if the person is talking a good game that feels irresistible.
But most of all--be smart. I don't want to hear about anyone getting screwed over or finding someone has taken their work as their own or posted it somewhere online without permission. Got it?

What else? Share your tips and ideas.

RECENTLY ADDED TIP: Once you have found a beta reader/critiquer, be sure to let them know if you need 'soft' criticism or if you want 'hard' criticism. If you are just starting out, you might want to only hear about the biggest overarching issue you have and not every little crushing nitpick. If you are a veteran, you might want to hear every little thing that isn't working. It is your responsibility to let them know what you need and want.

#45005 Links for Successful Synopsis Writing

Posted by tibby on 12 May 2011 - 02:23 PM

I found these links helpful when writing my synopsis. Maybe they will help someone else.

This one has lots of links, mostly for romance novels, but they can be used for any type. It includes a bunch of successful synopses as well.

A one step at a time link

Hope this can help anyone struggling (like I was) with a first draft! :biggrin:

#321463 YA Query that has gotten me 3 requests in a week!

Posted by Tiffany220 on 08 June 2016 - 12:48 PM

Thanks! A few people on here didn't think it was very good (which was a huge discourageing)but I think it's all just a matter of what a certain person likes. I think people out there that have been criticized to death need to see this, for encouragement.

#319504 Finally nabbed an agent!

Posted by stokes on 09 May 2016 - 03:40 PM

I'm excited to announce that I am now officially repped by the fabulous Jessica Schmeidler!  If interested, you can read my full story here, It's long, but it's also not your traditional tale. 


Thanks to all the folks here who provided feedback.  As always, you guys are amazing. Thank you!


*throws confetti* 

#306391 15 full requests, 5 offers of representation, and now several major publisher...

Posted by CarlieNoel on 09 November 2015 - 11:05 AM

I re-drafted my query several times, and it took over a month to get it to this stage. I just signed with Claire Wilson at Rogers, Coleridge and White, and this is the version that she saw. (For anyone interested in stats, I sent this out to 32 agents all at once.) The book is actually going to be slightly different from this query, but still, I hope that this helps anyone beginning on their journey towards representation! Thank you to everyone in this lovely community who helped me along the way. 


Update on 1/19/16: I just accepted a two-book deal with a major publishing house!


Update 8/1/2016: The new title is IF BIRDS FLY BACK and will be available in Summer 2017 from HarperCollins in the US, Macmillan in the UK, Penguin Random House in Spain, etc. Here's the Goodreads, if you're interested: 



This query does contain spoilers!




Dear Claire,


Sixteen-year-old Linny has spent all of high school as “camera girl,” filming her friends’ escapades while craving adventures of her own. So when Álvaro Herrera (star of Linny’s favorite film, the 1960’s cult classic Midnight in Miami) seemingly rises from the dead before her eyes, she believes it’s finally, finally her chance to break away from the sidelines. Three years ago, Álvaro vanished from a yacht in the Gulf of Mexico, and reporters and FBI agents alike are hell-bent on uncovering the secret of those missing years. Armed with a lifetime’s worth of pent-up wishes for excitement, Linny resolves to unravel the mystery first—no matter what it takes.


Enter seventeen-year-old Sebastian, an aspiring astrophysicist with melodramatic tendencies, whose mother just dropped the bomb that Álvaro is his father. Álvaro has no idea that he has a son, and because of his rapidly progressing Alzheimer’s, maybe never will. Now Sebastian has to get to know his dad before it’s too late, but (much to Sebastian’s chagrin) some girl keeps interrupting their father-son time…


Álvaro’s mystery soon leads Linny and Sebastian on an entangled obstacle course through suburban Miami. What they end up discovering—and what they keep from each other—might drive them apart forever.


WHY BIRDS FLY BACK is a 64,000-word literary young adult novel told in Linny and Sebastian’s alternating perspectives. It will perhaps appeal to readers of Rainbow Rowell and Sarah Dessen, and anyone who celebrates diverse books.


I have an MSt. in English from Oxford University and an MA in Creative Writing and Publishing from City University London, where I was mentored by Carnegie Medal nominee _______. I was recently a finalist for the Orlando Prize for Short Fiction, and I currently work as a Children’s Editorial Assistant at ______. We actually met when you came to the ______ office with the ultra-talented _______. Because your submissions are of the best that we receive (I absolutely adored _______), I hope you will consider representing me as well.


I have attached my synopsis and first fifty pages to this email. Thanks so much for your time.



#258059 Fantasy creatures that agents don't want

Posted by Guest on 09 September 2014 - 08:53 PM

Vampires/werewolves and angels/demons are the main ones I hear that are currently suffering fatigue.


Personally I'm going to write erotica with a sleezy unicorn and a slutty mermaid and create a whole new trend  :cool:

#242468 For all who are struggling with their Query, check this out

Posted by AQCrew on 06 May 2014 - 11:33 AM

We could have easily offered this service years ago -- cornered the market and become millionaires...However, it is notable that she offers blog tour services at reasonable prices and we do think paying the right person to coordinate a blog tour targeting influential bloggers within your genre is worth it (disclaimer: please research all your option before hiring any blog tour organizer).  http://blogtoursbyel...blog-tours.html


But the nifty thing about query letters -- and everything else about the process -- it weeds out writers.


