Jump to content

Disclaimer

Photo

Some guidelines for posting a query on the Successful Queries Forum


  • Please log in to reply
16 replies to this topic

#1 Brendacarre

Brendacarre

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,020 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, published, in-between agents, industry insider
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:I write fantasy, urban fantasy, young adult and romance fiction. I also write short fiction in a variety of genres. I have published short fiction, most recently in the August 2010 issue of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. For more information go to: www.brendacarre.com/

Posted 16 February 2011 - 01:25 PM

Before posting a query here it should have met with success in the following ways:
You were offered representation as a result of this query.
You sold your book as a result of this query.
You are posting a link to references that provide industry models for success.
You are experiencing a high request rate for manuscript reads. A good rule of thumb mentioned elsewhere on this site is a 20% request rate.
I welcome additions to this topic by the agented/published members of the AQC community. :biggrin:

#2 Litgal

Litgal

    Veteran Queen Bee -- Moderator "Here Be Historicals"

  • Group Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,922 posts
  • Literary Status:published, agented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:My novel, The Sister Queens (the story of 13th century sisters Marguerite and Eleanor of Provence who became the queens of France and England respectively) is now on shelves everywhere (and is also available on-line at Amazon, IndieBound, Books a Million, and Barnes and Noble).

Posted 16 February 2011 - 02:01 PM

Before posting a query here it should have met with success in the following ways:
You were offered and accepted representation as a result of this query.
You sold your book as a result of this query.
You are posting a link to references that provide industry models for success.
You are experiencing a high request rate for manuscript reads. A good rule of thumb mentioned elsewhere on this site is a 30% request rate.
I welcome additions to this topic by the agented/published members of the AQC community. :biggrin:


these seem very solid! :biggrin: I believe, however, the request rate is 20% or better for most genres :blink:
Lit. (aka Sophie Perinot)

#3 Cat Woods

Cat Woods

    Juvenile Junky and Clairvoyant Ninja

  • Group Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,155 posts
  • Literary Status:published, in-between agents
  • LocationUS Midwest
  • Publishing Experience:As Cat Woods: adult short stories in SPRING FEVERS, THE FALL and SUMMER'S EDGE (June 2013). 2014 MG novel ABIGAIL BINDLE AND THE SLAM BOOK SCAM.

    As A.T.O'Connor: short stories in THE FALL and SUMMER'S EDGE. Fall 2013 YA novel WHISPERING MINDS.

Posted 16 February 2011 - 02:18 PM

Does the offer have to culminate in acceptance? What if, after the big phone conference, you don't believe this is your best bet as far as agent representation is concerned?

Cat Woods
Juvenile Junction Group Moderator


Words from the Woods~ Blog for Cat Woods
From the Write Angle~ Group Blog

Whispering Minds~ Blog for A.T. O'Connor

 

SpringFeversthumb.jpg   thefall_front_cover.jpg


#4 Brendacarre

Brendacarre

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,020 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, published, in-between agents, industry insider
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:I write fantasy, urban fantasy, young adult and romance fiction. I also write short fiction in a variety of genres. I have published short fiction, most recently in the August 2010 issue of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. For more information go to: www.brendacarre.com/

Posted 16 February 2011 - 02:37 PM

Thanks Cat and Lit. :wub:

#5 williamkball

williamkball

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 179 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:I have never been published other than my music and concert reviews for the Delaware Tech Times when I was taking journalism in college.

Posted 16 February 2011 - 04:17 PM

You say the sweetest things.:wub: Thanks CC

#6 bigblackcat97

bigblackcat97

    BOOGA BOOGA

  • Group Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,978 posts
  • Literary Status:published, agented
  • LocationUS Midwest
  • Publishing Experience:NOT A DROP TO DRINK is a post-apocalyptic survival tale set in a world where freshwater is almost nonexistent. Available now from Katherine Tegen / Harper Collins.

Posted 16 February 2011 - 04:24 PM

Does the offer have to culminate in acceptance? What if, after the big phone conference, you don't believe this is your best bet as far as agent representation is concerned?


