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How Do I Help Others When I Can't Help Myself?


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#1 LynnS

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Posted 28 April 2018 - 01:44 PM

I'd like to help others with their query letters but considering the sad state of my current query and how little I know about query letters in general, I don't think I'll be much help. Or, even worse, I might make unhelpful and incorrect suggestions.

 

Any other newbies feel this way? Any long-time members with advice?



#2 conundrum

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Posted 28 April 2018 - 02:09 PM

Hi LynnS!

 

I'm with you, just as new to the site and haven't revealed my query here yet. So you're one step ahead in the bravery department.

 

I have submitted my Query letter(s), three versions, three different agents, two rejections with positive comments (subjective) and one, nothing as of yet and not holding my breath.

 

This site is extremely helpful.

 

So far I've learned: know your genre, and familiarize yourself with the agent you're submitting to, i.e., what genre they're interested in representing. And perfect your hook to reel them in. Keep it to one page, note your word count in the last paragraph, name a few titles similar to your MS, and the audience are you targeting and who might be interested in your subject matter.

 

Lol...I'm just regurgitating what I've learned here :) but wanted to be helpful.



#3 spineofiron

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Posted 28 April 2018 - 04:31 PM

I felt this way when I first joined this site! The thing about critiquing queries is that I feel that my ability to write one improved tenfold when I started examining other queries with a critical eye. The main thing to remember: queries should make sense and make you want to read the book. They should lay out a goal for the main character, and what's at stake there -- what might stand in the way from them getting that goal.

 

Honestly, just jump in! I can promise you that no one will think twice about receiving your feedback.  :smile:  Odds are, they'll really appreciate it. If something doesn't make sense to you, tell the author so. If you're confused, let them know! Read a long query crit thread from beginning to end and see how a letter evolves, and what other people are pointing out. But you'll never learn unless you start doing it, much like writing a novel. The more you read and examine queries, the more you'll know what to look for, and the better your own will be in the end.


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#4 LynnS

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Posted 28 April 2018 - 06:16 PM

Hi LynnS!

 

I'm with you, just as new to the site and haven't revealed my query here yet. So you're one step ahead in the bravery department.

 

I have submitted my Query letter(s), three versions, three different agents, two rejections with positive comments (subjective) and one, nothing as of yet and not holding my breath.

 

This site is extremely helpful.

 

So far I've learned: know your genre, and familiarize yourself with the agent you're submitting to, i.e., what genre they're interested in representing. And perfect your hook to reel them in. Keep it to one page, note your word count in the last paragraph, name a few titles similar to your MS, and the audience are you targeting and who might be interested in your subject matter.

 

Lol...I'm just regurgitating what I've learned here :) but wanted to be helpful.

 

Thanks for the input! I think you're the brave one, having submitted your query to a few agents already! Congratulations on the feedback. As I understand things, it doesn't happen often. Good luck with your publishing goals!



#5 LynnS

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Posted 28 April 2018 - 06:19 PM

I felt this way when I first joined this site! The thing about critiquing queries is that I feel that my ability to write one improved tenfold when I started examining other queries with a critical eye. The main thing to remember: queries should make sense and make you want to read the book. They should lay out a goal for the main character, and what's at stake there -- what might stand in the way from them getting that goal.

 

Honestly, just jump in! I can promise you that no one will think twice about receiving your feedback.  :smile:  Odds are, they'll really appreciate it. If something doesn't make sense to you, tell the author so. If you're confused, let them know! Read a long query crit thread from beginning to end and see how a letter evolves, and what other people are pointing out. But you'll never learn unless you start doing it, much like writing a novel. The more you read and examine queries, the more you'll know what to look for, and the better your own will be in the end.

Thanks for the input! I joined a critique group a couple years ago and my writing improved so much not just from the critiques but from critiquing others' work. I guess the same would be true here, huh? 



#6 Springfield

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Posted 28 April 2018 - 08:58 PM

I'd like to help others with their query letters but considering the sad state of my current query and how little I know about query letters in general, I don't think I'll be much help. Or, even worse, I might make unhelpful and incorrect suggestions.

 

Any other newbies feel this way? Any long-time members with advice?

 

Even if you're not sure about some query conventions, you're a reader, presumably, heh. A query is meant to be designed to get an agent to request the ms. So try putting yourself in an agent's shoes; you have a job, you're super busy, have a stack of manuscripts to be read, and get 100+ queries a week. Would the one you're reading make you want to read the ms? 

 

It's not just 'huh, that sounds interesting,' as if you're a reader browsing for something to take on a plane, though that's a part of it. It's whether it's the one in 100 or 200 or 300 that you can't resist. 



#7 mwsinclair

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 04:40 PM

Exactly.

 

Putting in your two cents on someone else's query can help you as well as the other writer. I'm sure we've all read queries here and come away saying, "I don't get it." Help them get "it" across and you'll also start recognizing your own short comings.

 

Plus, it's an excellent way to pay it forward for when you're ready to post your query.



#8 RobotKitten

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 08:36 AM

I just joined this site, and am feeling much the same! I'm probably going to post my query here (when I get the courage!), but until then, I'm reading all of the query edits and learning a lot. I can't say I have any skill at writing queries, but if I catch something that I think I can help make better, I'll throw my two cents in.



#9 Michi MacMichael

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Posted 25 July 2018 - 01:51 AM

An interesting aspect about critiques be they beta readings, line edits or on synopses and queries, you learn as much from doing them, getting them and reading them as the person for whom you do them.  Dive in.  The worst that happens is they ignore your help.  Often there is some conversation about it.  It's all a learning experience.






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