Not necessarily all the bad writers, but all the writers who are fundamentally not willing to dig in and never give up on the learning process.


Because slogging through the learning process is what it takes to succeed... Yes, you can use a service like this to help get you there. But, we would also argue that writers who are paying for these services are much more likely to immediately quit when it doesn't result in their ideal endgame scenario -- agent and book deal -- on the first try.


Let's remember: it's not only about the dream of being a writer, it's also about the love and desire to be a part of the professional publishing industry (which means: a whole lot more than just scoring a book deal... many published authors will tell you THAT's just the beginning).


These days -- the professional publishing world includes traditional publishing and agents as well as small presses as well as self-publishing successfully... the bottom-line is that you have to know -- or learn -- the market, your audience, the basic plot that you're selling and your genre.  


Yes, you can constantly rely on someone else to do this for you, or you can be obsessed with gaining the skills and knowledge to do it yourself.  We would argue that writers who do the latter have a better chance of ultimately being successful at whatever publishing path they choose.  It's not always about initial talent. Sometimes,  it's about your ability to understand what you don't know and being interested enough -- day after day -- to continue to learn and grow.


Hundreds and hundreds of AQ members have been members for years.  Years.  Why?  Because they are writers who realize how much there is to learn and how doing so makes them true writers -- book deal or not.  


Learning to write a 200-word description of your book is just the beginning...but if you're really in this for the long-haul, you'll soon realize that nothing beats knowing how to do it -- and do it well -- whether it's to score an agent, draft a book blurb, or market yourself on social media.  Understanding plot, genre, voice, character motivation, and how to distill it down into a nice tight summary is a skill of both literary confidence and agility, like shooting a bull's eye with a single arrow.  You don't know how good it feels to do it -- until you aim, shoot, and BAM... score.

#237744 Agent Responses

Posted by Storymatic on 30 March 2014 - 03:58 PM

Hi, Hazel -- just a "my two cents" suggestion about your querying process going forward.  Sending out sixty queries in one day is a LOT.  In fact, while querying widely is to your advantage, I'd suggest that you make your next volley much smaller.  I started off sending out between five and eight queries at a time, and finally settled on eight as the magic number I wanted to have "open" at any time.  As soon as I got a negative or positive back and fell below that eight, I would send out another one or two to get back up to that number.


My logic was stolen from other writers here on the AQC boards:  if you query in smaller batches, it can become easier to see patterns in rejections (people seem to like the query letter, but are cool on the pages themselves; only queries with pages get attention; and so on).  This was really important for me after month 2 of querying, when I realized my letter was the problem and did one more overhaul.  After that, I started seeing a lot more requests.


My only concern for you might be that you'll run through your list of researched agents very quickly sending out sixty at once, and possibly not be able to use your rejections to help you make strategic revisions. 


Anyway, this is me butting in with a comment you didn't ask for, so please disregard if I'm overstepping. . . But since I know I wish I could have those early queries back and start over with those agents with my improved query package, I wouldn't wish that feeling on anyone else!


Good luck!


Posted by EMDelaney on 29 December 2010 - 09:18 PM

#55147 Links for Successful Synopsis Writing

Posted by Stefanzo on 06 July 2011 - 12:21 AM

Here's some points i gleaned from the links

  • · You CAN tell, not just show here.

    · Present tense!

    · What your book is ABOUT - not how things happen.

    · Show Enthusiasm! Use strong adjectives and verbs.

    · If it's not a turning point, it doesn't belong in the synopsis.

    · Can include snippets of dialogue or quote briefly from the novel itself.

    · Show the character's emotions and motivations, those points that explain why a character does something, but keep it brief.

    · If the setting is exotic, inject a taste of it into the synopsis, but else minimize.

    · Don't know what to cut? Lose the adjectives and adverbs; keep the motivation and "flavour" of the story.

    · The first time you use a character's name in the synopsis, type it in CAPITAL letters, the first time only.





Posted by annab3lla on 08 March 2016 - 10:03 AM

I am thrilled to finally be able to announce that I have a two-book deal with HarperTeen (HarperCollins) for my YA contemporary IF YOU CAN'T FLY and another YA standalone. Tentative publication date for the first is fall 2017. 


Thanks to everyone who helped me with my query!


Here's the announcement from Publishers Marketplace: 


Debut author Anna Priemaza's IF YOU CAN'T FLY, about two teens who meet working on a science fair project and form the first real friendship either has ever had by bonding over panic attacks, ADHD, and their mutual obsession with a YouTube star who does walkthroughs of their favorite video game, to Stephanie Stein at Harper Teen, in a two-book deal, by Lauren Abramo at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (NA).

#252797 is it true that only 1% of querying writers land book deals?

Posted by RC Lewis on 22 July 2014 - 04:45 PM

Yeah, I've always heard the 2% figure, too, but that's splitting hairs.