Cat - my opinion would be that if your query was good enough to get to the offer stage, it's successful, whether you clicked with that agent or not. That's my opinion though, this is CC's arena Posted Image

"Establishing the accuracy of quotes found on the internet is extraordinarily difficult." - Jane Austen

13112869.jpg   DUSt+Smaller.jpeg


#7 Brendacarre

Brendacarre

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,020 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, published, in-between agents, industry insider
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:I write fantasy, urban fantasy, young adult and romance fiction. I also write short fiction in a variety of genres. I have published short fiction, most recently in the August 2010 issue of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. For more information go to: www.brendacarre.com/

Posted 01 March 2011 - 09:23 PM

I'd agree with you, BBC, getting an offer makes it worth a look-see by us IMHO

#8 Chrysothemis

Chrysothemis

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, published, in-between agents, media
  • LocationEurope

Posted 06 September 2011 - 06:52 PM

Very very good...

#9 LH Thomson

LH Thomson

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 82 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented, media
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:Thousands of stories for seven different papers, one non-fiction sports book, but no fiction to date.

Posted 07 January 2012 - 02:19 PM

I'm going to post this critique even though it's slightly off the forum guidelines, but you'll see why.

I only sent it out once. It worked. The publisher wanted a full manuscript and then requested time for his people to read it. But there's a big "but" coming after you've read the query.

Dear Mr. ____,


Please consider my manuscript for publication. I’m a 41-year-old newspaper editor with two decades in the business. This is my first work of detective fiction.

“Buried in Benidorm” is a traditional whodunit set along the Costa Blanca in Spain, starring Max Castillo, a private detective who is also a former Catholic priest. Max struggles with an addictive personality, as well as with the views of his friends and family, who do not understand his loss of faith. At the same time, he’s been handed a case by his former employer, the local diocese, whose biggest contributor has been found buried in a golf course pot bunker.


He doesn’t want the job, but the diocese has a hold over him: he walked out on an agreement to serve his order for a decade in exchange for seminary tuition. Aided by Caridad Paredes, a former street kid who now runs a beachside kiosk, it’s up to Max to figure out who killed Anthony Ortega, and left him “Buried In Benidorm.”


I’ve pasted the first chapter below and look forward to having you read the entire manuscript. Thank you very much for your time.



Now, here's the problem. Nowhere in this pitch did I outline what the ACTUAL tone of the book is. And it's a cozy, a non-bloody, non-adrenaline filled whodunnit. But if you're not expecting that, it reads dark. (Not to me: I'm agnostic and don't mind people with addictive personalities. But to anyone else...?"

Here's the response. I've dropped the publisher's name for reasons of tact.


Thanks for sending along the complete manuscript. I think you have a rich central character with lots of potential. However, no one here was enthusiastic about the work, so we’re going to take a pass.

Good luck in finding a suitable publisher.


Again, the pitch was good. But it was for the wrong book, or they just didn't like the final product period.
Why shouldn't truth be stranger than fiction? Fiction, after all, has to make sense.
Mark Twain

Check out my blog at http://lhthomson.blogspot.com/ !

#10 Brendacarre

Brendacarre

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,020 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, published, in-between agents, industry insider
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:I write fantasy, urban fantasy, young adult and romance fiction. I also write short fiction in a variety of genres. I have published short fiction, most recently in the August 2010 issue of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. For more information go to: www.brendacarre.com/

Posted 16 May 2012 - 03:04 AM

Hi LH
I think your query was successful as it got you a read and this is the whole purpose of querying isn't it? Whether the editors want the ms or not is purely subjective however. Don't lose hope on the final product just because one editor said no. Keep trying and keep writing. You clearly have the skills it takes to be successful. The line that caught me instantly was the one about the contributor who was found buried in a golf course pot bunker. This instantly tips me off that you have written a piece of crime fiction.

#11 Graeme_Smith

Graeme_Smith

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 82 posts
  • Literary Status:published
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:'A Comedy of Terrors' - MuseitUp Publishing.
    'Jack Shadow' - Books We Love Publishing.
    'Road like a River' - MuseitUp Publishing.

Posted 13 November 2012 - 09:52 AM

Lady Brenda

Heh. It is said that fools rush in where the very angles fear to set soft foot - and in my time I've been a Fool. Well, and an Idiot too - but that's another story :-).
Before I do all that 'rushing in' stuff, I have to recognise this site is 'agentqueryconnect'. And that most people here are very likely seeking exactly that - to connect with an Agent. Probably via a, um, Query :-)).
So I thought I'd consult first on the meaning of 'success'.
Per exemplis, wise one. I have a Query that scored a First Time Win at Our Lady of Teeth - the Query Shark. Which was great - apart from the fact that the Query related to a genre Lady Tooth doesn't represent. Do we call that success? I know not :-).
Then there's another criterion you list here. 'You sold your book as a result of this query.' I have Queries that got me contracts for 'A Comedy of Terrors', 'Road like a River' and 'Jack Shadow'. But those contracts were with e-publishers. To some, such contracts don't quite count - they're not paper, and not main-street. And no Agent was involved. But might they be of interest here? I know not :-).
I shall throw myself on thy wisdom, wise one :-).

#12 Litgal

Litgal

    Veteran Queen Bee -- Moderator "Here Be Historicals"

  • Group Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,922 posts
  • Literary Status:published, agented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:My novel, The Sister Queens (the story of 13th century sisters Marguerite and Eleanor of Provence who became the queens of France and England respectively) is now on shelves everywhere (and is also available on-line at Amazon, IndieBound, Books a Million, and Barnes and Noble).

Posted 13 November 2012 - 09:54 AM

I have a Query that scored a First Time Win at Our Lady of Teeth - the Query Shark.

I have Queries that got me contracts for 'A Comedy of Terrors', 'Road like a River' and 'Jack Shadow'. But those contracts were with e-publishers. T


Sound like postable successes to me :)
Lit. (aka Sophie Perinot)

#13 Graeme_Smith

Graeme_Smith

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 82 posts
  • Literary Status:published
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:'A Comedy of Terrors' - MuseitUp Publishing.
    'Jack Shadow' - Books We Love Publishing.
    'Road like a River' - MuseitUp Publishing.

Posted 13 November 2012 - 12:38 PM

Ah, me.
I was wandering through the Query Critique section, and reading the 'guidelines' - more of a mandated 'requirements' to my poor eye:

“As a result, the literary agents in our AQ database expect, want, and prefer to receive queries that follow our query letter formula of three concise paragraphs: the hook, the mini-synopsis, and your writer’s biography.”

"For this reason, when you post your query here for feedback, all AQ Connect members will assume you have read our "How to Write a Query Letter" and will expect you to follow our query letter format. Again, that's three paragraphs: hook, mini-synopsis, and bio.
Don’t stray from this format. You won’t catch an agent’s attention by inventing a creative new query format."

I can safely say not one single one of my Queries follows this format. I would, therefore, potentially take contention with the claim that 'You won’t catch an agent’s attention by inventing a creative new query format.'

I'll offer one example. Janet Reid is, to the best of my knowledge, a Literary Agent. And one not unknown. Here's a Query I sent to 'The Query Shark' once:

http://queryshark.bl...08/172-ftw.html

******************************************
Dear QueryShark:

Segorian Anderson is an Idiot. But that’s fine with him. It’s a well paying job with no heavy lifting.
If you walked past Segorian, you’d forget him before you even saw him. It isn’t a magic power, he just has the sort of face his own mother could forget. She’s been trying to for years. But being forgettable is a job requirement for an Idiot.
No, he's not the Court Jester. He doesn’t wear motley (whatever motley may be), that's a different union. He’s the Idiot. In a Queen’s castle, wine spilt down the wrong dress can lead to a declaration of war. So someone unimportant has to be blamed for it, and that’s the Idiot’s job. He’s the Idiot that did it, for any value of ‘it’. Of course, as soon as he’s exiled-for-life out of the castle gate, he uses his back-door key and sneaks in. To wait for next time.
Everybody needs an Idiot. Queen Sonea of Peladon has Segorian.
But that's not all the job. Someday, something really bad will happen. Really, really bad. Badder than a bad thing on a very bad day with extra badness. When your Top Guns are more Top Gones, when the world’s about to end (or the washing up won’t get done – whichever comes first), who you gonna call? No, not them. They haven’t been invented yet. You call the Idiot, so you can risk someone nobody will miss if things don’t work out. And now Peladon has a case of dragon.
But the dragon may be the easy part. Segorian has woman trouble, and he’s the only person in the castle that doesn’t know it. Because to Segorian, women are an open book. The problem is, he never learned to read.
A COMEDY OF TERRORS is a comic fantasy of 51,000 words. The author has never saved a small country from a dragon. He is, however, both male and married and feels well qualified in the field of Idiocy.
My thanks in advance for your time and attention. As per your published guidelines I enclose ( whatever they ask for - the first five pages and a short synopsis) for your consideration.

Sincerely


******************************************


Here's her response:


******************************************
This query breaks every rule I've yammered about in terms of content. Who's the antagonist? What choices does Segorian face? Who knows...and who cares?! Not me. I just want to read this. That is a query that works.