Here's the thing. That 1-2% is coming from a pool that includes the kind of stuff that ends up on SlushPile Hell. And people who query with "Here's my idea for a story! I want you to rep me! Writing the manuscript? No, haven't done that yet." And people whose query is a 500-word single paragraph with no punctuation. And people who send a list of character profiles rather than an actual query.


My agent once said at least half the queries she gets are easy rejections. Everything from "I don't rep anything close to this genre" to "I'm not sure this person is literate and/or not a psycho axe murderer." If you're querying intelligently (or heck, just not incredibly stupidly), you're already improving your odds by default.


Don't sweat the stats. Do your job—write an awesome book, use critique partners to make it awesomer, write an equally awesome query (you're in the right place to get help with that!), and do your homework to figure out which awesome agents might actually be interested.


Then if that manuscript doesn't land you an agent ... rinse, repeat. You'll get better and stronger each time.


That's what I did. EVENTUALLY, it worked.

#228051 The query and the tweet that got me an agent and a deal on the same day.

Posted by Paul Krueger on 22 January 2014 - 01:22 PM

Adult Pitchfest, or #AdPit, is an event on twitter where you post up a logline for your work with a hashtag for publishing professionals to follow.  I wasn't really aware of its existence, even, but someone had posted a status about it here on AQC.  Figuring I had nothing to lose, I tweeted the following:


"UF/NA. Fighting Chicago's monsters with alcohol-fueled magic. Not bad for a first job out of college. #AdPit"


It got me two bites: one from Jennie Goloboy of Red Sofa Literary, and one from Blair Thornburgh, an editor at Quirk Books.


Both of them received my first three chapters, and the following query:




Dear Ms. Agent,


Recent graduate Bailey Chen lives with her parents and serves cocktails to the office workers that were supposed to be her colleagues, not her customers.  She works with Zane Whelan, her one-time best friend who seems to have more than friendship on his mind.  Nothing in her life is going according to plan.


Especially since she didn’t plan for monsters.


A close call with a chupacabra plunges Bailey into the secret war Zane and other bartenders wage every night, using cocktail-fueled magic to defend Chicago against the supernatural.  It’s the world of the Alechemists, where a properly mixed negroni can give you the toughness of a tank and a screwdriver will let you bench press one.  In other words: drinking really can give you superpowers.


That’s fortunate, because Bailey’s going to need all of them.  Someone’s introducing dangerous, exotic beasts to the city, and their presence has escalated the scope of the Alechemists’ job far beyond mere pest control.  If she doesn’t want everyone she loves to end up at the bottom of a grave, Bailey Chen will have to dive to the bottom of a bottle.


At 95,000 words, ON THE ROCKS is the first in a series of urban fantasy novels for a new adult audience.


My steampunk short story, “Knowing Better,” is due for publication in next year’s Sword & Laser anthology.


Thank you for your consideration.  I look forward to connecting soon.




Paul Krueger


Both of those led to full requests later that day.


On November 25th, I received an offer from Quirk.  I parlayed that into representation by Red Sofa, and when the dust settled I had both of them sewn up before lunchtime.


Two days ago, my finalized contract crossed my desk, hanging around long enough for my signature.


Today, Quirk and Red Sofa made the official announcement, and the book that may or may not be titled "On the Rocks" is set to debut in early 2015.


AQC and the wonderful people on it get a generous amount of credit for all of this.  In addition to being the place where I learned that #AdPit was even a thing to begin with, I received a metric ton of excellent querying advice from the users here--on this query and on the ones I'd trotted out before it.


If I had to take away two lessons from all this:


1) Believe in yourself.  If you don't think you're good enough, no one else will.


2) Don't be afraid to ask for help.  No one gets anywhere all by themselves.  I wouldn't have the happy privilege of posting this if I hadn't availed myself to the wisdom and insight of others.


Thanks, everyone.  This all started with me, but it wouldn't have gone much further without you and too many others to name.



#110137 Query that got 17 full requests + 4 offers of representation (and now a publi...

Posted by Stephanie Diaz on 11 May 2012 - 12:49 PM

I guess I could post this here now... :)

This query garnered 26 partials/fulls (mostly fulls) and led to 4 offers of representation.


Sixteen-year-old Clementine wants to grow old and live in a place where the moon is a beautiful, glowing orb in the sky instead of an acid-bleeding menace to the planet. So when she wins a shot at life far from the planet surface, she takes it willingly, even if it means leaving her best friend, Logan, behind.

In the planet core, which after centuries has been transformed into a steel-made place of inhabitance more like a space ship, Clementine lives, for the first time, without fear. Underground, there is no starvation, there are no crowbar-wielding security officials, and the moon is far enough away that no one speaks of it.

Then Clementine learns the planet leaders are going to murder Logan.

Now trapped by the steel walls of the underground and the lies that keep her safe, Clementine must find a way to escape and rescue Logan. But the planet leaders don't want her running. They want her subdued.

Complete at 75,000 words, EXTRACTION is a science fiction novel for young adults that will appeal to readers of Veronica Roth's DIVERGENT and Beth Revis's ACROSS THE UNIVERSE.

Thank you very much for your time and attention.