The SOLE purpose of the query is to get me to read your book. IF you can do that without following any of the guidelines, be my guest.


This is hilarious.

I'd read pages.
I'd pray they were good,.
******************************************

Let me, if I may, repeat part of that:

'The SOLE purpose of the query is to get me to read your book. IF you can do that without following any of the guidelines, be my guest.'

Is there a risk in 'breaking the rules'? Absolutely. But is there a risk in following them? To my mind - definitely. Because right up front, you sound like everybody else.

Here's another Query Shark first time winner:

http://queryshark.bl...12/192-ftw.html


******************************************
Dear QueryShark:


One week ago, Claire's cousin Dinah slit her wrists.

Five days ago, Claire found Dinah's diary and discovered why.

Three days ago, Claire stopped crying and came up with a plan.

Two days ago, she ditched her piercings and bleached the black dye from her hair.

Yesterday, knee socks and uniform plaid became a predator's camouflage.

Today, she'll find the boy who broke Dinah.

By tomorrow, he'll wish he was dead.

Premeditated is a 60,000 word contemporary YA novel. Chapters or a synopsis are available on request.


And the reply:

"oh hell yes. Send pages, send the entire manuscript NOW."
******************************************

I'd probably better shut up now. I've most likely set a noose about my neck, and pulled the trap-release myself. and I've probably already replied to Query candidates in QC in a way that breaches the Rules. So I'll cease and desist - and set me to silence.
Though with regret.



#14 RC Lewis

RC Lewis

    OCD for the Good of Mankind

  • Group Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,305 posts
  • Literary Status:agented
  • LocationUS Southwest
  • Publishing Experience:STITCHING SNOW will be published by Hyperion on October 14, 2014.

Posted 13 November 2012 - 01:42 PM

Graeme, by no means do you need to cease and desist. Just recognize that when MOST writers attempt a rule-breaking query, the results are not good. At best, the results may be gimmicky and obnoxious. (I know it would be if *I* attempted such to any great degree.)

The recommendations/guidelines are just that. They're there because statistically, MOST successful queries fit that general format. There are certainly ways to fit in that format WITHOUT "sounding like everybody else." (My own Successful Query certainly didn't seem to suffer from following "the format.")

A fresh take is always appreciated, but not every story or writer is best served by going so far outside the box, particularly if we don't have a solid idea of how to handle that box in the first place.
Stitching+Snow+Cover+Final+SMALL.jpg 
Stitching Snow
October 2014
Hyperion

#15 anticipa

anticipa

    Ant, the Quixotic Query Quibbler

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,981 posts
  • Literary Status:agented
  • LocationUS Southeast
  • Publishing Experience:A piece of flash fiction in Bad Austen, published Nov. 2011 by Adams Media.

Posted 13 November 2012 - 01:56 PM

Ditto what RC said. I love rule-breaking queries, personally, but knowing the basics of query format never hurt anyone. I've usually found that those who can write awesome rule-breakers can also write awesome queries that follow the rules - but not necessarily vice versa.

Congrats to you on that QueryShark response, by the way. I still remember reading your query letter back when she first posted it! The book sounds like a hoot. :D

© this post is a riley redgate production

reports of my demise are greatly exaggerated.

i blog! i tweet!


#16 Brendacarre

Brendacarre

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,020 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, published, in-between agents, industry insider
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:I write fantasy, urban fantasy, young adult and romance fiction. I also write short fiction in a variety of genres. I have published short fiction, most recently in the August 2010 issue of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. For more information go to: www.brendacarre.com/

Posted 03 June 2013 - 02:53 AM

Graeme: Thanks for posting your query shark queries. It's clear to me that they have a voice and give a clear idea of what your story might be--certainly enough to intrigue. This is the purpose of this forum. To set up a bank of strong, readable, interesting queries. Not all of them are expected to follow the 'rules' but as RC and Anticipa have already said, a good many do. Simple is usually the best and easiest for the agent or editor to read. Consider how many of these they read every day, but if that first sentence catches them they will read on, as your queries so clearly prove.

#17 HazelWordSmith2014

HazelWordSmith2014

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 93 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationAsia

Posted 26 March 2014 - 09:21 AM

I wonder if it might be helpful for everyone if people posting would automatically say which agent they signed with (assuming it is allowed in their contract)? Or is this usually frowned upon? Just curious, since I do not see a lot of posters mentioning who they have signed with.






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users